Service Operation Principles Tutorial

2.1 Service Operation Principles

learning Unit 2 is all about Service Operation principles. This topic talks about the policies and principles involved in Service Operations in detail. Let us go ahead and learn more about Service Operation principles in the next slide.

2.2 Service Operation: Responsibilities

We have seen the importance of the Service Operation phase within the lifecycle. Now let us have a quick look at the responsibilities of Service Operation. The main responsibility of Service Operation is to focus on managing day-to-day activities and technology. However, it is important to understand that Service Operation has got a greater role to play over and above managing the day-to-day activities. As part of the service lifecycle, Service Operation is responsible for : Executing and performing processes that optimize the cost and quality of services,and Enabling the business to meet its objectives. As part of the world of technology, the responsibilities include : Effective functioning of components that support services, and Execution of operational control activities to manage and deliver services. As part of the overall business, the responsibilities are : Delivering services efficiently and at acceptable cost, Delivering services within prescribed service levels, and Maintaining user satisfaction for IT services provided. Moving on, in the next few slides we will discuss about Achieving balance in Service Operation.

2.3 Achieving Balance In Service Operation

After the introduction of functional units, let me introduce you to a very important topic which is “Achieving balance in Service Operation”. To understand this concept better let us understand what is Service Operation all about. Service Operation is more than just day-to-day management activities. All functions, processes and activities are designed to deliver a specified and agreed level of services, but they have to be delivered in a continuously changing environment. This situation forms a conflict between maintaining the status quo and adapting to changes in the business and technological environments. One of Service Operation’s key roles is therefore to deal with this conflict and to achieve a balance between conflicting sets of priorities. Let us understand the various types of balances in detail now. The most fundamental conflict in all phases of the ITSM Lifecycle is between the view of IT as a set of IT services (the external business view) and the view of IT as a set of technology components (internal IT view). The external view of IT is the way in which services are experienced by its users and customers. They do not always understand, nor do they care about, the details of what technology is used to manage those services. All they are concerned about is that the services are delivered as required and agreed. The internal view of IT is the way in which IT components and systems are managed to deliver the services. Since IT systems are complex and diverse, this often means that the technology is managed by several different teams or departments – each of which is focused on achieving good performance and availability of ‘its’ systems. You will agree that both views are necessary when delivering services. The organization that focuses only on business requirements without thinking about how they are going to deliver will end up making promises that cannot be kept. The organization that focuses only on internal systems without thinking about what services they support will end up with expensive services that deliver little value.

2.4 Achieving Balance In Service Operation

As we have understood the importance of achieving balance between the external views verses the internal IT view in our last slide. This slide talks about achieving balance between the stability verses the responsiveness in SO. Service Operation needs to ensure that the IT Infrastructure is stable and available as designed. At the same time, Service Operation needs to recognize that business and IT requirements change. For example if an organization becomes highly stable then they will tend to ignore the changes around them and will lack growth, wherein too much focus on changes to grow will lead to overspending. But there are some of these changes which are evolving. For example, the functionality, performance and architecture of a platform may change over a number of years. Each change brings with it an opportunity to provide better levels of service to the business. In evolutionary changes, it is possible to plan how to respond to the change and thus maintain stability while responding to the changes. Many changes, though, happen very quickly and sometimes under extreme pressure. For Example, additional services added to the contract. Many IT organizations are unable to achieve this balance and tend to focus on either the stability of the IT Infrastructure or the ability to respond to changes quickly. Thus it is important to achieve balance between the stability and the responsiveness in SO(pronounced as S-O). Now let us move to our next slide where we will discuss on achieving balance between the cost and quality in Service Operation

2.5 Achieving Balance In Service Operation

This slide talks about achieving balance between the cost and the quality in Service Operation. It is understood that Service Operation is required consistently to deliver the agreed level of IT service to its customers and users, while at the same time keeping costs and resource utilization at an optimal level. An organization which focuses too much on the cost they might compromise on the quality of the service delivered. However too much focus on quality will lead to highly expensive services. Achieving an optimal balance between cost and quality is a key role of Service Management. I would like to mention that determining the appropriate balance of cost and quality should be done during Service Strategy and Service Design Lifecycle phases, although in many organizations it is left to the Service Operation teams – many of whom do not generally have all the facts or authority to be able to make this type of decision. Achieving the correct balance is important. Too much focus on quality will result in IT services that deliver more than necessary, at a higher cost, and could lead to a discussion on reducing the price of services. Too much focus on cost will result in IT delivering on or under budget, but putting the business at risk through substandard IT services. In the next slide we will learn about achieving balance between reactive and proactive organizations.

