Service LifecycleThis year has been eye opening for me.  The work I’ve been able to complete, the exposure I’ve gotten, and the training I’ve received has summed up to be my best professional year in recent memory.  There’s no question that embracing social media and starting a blog has aided my development and although my hands-on CA Clarity work has been somewhat limited, I was able to complete at least one major enhancement.  The new kid on the block for me was ITIL and how it applies to service ordering and fulfillment.  I was able to attend a multi-day ITIL v3 foundations class and I really enjoyed it.  The exam wasn’t a walk in the park, the content related to my job in multiple areas, and for the first time, I began to see the big picture.  To me, it was like seeing IT service management in slow motion.

Straight from ITIL’s Official Site:
ITIL® is the most widely adopted approach for IT Service Management in the world.  It provides a practical, no-nonsense framework for identifying, planning, delivering and supporting IT services to the business.

This post isn’t going to concentrate on ITIL definitions though, if you want that, just search Google and you’ll quickly become drenched in information overload.  When I mention seeing it in slow motion, I mean from a self-service perspective, I’ve gained experience in building orderable services and from a fulfillment perspective, I know how to manage them.  We use two different applications from two different vendors to complete the process but the end result is less calls to the helpdesk, a central hub for everything an employee might need, and time savings across multiple business groups.  If your organization doesn’t have a web-based self-service system, you should seriously consider one.  It’s a one stop shop where a resource visits a website and makes a request.  In many cases it’s like using a shopping cart with Amazon technology.

A typical example would be the end user logs in, chooses an available item or service, enters the required form fields, and clicks submit.  They’re done.  A workflow takes over from there and fires off email authorizations to whomever, perhaps the resource’s direct manager, maybe the business owner of the service, or perhaps both.  The bottom line is, no one is going back and forth with emails, questions, permissions, approvals, etc.  The workflow owns the decision making process and ultimately ends up in a change ticket or a rejection.  When approved, the self-service portion is nearly complete as a new ticket is generated for the fulfillment of the request.

In fulfillment, a group is assigned the change by way of a queue.  That queue’s service team sets an assignee to the task and the work is executed.  Status updates occur on the fulfillment side that can be public or private.  The nice part is, engineers on the back end can converse on the change, handle installation notes, licensing, costs, etc. with zero visibility to the initial requester.  Once the change has been fulfilled and is marked as complete the workflow recognizes the closed status and notifies the requester.  This is a very small snippet of what seeing ITIL and a service catalog can be like in slow motion.  It doesn’t matter what tool you use, it doesn’t matter how you get from point A to point B, what matters is the time saving, cost saving, and quality principles.  If an end user can do something for themselves and pass along all necessary requirements to the proper group, it’s a major win.  Welcome service management, say goodbye to many of those Word forms, PDF forms, Excel spreadsheets, etc. as you should only goto one place to request something in your enterprise.