4 Steps to Creating an ITIL-Based Service Management Plan

March 17, 2014
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The IT Infrastructure Library features such a complex and fully-featured set of best practices that it can be hard for IT leaders to get started with the advance service management framework. One way to overcome this barrier and get ITIL-based service management plans off to a good start is to begin differentiating between various types of operations through service request management strategies.

Engaging in a service request management plan can be complicated, but following these steps can help you get any plan off to a good start.

1. Differentiate Between Service Request Types

Not every issue brought to the service desk is best treated as an incident. Furthermore, not every incident needs to be resolved, or even viewed, by the IT segment of the service desk. For example, some incidents are best sent over to the facilities team and a service request management plan that automatically forwards incidents to the appropriate group can create incredible value. Furthermore, many incidents are actually indicators of underlying problems. Handling every request type using the same processes can limit the service desk’s ability to properly handle different types of issues.

2. Take a Proactive Approach to Problem Management

Some problems jump out and make themselves obvious. Sometimes they do this when certain incidents become so common that they point clearly to a problem and sometimes it happens when a major failure occurs with no warning. These types of problems can be incredibly destructive, however, and service desk teams that want to take full advantage of service request management need to think proactively about identifying problems before they start having a major impact on operations. Accomplishing this depends on carefully monitoring incidents, and using key analytics data to gain a bird’s eye view of request types coming into the service desk.

Service request management makes this entire process easier, but the cultural change of wanting to take a proactive approach to problems is vital when organizations want to start implementing such plans. As such, figuring out how you want to handle problems can impact the fine tuning of your service request management strategies.

3. Invest in Change Management

Taking a more aggressive approach to incidents and problems can leave businesses dealing with more change, and IT teams facing new scheduling, coordination and risk management challenges. Change management can eliminate these issues and represents a key step in an organization’s move to get started with any ITIL-based service management strategy.

IT configurations are becoming more complex and difficult to manage as organizations must balance physical, virtual and cloud technologies existing within their configuration. This creates a situation where change management platforms play a critical role in helping companies manage service requests more effectively.

4. Equip the CMDB with the Right Configuration Items

A configuration management database creates the transparency organizations need to go from wanting to manage service requests more strategically to actually performing up to advanced standards. The CMDB tracks every configuration item (CI) in a business’ technology landscape and shows relationships and interdependencies.

This results in a situation where managers can use the CMDB to identify how any change will impact the configuration as a whole. As such, businesses can accelerate change operations, become responsive and create the operational flexibility necessary to focus on advanced strategies like service request management.

Using the CMDB effectively hinges on a company’s ability to populate it with the right configuration items. This is an incredibly complex process as data center systems, office-based workstations and other end-user devices can all be considered part of the IT configuration. Effectively managing the CI list is vital to finding success with a CMDB.

Organizations that want to take full advantage of their technology assets face significant challenges. However, following an ITIL framework to support service request management functionality can enable companies to establish the foundation they need to build out more robust service management capabilities. Being able to differentiate between request types, manage incidents and problems and develop a CMDB is critical in achieving this goal.

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