2.6 Achieving Balance In Service Operation

In last few slides we discussed how an organization achieves balance within various aspects. Now we will look at the concept of achieving balance between extreme reactive and extreme proactive organization. A reactive organization is one which does not act unless it is prompted to do so by an external driver, e.g. (for example) A new business requirement, an application that has been developed or escalation in complaints made by users and customers. Thus too much reactive approach will lead to firefighting always and no scope of improvement. On the other side too much emphasis on proactive approach will lead to costs, efforts and expenses. An unfortunate reality in many organizations is the focus on reactive management mistakenly as the sole means to ensure services that are highly consistent and stable, actively discouraging proactive behavior from operational staff. The unfortunate irony of this approach is that discouraging effort investment in proactive Service Management can ultimately increase the effort and cost of reactive activities and further risk stability and consistency in services. A proactive organization is always looking for ways to improve the current situation. It will continuously scan the internal and external environments, looking for signs of potentially impacting changes. Proactive behavior is usually seen as positive; however, being too proactive can be expensive and can result in staff being distracted. Thus it is important for the organization to achieve the right balance between being reactive or proactive. Now let us move to our next topic.

2.7 Providing Good Service

Basically, it is the people who are ultimately responsible for the provision of services. Providing good service is therefore directly dependent on the skills, efficiency, attitude and commitment of the staff involved. • All Service Operation staff must be fully aware that they are there to “provide service” to the business. This understanding is the quintessence of service provision. • They must provide a timely, professional and courteous service to allow the business to conduct its own activities. The staff must be aware that the business activities have direct relation to outcomes, goals and objectives of the organization. • It is important that staff are trained not only in how to deliver and support IT services, but also in the manner in which the service should be provided. They must be sensitive to the customer or business requirements and deadlines. • The service provider should place high emphasis on recruiting and training staff to develop competency in dealing with and managing customer relationships and interactions. This softer side of service delivery normally influences and determines customer satisfaction. Next, we will discuss about the operational staff involvement in various lifecycle stages of service operation.

2.8 Operational Staff Involvement In Service Strategy

Service Operation owns the four functions namely: Service Desk, Technical Management, Application Management and IT Operations Management. The staffs from these four functions are required to involve and contribute to various activities in other lifecycle phases. Examples of Service Operation staff involvement in Service Strategy are: • Identifying and communicating current service operation capabilities, workforce levels and operational staff skills to those developing IT strategies; • Gathering and identifying IT operational costs; • Identifying high-level impacts of chosen IT strategies on current operational activities; • Identifying operational constraints that may impact IT strategies; and • Identifying operational risks for IT strategies being considered.

2.9 Operational Staff Involvement In Service Design

In case of Service Design, the Service Operation staff, especially the Technical Management and Application Management staff, can play a vital role in activities like : • Providing a clear definition of IT service objectives and performance criteria; • Detailing the linkage of IT service specifications to the performance of the IT infrastructure; • Defining the operational performance requirements; • Providing a mapping of services and technology; • Modelling and predicting the effect of changes in technology and changes to business requirements; and • Developing appropriate cost models to evaluate return on investment and cost reduction strategies.

2.10 Operational Staff Involvement In Service Transition

The staffs from the four function of Service Operation play a prominent role during the Service Transition phase of the lifecycle. The build, test, deployment and early life support stages of transition are the various activities in which operational staffs are involved. Some specific areas of involvement are: • Participation in trainings to learn how to operate a new or changed service; • Participation and review of operational acceptance tests; • Participation in transition planning to identify impacts of transition activities on current operational activities; • Participation in transition tasks; • Provision of early life support activities for new services or major changes; and • Participation in quality assurance activities such as validating operational readiness for new or changed services.

2.11 Operational Staff Involvement In Continual Service Improvement

There is tight integration of Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement activities. Inputs and outputs from various processes of these two lifecycle stages are continuously exchanged to enhance the services or to meet the changing requirements of the business and customers. Service Operation staff involvement in Continual Service Improvement activities include : • Ensuring that operational data is made available to personnel involved in CSI activities; • Validating accuracy of operational data used to identify improvement opportunities; • Assessing the impact of proposed improvement actions on existing operational activities; • Executing operational tasks to support service monitoring, measurement and reporting activities; • Identifying and promoting operational issues and concerns to CSI staff; and • Identifying and proposing improvements that can enhance the performance and quality of the IT services being delivered. Let us proceed to discuss about the Operational Health of IT systems in the next slide.

