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Troy DuMoulin, VP, Research & Development

Troy is a leading ITIL® IT Governance and Lean IT authority with a solid and rich background in Executive IT Management consulting. Troy holds the ITIL Expert certifications and has extensive experience in leading IT Service Management (ITSM) programs with a regional and global scope.

He is a frequent speaker at IT Management events and is a contributing author to multiple ITSM and Lean IT books, papers and official ITIL publications including ITIL’s Planning To Implement IT Service Management and Continual Service Improvement.

 

The Guide

"This blog is dedicated to making sense out of the shifting landscape of IT Management. Just when we thought we had a good handle on managing technology, the job we thought we knew is being threatened by strange acronym’s like ITIL, CMMI, COBIT, ect.. Suddenly the rules have changed and we are not sure why. The goal of this blog is to offer an element of sanity and logic to what can appear to be chaos."


Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch Hiker’s Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactic as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older more pedestrian work in two important respects.

First, it is slightly cheaper: and secondly it has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover."
~Douglas Adams

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Friday, April 27, 2007

ITIL V3 – Service Operations

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” ~ Bill Gates

This is the fourth in a series of posts which deal with what information has been shared in public events about ITIL V3 content and coverage.

As the old saying goes, what is good for the goose is good for the gander, or what is true for the Business Unit is also true for the IT Service provider. Technology thrown wantonly at an immature IT operation will bring little of the promised return on investment published in the vendor brochures. Sophisticated and expensive IT tools are purchased every day, only to have a fraction of their capabilities and data used and leveraged in a meaningful way.

The challenge is typically not with the software but with an IT management culture that is largely immature when it comes to day-to-day operational processes. While this is a general statement, it has not always been true and in certain parts of IT a mature operational model persists. In the days when the Mainframe was king, those that provided its care and management understood what mature management practices were and are. In those organizations that maintain a mainframe or midrange environment, the terms ‘standard operating procedure’ or ‘process’ are not considered swear words, but are understood and respected.

However, in the distributed environment and the application development space, a different culture focused almost exclusively on innovation, project portfolio management and rapid deployment methods. While these are critical and necessary concepts, an over focus on this aspect of IT’s role to the exclusion of the day-to-day operations places the business customer at risk. Perhaps one of the issues is that the innovation, design and building aspects of IT management are perceived as more interesting than the meat and potatoes of daily operations, the result of which is that we see an over emphasis on what is new and exciting versus what it means to run IT as a stable utility.

What is interesting is that each organization is unique and is progressing along a maturity model that I described in a post called “Not Ready for the CMDB”.

The three levels I suggested are as follows:

  • Level 1 – IT is Project and Portfolio Focused but Operationally Challenged.
  • Level 2 – IT Realizes that Availability and Reliability of Technology is Tied to Business Success.
  • Level 3 – IT Realizes that Technology Components Don’t Live in Mythical Isolation.

The argument I make in that post is that when an organization moves to level 2 and 3, a renewed interest in operational processes begins to emerge and we remember what we already know from the mainframe world. It is at this point that organizations begin to re-focus on gaining a balance between innovation and IT support, monitoring, security and control practices.

For organizations that are in this space, the ITIL V3 Service Operation book provides a great reference tool for describing these integrated practices within the context of the Service Lifecycle.

 

From the public sessions held at our conferences and events, we can summarize the Service Operation book as covering the following areas:

  • Service Operation Principles
  • Service Operations Processes
    • Event Management
    • Incident Management
    • Problem Management
    • Service Request Management
  • Functions:
    • Service Desk
    • Technical Management
    • IT Operations Management
    • Applications Management

When considering this list of processes and functions, many may ask themselves about whether all of this “extra” work is really worth while. While it is true that adopting formal processes and procedures around IT operations always takes more effort up front, remember that carefully aiming takes longer than shooting from the hip, but that the results differ drastically.

“The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult.” Winston Churchill.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

ITIL V3 – Service Transition

“The future has a way of arriving unannounced.” ~George Will

This is the third in a series of posts which deal with what information has been shared in public events about ITIL V3 content and coverage.

While I don’t necessarily share the views of Albert Einstein, who said, “Technological change is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal”, I do agree with Mr. Will’s view that we do a poor job around preparing for, assuring and communicating how we go about transitioning changes to the production environment. How many of you have painful stories of the latest IT change that has been lobbed over the proverbial wall without sufficient testing or communication? If you are an IT professional, especially if you are in a support function, you know that the most hectic day of the week is Monday, since you have to respond to the incidents generated by all of the changes that occurred over the weekend.

