LiveTime Service Manager provides service organizations all they need to adopt a lifecycle approach to service management, irrespective of their current level of service maturity, available resources and capability. Such capacity guarantees organizations control over their ITIL adoption process, whether they choose to use internally trained staff or outsource to industry specialists for their ITIL implementation.
At the end of October in 2007, ITIL version 3 was released and the understanding of IT service management best practices was transformed to encompass a lifecycle approach to service. Processes are grouped into different segments based on their lifecycle. Many of these overlap into many segements of the framework as illustrated below.
A ‘service’ is defined as delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without ownership of specific costs and risks. The ITIL Service Lifecycle caters to the concept that services continually adapt and evolve with the changing needs of business. Through this evolution the service builds value through interaction, evolution, dependencies and relationships to provide positive results. The stages of evolution covered by ITIL are Strategy, Design, Transition, Operation and Continual Service Improvement.
Successful service providers have a clear understanding of their customer’s business objectives and the role IT plays to ensure their customer’s success. They predict the customer’s needs by preparing, analyzing and examining customer activity and usage patterns.
LiveTime Service Manager provides service organizations with this capacity as the system includes Service Portfolio Management at its core. Although it may not be relevant to all organizations when they first start working with the system, in their own time, organizations can build their service strategy and record all proposed services along with forecasted costings in LiveTime. These services can be transitioned through the configured service lifecycle that begins with an idea or proposal, through approvals, design & implementation, into operation and subsequently through maintenance cycles until it is decommissioned.
Applying Service Categories that include business related attributes, such as business processes supported, business owners and users, and making these accessible to customers with a description of the services in a language they understand, ensures IT is evolving from supporting the business to a point of enabling business activities, and in some cases, even driving the business.
With the cost of providing a service often a deciding factor when developing services for the business, LiveTime includes the capability to track and report on service offerings and component usage, service level performance and costs as part of the fully integrated Financial Management.
Recording financial attributes against services, including the service cost, charges and revenue, allows service providers to calculate the expenses they incur for offering services and charge internal or external consumers appropriately.
Moving from the prediction and planning stages, successful service providers apply service management practices systematically, which ensures the services they offer are responsive, consistent and measurable.
Approved services that are transitioned into an operational state within the Service Portfolio, are made available to customers within LiveTime’s Service Catalog. Considered a filter view of the Service Portfolio, the active or ‘Live’ services offered by the service provider can be accessed by customers within LiveTime’s Customer Portal.
Within the Portal, customers can log Service Requests, Incidents or Change Requests against services, as defined relevant by the service provider. It should be noted that if the Service Portfolio, Service Catalog and Financial Management functionality is never enabled, service providers can still record requests against items and services owned or accessed by their customer base.
Responsive service is managed with all requests being associated with Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which is applied Service Level Management. Service providers can use LiveTime’s fully configurable SLAs supported by Operations Level Agreements (OLAs) and Underpinning Contracts (UCs) to ensure the quality of service delivered to their customers. Applying SLA-compliance reporting, Managers can define and track service availability and performance objectives that reflect business requirements and improved customer satisfaction.
Providing stable and predictable services that allow businesses to view IT as a utility is also crucial to a service provider’s success. This is achieved by using LiveTime to map the designed services to the IT infrastructure that provisions the services. LiveTime’s embedded CMDB encompasses the Service Portfolio and Service Catalog, allowing service organizations to construct a complete model of the IT infrastructure. This model can be leveraged to identify, control, maintain and verify the Configuration Items (CIs) that underpin the services.
The CMDB is built on CI Type templates that include user-defined attributes and a lifecycle editor that is applied to reflect the State of the CI. It is this State that is also used to define a service as being proposed, operational, decommissioned or any stage in between.
CI details can be automatically populated from multiple third party asset discovery and management tools and updated based on a regular schedule. This ensures the stability of services as information relating to all support infrastructure is maintained, while enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of service desk staff when they are working on requests.
In all ITIL aligned service management implementations, getting the CMDB right is the biggest challenge. With LiveTime, service providers can set a simple list of services as CIs to provide immediate improvement for the creation and management of requests. Then as a background task, the service portfolio and service catalog can be built with all supporting infrastructure, bringing the services online when they are ready. By using the system whilst building the CMDB, service providers can take advantage of the single repository that shows customer activity and usage patterns. This is a valuable resource when fine-tuning the construction of the CMDB and the overall service strategy.
By building the Categories, Types and Classifications for all CIs in the CMDB, the foundations of the Knowledge Management system are also being implemented. All future solutions, known errors and back-out procedures, will use the CMDB model to store knowledge base articles for easy access when working across Service Requests, Incidents, Problems and Change Requests.
Change Management, with its default extension of Release and Deployment, allows service providers to mirror their change and authorization procedures into LiveTime. This ensures all changes in the environment are reflected in the CMDB and they are controlled and managed in accordance with the documented procedure. The tight integration with the CMDB means that third party tools that detect changes in the environment, initiate the creation of a request for change (RFC), when LiveTime synchs with the external systems.
Full visibility of current and planned outages also works to reassure customers about the availability and reliability of the services.
Servicing customers in line with their expectations and proactively identifying issues are key elements in a responsive and consistent service environment. Using LiveTime’s fully configurable workflows across Service Request, Incident and Problem management, ensures service providers handle all service issues with consistency and within service requirements levels.
Ready access to solutions and workarounds stored in the Knowledge Base during the request creation process minimizes the mean time to repair (MTTR) for incidents, and the proactive analysis of incidents automates the problem identification process to maintain the stability of services.
Tight integration and full visibility between all processes mean that a single click within a Service Request, Incident, Problem or Change can result in the creation of a related request within a different process. This new request will include the appropriate team, SLA and workflow assignment based on the CMDB configuration, and have the ability to update notes, time worked and status changes across the processes. LiveTime provides efficiency and effectiveness gains as all service desk staff have access to all the relevant information when working on a request and providing customer updates.
Service providers wanting to provide immediate value to their business customers when implementing LiveTime, can first roll out Incident Management or Request Fulfillment as they refine other parts of their service management strategy. Capitalizing on the embedded integration with authentication servers, email server and default system workflows, organizations immediately have a single point of access for handling all requests. They can use also use the newly captured data to audit their processes, classifications and customer requirements for future planning and implementing service management improvements.
Continual Service Improvement
Successful service providers continuously analyze and refine their service offerings to perpetuate stability and reliability, while retaining adaptive and responsive services allowing the customers to concentrate on their business.
Managers across all service management processes are provided access to LiveTime’s inbuilt reports, allowing them to monitor the performance of all service offerings against the business requirements and agreed expectations.
The tight integration and visibility between all service management processes also provides Managers with ready access to information regarding the provisioned services, requests logged and committed agreements to identify weaknesses. The capability to automatically schedule review dates in LiveTime for service level agreements, knowledge base articles and change requests all combine to result in a professional, responsive and value driven service management environment.