ITIL and Service Desk Software
There is a great deal of work that happens behind the scenes to enable the end-products of a business. This often requires management of extensive data or complex processes which, though never conveyed to the customer, nonetheless impact the value delivered. Efficient use of ITIL service desk software creates an opportunity to thoroughly analyze technology resources and maximize tools which will, in turn, allow the business to focus on its core services to the customer. The benefits of this comprehensive methodology are experienced throughout the organization.
What is ITIL?
The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a framework of best practices to manage the provision of IT support services. It identifies procedures which guide the development and use of information technology to best support the needs of the business. The ITIL approach to IT service management (ITSM) is systematic and encompasses governance issues as well as opportunities to build on current capabilities. Through this approach, implemented with the use of high quality service desk software, companies can follow a repeatable process to consistently deliver high-quality services to customers and measure the performance of those services for continued improvement.
An important aspect of ITSM is its customer-centered focus with respect to the overall organization of IT services. The central idea is to improve the business user’s experience when interacting with the infrastructure. With this, the benefits of using well-defined IT services become more evident.
This customer service viewpoint used to guide the development of in-house operations has led the ITIL to become the worldwide standard for managing tech support services. It is used in a wide range of industries in both the public and private sectors. The framework can be applied to any type of business that uses an IT infrastructure to support the delivery of its services, whether those services fall specifically in the IT industry or another.
IT service management utilizes two key characteristics. First, it is based on the premise of integrating the needs of the business with the needs and capabilities of information technology. The business needs determine which IT services to use and how to implement them. This ensures that only those services which are beneficial to the business strategy are put into operation, creating a more streamlined back office process.
Second, ITSM addresses the entire lifecycle of how IT services are used to deliver business products to the customer. Beginning with the creation of policies to guide the concept of the service, the methodology details a comprehensive approach to employing IT products in production. A focus on tracking and evaluation of issues leads to continued improvement of the services, as the cycle begins again.
Phases of IT Services Delivery
A deeper look at the five phases of the delivery of IT services can help illustrate how the ITSM process can serve as a tool to meet a business’ strategy. A change in business requirements initiates the process in the service strategy phase. The purpose of the change and what the customer can expect to receive from the new service are defined. Fully capturing the business requirements and analyzing the impact of the change prior to beginning any development work provides the basis for a comprehensive plan to best utilize the organization’s resources and capabilities.
The architectural solution of the service is defined in the service design stage. All of the details needed to develop the service and implement it into live production, as well as techniques to measure its success, are described here. The service level agreement (SLA) is an important instrument in this phase, documenting the details of the change. Defined SLA management procedures allow the organization to evaluate its services consistently and objectively.
The service transition phase tests the new service for performance in a range of conditions to verify that it functions according to the intended design and meets the customer’s needs. Change management and service asset management, while important throughout the ITSM process, are vital at this stage. As the service undergoes evaluation, only an organized and prioritized system will ensure that defects in the service are addressed and that dependencies with other services are considered prior to the change being implemented in the live environment.
The new service is moved into production in the service operation stage and begins to provide the value it was intended to deliver. An efficient and effective service is the ultimate illustration of the ITSM process. Any problem or unexpected result that occurs in the service at this point must be addressed promptly to preserve the system. The ITIL service desk is the interface between end users and the infrastructure and plays an integral part in managing problems with functionality or future requests to change the service.
Continual service improvement is a philosophy that is present throughout the IT service management lifecycle. At each phase, issues can be considered and the appropriate actions taken to minimize weaknesses in the service. This active approach allows the IT infrastructure to evolve to continue to meet the customer’s needs.
There are numerous benefits when using a systematic process of any kind, as the ability to follow the same steps repeatedly facilitates a more efficient approach and offers consistent expectations of outcomes. The ITSM is a method proven to deliver reliable results by using IT services as powerful tools to enable a business to serve its customers. Its guidelines were developed with input from both IT industry experts and end users, meaning that the framework is robust and accommodates what is required to make the system perform, as well as ensure that it is practical from a user perspective. This leads to higher quality IT services that better support the business needs. The advantages then flow through business operations and provide customers with faster, more directed services. The end result is increased customer satisfaction.
ITSM and the Help Desk
The benefits of IT service management are especially evident when considering the activities of the help desk, one of the key functions of IT operations. As the primary link to users of tech support services, the help desk is generally the initial resource engaged when production issues arise. It also serves as a key player in the change management process, responsible for enabling the modifications and monitoring the progression of those changes to the production environment.
The help desk is often tasked with similar issues to resolve, and the use of a standardized, repeatable process immediately reduces the amount of work required with each instance. Web based help desk software, such as Help Desk Premier, provides a convenient and robust way for IT customer support to follow ITIL standards and take advantage of many of its benefits. With the help of tools such as problem ticket systems, call management and other general service desk functions are fully captured. Help Desk Premier can support small and medium sized organizations to successfully manage many of the essential processes of ITIL. Help Desk Premier specifically addresses the change management process and many of the procedures that occur during the service operation phase, such as incident and problem management, service access management and IT asset management. By reducing the amount of duplicated work and providing a single tool to enable the whole process, the technical support software facilitates more efficient use of ITIL service desk staff, increasing productivity. Less time is required to implement changes or resolve problems, so users experience less down time and services are delivered to market faster. Overall, the organization sees improved operational performance, customers who are more satisfied with the services they receive and an impact on company revenues.
ITIL Service Desk Software Conclusion
IT service management is no longer conducted independently of the business operations, but must consider many aspects of the organizational environment to preserve a competitive advantage. Not only do the principles of IT service management encompass both business and technical issues to develop an all-encompassing methodology, but they evolve to continually synchronize those needs. ITIL service desk software can be a powerful tool to take advantage of these far-reaching benefits and achieve business goals.