As I sit down to write this blog post, we see this week’s media coverage of a business incident related to IT Release Management being reported by a major provider of mobile telecommunications services. In the official statement, they make it clear that the issue was related to processes around service transition and recovery; however, they are not unique in this challenge. Over the last few years we have seen several major banks, airlines and online services all impacted publicly by the immaturity of their IT processes. The clear message we hear from many of the analyst organizations doing research in this area is that the majority of incidents that cause unavailability of IT Services can be linked to process and human error and not to technology failure. 

This growing impact of IT failures on business process outcomes has not been lost on the governments and regulatory bodies of the world. We see law after law being established for the business that places stricter controls around how IT manages its affairs.  Concerns around accurate financial reporting, privacy, information security, data retention, national security and public safety are resulting in our industry becoming regulated. Consider that as IT becomes critical for business survival, it also bears the burden of what it means to become a corporate and public utility.

The premise:

  • The financial results, data, and information of a company are a direct product of its business processes.
  • The business processes and their digital output were automated several years ago by IT Services.
  • The Services are supported by IT systems and technology components.
  • The technology is managed or not by the processes of IT service management.
  • The IT professionals participate or not in the processes that design, transition and operate IT Services.

In the end, there is no real ability to separate the business process and its underlying technology. Information Technology has quietly become the manufacturing line and the core utility for business success. The challenge we face is that while this statement is true, it has not been absorbed or accepted by the organization’s culture.

Within this context, the Service Transition book is concerned with managing change, risk and quality assurance for IT services as they move into the production environment. Its primary objectives are to implement service designs so that service operations can manage the services and infrastructure in a controlled manner while minimizing impact on the business outcomes it serves.

 

From the public sessions held at our conferences and events, we can summarize the Service Transition book as covering the following areas:

  • Service Transition Principles
  • Service Transition Processes
    • Transition Planning & Support
    •  
    • Change Management
    • Service Asset and Configuration Management
    • Configuration Management System
    • Release and Deployment Management
    • Service Validation and Testing
    • Evaluation
    • Knowledge Management

”Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.” ~Douglas Adams

 

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Monday, April 16, 2007

ITIL v3 – Service Design

This is the 2nd in a series of posts which deal with what information has been shared in public events about ITIL v3 content and coverage.

There is a simple, logical yet very profound set of statements that I am very found of quoting.

  • What is not Defined cannot be Controlled!
  • What is not Controlled cannot be Measured!
  • What is not Measured cannot be Improved!

While this may seem simplistic, consider that the majority of IT processes are repeatable only in the sense that they are reliant on human effort and tribal knowledge. Little is written down other than basic operating procedures and we seem to take a sense of pride that the success or failure of our IT operations rests on our daily heroic efforts. 

The profound element of this quote is that nothing is real until it is written down and signed off. Until this happens truth is open to interpretation and little progress can be made on getting better. The simple fact is that to begin the journey of improvement for anything we need to document the starting point or norm as the basis for improvement. Otherwise we are dealing with an ever shifting sea of sand dunes where reality is open for interpretation and nothing is known for certain.

This is where the 2nd book in the ITIL v3 library is taking us. The book “Service Design” is about starting at the beginning and documenting the attributes, characteristics, automation and reporting requirements for building, and operating IT Services that meet specific business requirements.

 

From the session delivered at Pink’s Vegas conference by the book authors and from a general ITILv3 overview delivered by Gary case we understand the content of the Service Design book to contain the following elements.

  • Service Design Principles
  • Service Design Processes
    • Service Catalog Management
    • Service Level Management
    •  
    • Capacity Management
    • Availability Management
    • Service Continuity Management
    • Information Security Management
    • Supplier Management
    • Application Management
    •  
    • Requirements Engineering
    •  


Again it is important to note as I did in the previous post that while we may find these processes in the Service Design book they each have aspects that apply to each other phase of the service lifecycle. Another note of interest is that from this list of processes we can see that the scope of ITIL v3 is now catching up to and surpassing the ISO/IEC 20000 standard that was broader than the ITIL v2 process model.

Troy’s observations and conference notes what are yours?

In his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People”, Stephen Covey suggests that the starting point of Strategic Thinking is Beginning With The End in Mind. This is in essence what the ITIL Service Design book is all about. In the end It all boils down to being absolutely clear on what business outcome you really want and designing services that meet that need.

 

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