2.12 Operational Health

Operational Health of IT systems and services reflect the ability to provide reliable, consistent and quality services to customers and users. This is mainly achieved through monitoring and taking appropriate actions. As in a human body, operational health of IT infrastructure can be determined by isolating a few important ‘vital signs’ on devices or services that are defined as critical for the successful execution of a vital business functions. What, when and how to monitor for operational health are determined in service design. These are implemented, tested and refined during service transition and optimized during continual service improvement. However, the actual monitoring, recording, and reporting happens during service operation. Operational health is dependent on the ability to prevent incidents and problems by investing in reliable and maintainable infrastructure and by identifying faults and localize them effectively so that they have minimal impact on the services delivered. In the next two slides will discuss about importance of Communication in Service Operation.

2.13 Communication

As mentioned earlier there are more contributing factors of Service Operation, one of them is Communication. This slide explains the importance of communication in Service Operation. Communication plays an important role in all domains. When it comes to the most critical part of Communication, it is important that all communication must have an intended purpose or a resultant action. Information should not be communicated unless there is a clear audience. In addition, the audience should have been actively involved in determining the need for the communication and what they will do with the information. These include: Routine operational communication Communication between shifts Performance reports Communication during projects Communication related to changes Communication related to exceptions Communication related to emergencies Training on new or customized processes and service designs and Communication of strategy and Design to Service Operation teams. Therefore there should be a policy around communication within each team or department and for each process. Although this should be formal, the policy should not be cumbersome or complex. For example, a manager might require that all communications regarding changes must be sent by e-mail. As we have known the importance of communication and also discussed that a process must be in place for effective communication, in the next slide let’s see if documentation of this will be of any importance.

2.14 Communication

Communication is a vital activity during Service Operation stage of lifecycle. The need for timely and appropriate communication cannot be overemphasized to meet the service management objectives. There are numerous types of communications that are performed during Service Operation. Let us look at some of these communications. • Routine operational communication is performed to coordinate the regular activities of service operation at all levels and to ensure that all staff are aware of the scheduled activities, changes and initiatives that may affect the normal operation of IT environment. • Communication between shifts ensures that the handover between outgoing and incoming shifts is smooth and also makes the new shift aware of any potential difficulties. They also ensure that the new shift is aware of any tasks that need to be completed. • Performance reporting is another key communication area. This is a means of IT service reporting to customers and users. The reports are used to demonstrate achievement of targets against SLAs. This is also used as a basis for charging for IT services. • Service operation staff are sometimes involved in projects. Communication in projects is majorly related to ensuring that all members of the project team understand and are aligned to the objectives of the project. It is also used to assign work to individuals and teams. • Ensuring that communication related to changes is made on a timely basis and to appropriate people is a key factor for successful change management. Ensuring that each team is aware of the nature and schedule of changes and ensuring that progress reports are prepared, are some of the essential ‘change’ related communications. • An exception refers to any occurrence that is outside normal or expected activity or performance. Keeping appropriate people informed about the exception and assessing its significance, severity and impact are some examples of ‘communication related to exceptions’. • Emergency communications are normally initiated by Incident Manager or by senior IT manager designated as the escalation point. The purpose of ‘Communication related to emergencies’ is to immediately investigate and confirm the impact and severity of the incident to determine if it is indeed an emergency situation or not. • Other communications within service operation include training on new or customized processes and service designs; communication of strategy, design and transition to service operation teams and communication with users and customers. Next, let us understand the importance of documentation.

2.15 Documentation

From the last slide we have understood how critical, communication is for Service Operation. Now when there is communication there shall also be documentation process!! This slide will explain about maintaining the documents in Service Operation processes. IT Operations Management and all of the Technical and Application Management teams and departments are involved in creating and maintaining a range of documents. These include: Participating in the definition and maintenance of process manuals for all processes they are involved in. These will include processes in other phases of the IT Service Management Lifecycle (e.g. Capacity Management, Change Management, and Availability Management) as well as for all processes included in the Service Operation phase. Establishing technical procedures manuals for each process is very essential. These must be kept up to date and new material must be added as it becomes relevant, under Change Control. Participating in the creation and maintenance of planning documents e.g. The Capacity and Availability Plans and the IT Service Continuity Plans., is an important step. Participating in the creation and maintenance of the Service Portfolio, this will include quantifying costs and establishing the operational feasibility of each proposed service. Participation in the definition and maintenance of Service Management tool work instructions in order to meet reporting requirements So far, we have covered all the principles of SO in this Unit.

