ITIL and My Daily Operations

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I’ve recently decided to brush up on my ITIL Foundation terminology. My goal is to get certified before the end of the year, but hopefully much sooner than that. HPE has some helpful classes that are provided for free to employees, and I have already watched the first set. The content, pace, and structure of the videos are very good, but I think I just learn better from books. I got the most recent ITIL Study Guide and am about 20 pages in so far.

Why is ITIL helpful? The library defines a set of terminology and processes that need to be followed in order to efficiency provide value to a customer. For example, I am supporting a product for a client right now. My client is an external customer, and we are currently in the ITIL stage of “Operations.” This means that we are completely done in regards to setting up the servers and applications; we are basically managing and supporting the environment on a day-to-day tasks. Below are the standard processes that are part of the ITIL Operations stage, and how it relates to my daily activities:

  • Event Management
    • Process Objective: To make sure CIs and services are constantly monitored, and to filter and categorize Events in order to decide on appropriate actions.
    • In my case: Ensuring that my application and servers are constantly monitored, logging is running, and that any alerts are addressed within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Incident Management
    • Process Objective: To manage the lifecycle of all Incidents. The primary objective of Incident Management is to return the IT service to users as quickly as possible.
    • In my case: making sure that the process of ticket opening, routing to service desk, and service desk training are all completed efficiently.
  • Request Fulfilment
    • Process Objective: To fulfill Service Requests, which in most cases are minor (standard) Changes (e.g. requests to change a password) or requests for information.
    • In my case: ensuring that any incidents opened by customers are addressed and resolved as quickly as possible.
  • Access Management
    • Process Objective: To grant authorized users the right to use a service, while preventing access to non-authorized users. The Access Management processes essentially execute policies defined in Information Security Management. Access Management is sometimes also referred to as Rights Management or Identity Management.
    • In my case: making sure that new users are granted access, and terminated users are cleaned from the system.
  • Problem Management
    • Process Objective: To manage the lifecycle of all Problems. The primary objectives of Problem Management are to prevent Incidents from happening, and to minimize the impact of incidents that cannot be prevented. Proactive Problem Management analyzes Incident Records, and uses data collected by other IT Service Management processes to identify trends or significant Problems.
    • In my case: analyze the environment to see if there are any trends in inactive, terminated, or problem users, and see if there is any indication of a larger problem
  • IT Operations Control
    • Process Objective: To monitor and control the IT services and their underlying infrastructure. The process IT Operations Control executes day-to-day routine tasks related to the operation of infrastructure components and applications. This includes job scheduling, backup and restore activities, print and output management, and routine maintenance.
    • In my case: making sure that all backups are safe and secure, and that any upgrades/hotfixes are analyzed and scheduled for implementation.
  • Facilities Management
    • Process Objective: To manage the physical environment where the IT infrastructure is located. Facilities Management includes all aspects of managing the physical environment, for example power and cooling, building access management, and environmental monitoring.
    • In my case: this is actually handled by my client. I don’t actually take care of anything physical, I remote into everything and make sure that the actual services are running smoothly. My client has a separate hardware/server team that takes care of the facilities.
  • Application Management
    • Application Management is responsible for managing applications throughout their lifecycle.
    • In my case: I work with the vendors to hash out any problems, obtain upgrades, test, verify, and implement.
  • Technical Management
    • Technical Management provides technical expertise and support for the management of the IT infrastructure.
    • In my case: I work with my team, vendors, and client colleagues to provide expertise in regards to current and future objectives. Roadmaps, prevention of issues, and ongoing maintenance are all part of my day to day activities.

Of course, one thing you can never forget as an IT professional is to do Continual Service Improvement. One of my managers let me know recently that I should write documentation on all lessons learned, and that’s definitely a priority of mine. I need to ensure that everything I have learned is documented and available on our central knowledgebase, so that if I am not available for any reason the environment can still be taken care of. It’s important to keep the customer happy!