ITIL Implementation Roadmap (Availability Management) – Part 10
It’s a Process Not Just a Monthly Report
In my experience 8 out of 10 companies I have worked with consider the primary focus of Availability Management as the output of a regular report indicating whether service delivery agreements have been met as promised. In fact, I have seen some companies dedicate small teams of analysts to this task as a full time occupation.
While the production of this report is a key output of the process it is only one part of what ITIL describes as Availability Management.
The distressing part of this singular focus is that month after month these reports are generated and circulated to Sr. Stakeholders with no resulting action other than finger pointing and boardroom discussion. It would stand to reason that the report should be fed directly into Problem Management for problem identification and root cause determination. If we are going to go to the trouble of regularly producing this report the trends should be analyzed in order to eliminate the routine causes of unavailability.
ITIL Availability Management is a tactical process that has both a reactive monitoring and tactical planning aspect. The objective of the process is to plan for, facilitate, monitor and ensure the availability of the IT Services defined in the Service Catalog.
However, all of these objections I raise depend on certain logical dependencies
- IT has defined Services and Systems in a service catalog – otherwise they are reporting on the availability of technology domains and not the customer experience of service delivery
- The IT organization has an effective Problem Management process that uses the output of the monthly Availability Report as a key input for problem identification activities
- The IT Organization has a knowledge of how IT Services and Systems are delivered based on information that would be found in a CMDB
- Availability Data is analyzed to produce a plan for improvements which in turn is used as input into the IT Portfolio Management and Financial Planning processes.
My general observation is that most of these requirements are not in place for the typical IT shop and perhaps provides the root cause of why Availability Management is reduced to the production of a report.
Other key activities of the process include:
- Integration with Service Level Management
- The coordination of inspective and proactive maintenance based on maintenance windows defined by Service Level Management
- The architectural engineering of IT Systems and Services with based on established availability requirements
- Integration with Release Schedules
- Integration with IT Security Management for data availability and retention polices
- Integration with Problem Management for error elimination
- Integration with Configuration Management
Like other processes, Availability Management has typical phases of implementation that require dependencies on other processes.
- The first level of maturity typically results in availability of individual components or collections of components being tracked and reported back to the business customer. This usually results in the presentation of overall server availability and a list of incidents attributed to the users of a specific line of business. The dependencies at this level of maturity would be the use of systems monitoring tools and the reliability of the Incident Management data.
- The next level of Availability Management is the roll up of individual components into a collection of objects, which facilitate an entire IT System such as Microsoft Exchange or SAP. This level of Availability Management is dependant on Configuration Management having done the mapping of relationships on these systems. Monitoring and reporting of availability is now done with a higher level of accuracy and granularity.
- The ITIL activities of “Maintainability” and “Serviceability” refer to inspective and proactive maintenance scheduling with internal departments as well as external suppliers based upon agreed maintenance windows.
- The ITIL activity of “Resilience” refers the engineering of fault tolerance and high availablity into a system and service design based on customer requirements. These requirements are typically gathered by the Service Level Management process and then scoped by an engineering function in alignment with policies defined by Security Management.
- The final level of Availability Management is the proactive planning element, which considers the input of the monitoring aspects of the process as well as the tactical and strategic inputs received from the business in regards to future development needs. An annual plan is produced which considers future requirements in regards to capital projects, ongoing operations and new technology consideration. To be effective, a tight integration is required at this point with the Service Level, IT Service Continuity and Financial Management processes.
Troy’s thoughts what are yours?
“One of the problems of taking things apart and seeing how they work - supposing you’re trying to find out how a cat works—you take that cat apart to see how it works, what you’ve got in your hands is a non-working cat. The cat wasn’t a sort of clunky mechanism that was susceptible to our available tools of analysis.” ~Douglas Adams
I agree on that… Its a process that takes time before seeing the outcome!Posted by SAP Online Training on 07/06 at 02:16 AM