2.16 Service Operation: Inputs And Outputs

Service Operation is a very important stage within the service lifecycle and has dependencies and interactions with other lifecycle stages. There are information exchanges happening between these lifecycle stages. The representative list of inputs received from and outputs delivered to the other stages of lifecycle will be discussed now. Let us start with interface between Service Operation and Service Strategy. Some of the key Inputs from Service Strategy to Service Operation are: The vision and mission statements; The Service portfolio; The organizational policies; Strategies and strategic plans; Organizational and business priorities; Financial information and budgets; Demand forecasts and strategies; and Identified list of strategic risks. The outputs from Service Operation to Service Strategy include : Operating risks identified; Operating cost information for total cost of ownership calculations; and Actual performance data collected from monitoring and reporting tools.

2.17 Service Operation: Inputs And Outputs

Let us now discuss the information exchange between Service Operation and Service Design. The inputs from Service Design to Service Operation include: The service catalogue which consists of the complete and accurate list of operational services; The Service design packages covering the application and infrastructure designs, the management and technical architectures as well as the process designs; The list of vital business functions documented in consultation with business representatives; The hardware and software maintenance requirements for various components of IT infrastructure; The designs for all relevant service operation processes and procedures; The Service Level Agreements, Operational Level Agreements and underpinning contracts; and Security policies which are aligned to organizational and business requirements. The outputs from Service Operation to Service Design are: The operational requirements that need to be taken into consideration while designing the services; The actual performance data of current services and components which can be used to determine the performance requirements of new or changed services; The Requests For Change to resolve operational issues; and The historical incident and problem records which can provide valuable feedback for improving design activities as well as future designs.

2.18 Service Operation: Inputs And Outputs

After building, testing and deploying the new or changed services into live environments, Service Transition ensures proper handover of the services to Service Operation teams. Hence, there is close relationship between Service Transition and Service Operation. The Inputs from Service Transition to Service Operation are : The new or changed services deployed in live environments; The known errors identified during test phase and recorded in the Known Error Database; List of Standard changes for use in request fulfilment; Knowledge and information pertaining to the functionality, testscipts, schedules etc., in the Service Knowledge Management System; and The Change schedule detailing the build, test and deployment timelines. The Outputs from Service Operation to Service Transition generally include: The Requests For Changes to resolve operational issues identified through Incident and Problem Management; The Feedback on quality of transition activities as identified by operations teams post go-live of services; Input to operational testing by way of test plans, scripts and test results; Actual performance information of various infrastructure components and services; and Input to change evaluation and change advisory board meetings.

2.19 Service Operation: Inputs And Outputs

Once services are deployed and become operational, the Service Operation teams will put in place and execute various monitoring and reporting mechanisms to measure the quality of services being delivered. These measurements, metrics and reports lead to various interactions between Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement stages of lifecycle. • Key inputs from Continual Service Improvement to Service Operation are : • The results of customer and user satisfaction surveys conducted; • The service reports and dashboards generated as part of Service Level Management and other requirements; • The data required for metrics, KPIs and CSFs; and • Requests for changes for implementing improvements identified. • Key outputs from Service Operation to Continual Service Improvement include : • The operational performance data and service records generated from infrastructure and service monitoring as well as process execution; • The proposed problem resolutions and proactive measures identified to fix and improve component or service performance; • Knowledge and information added in the SKMS • Reporting of achievements against metrics, KPIs and CSFs; and • Improvement opportunities logged in the CSI register. With this we have come to the end of learning unit 2, let us quickly summarize in the next slide.

2.20 Summary

The topics that we have covered under Service Operations so far are: • Responsibilities • Achieving Balance in Service Operation • Providing Good Service • Operational Staff Involvement in Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition and CSI • Operational Health • Communication • Documentation • Inputs and Outputs Next is the quiz section, do not forget to attempt the questions before proceeding to learning unit 3 on Service Operation processes.

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  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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