If part one of my article has given you an appetite for trail blazing in the world of continual service improvement. I’d like to offer you some more ideas with my one hour Service Improvement Plans. I’m not suggesting you could make the improvements listed here within an hour, simply providing pointers regarding common issues and some hints to help you to un-cover your pain points and start to forge an action plan of improvements.
It is unlikely that you will be able to perform every check here as they depend to some extent on suitable process and information being in place but as we know with CSI every little helps!
Service Level Management — Perception is reality!
In service management we talk about ‘value’. What does that mean? It is so difficult to harness; value to one customer is not necessarily value to another. You won’t know until you ask the question. Ask a senior customer, maybe over coffee and get them to describe to you the most important aspects of your service to them. Is it availability of an on-line service or the production of daily reports? Which causes them greater business difficulty, delays in installing new desktop equipment or the time taken to apply changes to the application software?
Now compare this with the measures in the SLA — are you measuring the aspects that are of most value to your customers, or just the things that are easiest for you to measure? We often thrive on availability figures in IT organisations but what does 98.5% really mean in hours lost over a measurement period. Organisations that only measure and report the easy things risk customers describing the service as “poor” despite all SLA targets being met. Perception is reality in the eyes of your customer.
Capacity Management — Understanding PBA’s
If there is one, find the current capacity plan for a service and review the source of the workload estimates. Was a customer involved and if so, do they still agree with the predictions?
Look to a previous year’s estimates from a customer’s business plans and check them against current figures. Has the processing volume changed in line with predictions? Capacity Management is often very complex but simple calculations of customer workload, data volumes and processing windows can anticipate service issues before service levels fall.
For most organisations Capacity Management is not an exacting science. If you do have software tools and resource usage data for predicting growth, then this will help you to model the impact of changes in the business environment and pre-empt a lack of capacity thus being able to lessen the need for hurried and possibly expensive, solutions rather than planned growth. It is important to review frequently. Not just when the Capacity Plan is due to be written or the SLA is due to be re-negotiated.
Having decided on your vision I’d always recommend employing some of the techniques identified in the ITIL® Continual Service Improvement publication. It is important not to forge action plans without qualified information. Make sure you know the facts before making recommendations for improvement. Once you are clear on what needs to be done make sure you have a baseline of the current situation. You need something to allow later comparison against any improvements you make.
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