IT Services and Management can loosely be defined as how Information Technology teams manage the delivery of IT services to an organisation. There are many elements that make up how an IT Services and Management strategy is run, with the following five elements being key to managing these services effectively.
There’s little doubt that the most important element of IT Services and Management is ongoing IT support to a workforce, part of which involves the deployment of a service request management tool (or workflow tool).
Sometimes referred to as the IT Service Desk, this management request tool encompasses all elements of IT Services and Management. Users of the tool can:
- request new hardware or software
- request access to existing software
- report access problems and security issues.
Being a single point of contact, the service management request tool ensures all requests and issues are logged and a record is kept. Related requests that appear in the queue can easily be grouped together.
Requests are generally rated for order of priority reasons, and a Service Level Agreement ensures requests are actioned within reasonable time frames.
The service management process also includes communication, whereby users are notified of the progress of their request. They can also log into the tool to check the status of their request, usually by using a request number.
Whilst the service request management tool provides a platform for all requests and issues, it’s not necessarily the only avenue of contact users may have with an IT department. Many businesses have a Many businesses have a 24/7 help desk that operates as part of the service that operates as part of the service request management system, and some businesses have a literal desk (or any place in their building) where users can come and log a request, present hardware they are having problems with, or collect new hardware they’ve requested.
Usually a face-to-face service option like this operates during restricted hours, with the intention of an in-person service being to reduce the volume of requests sitting in the workflow, by attending to requests on-the-spot. A service like this also helps provide troubleshooting advice to users, who may find written or over the phone explanations difficult to understand.
Data Management is a key element of managed IT Services. Businesses generate an enormous amount of data which must be categorised, stored and backed up for future use. All of these processes use business resources, be it time spent locating data, or money spent on storing and backing up data.
Effective data management can reduce costs related to handling, storing, locating and backing up data. It can also ensure sensitive data, including customer data, is well-secured, as inappropriately releasing customer data poses significant business risks, most prominently, losing consumer trust and damaging brand reputation.
Data Management encompasses:
- data backup
- data storage
- data recovery in the event of data loss, be it accidental or as a result of a cyber attack
- data security, whereby only certain staff members may access particular data, and access may be revoked
- cybersecurity, where processes are put in place to protect data, as part of wider IT security measures.
One important element of IT Service and Management is Incident Management. Incident Management comes into play when an IT-related problem arises that disrupts the ability of an end user (or many end users) to continue working.
A typical flow for incident management is as follows.
- Receiving a report of the incident, via a logged report (an IT ticket) in a service request tool.
- Categorising and prioritising the incident. Incidents may be rated low, medium, high, critical. The more users impacted, the higher the incident rating.
- Assigning the incident for handling by the right technician.
- Managing the tasks related to the incident, which may involve a number of technicians across departments.
- Managing SLAs to ensure the incident is resolved within agreed timeframes, and if not, escalated.
- Resolving the incident.
- Closing the request. This involves ensuring the end-user is satisfied with the fix. It also involves documenting the incident so that if there is a repeat occurrence, best-practice recommendations are available in the next event.
IT connectivity is a key element of managed IT Services, especially with the myriad of ways workers can now connect as part of the modern business world. IT connectivity management ensures staff can reliably access the tools they need to perform their jobs in whatever location they happen to be in. This may include having access to:
- Video conferencing applications like Zoom
- Text chat applications like Microsoft Teams or Slack
- Reliable internet.
For all of these forms of communication, they must take place in a secure manner that doesn’t place business information or data at risk. This may involve the use of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to protect networks from ‘virtual’ intruders who may try to steal data or employee login information.
Other connectivity tools used as part of an overall Connectivity Management strategy are:
- MPLS, a type of network protocol that separates different types of traffic into low or high priority traffic, to ensure consistent connectivity.
- SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) which allows multiple internet connections by different providers to be “bundled” into a single network, in order to ensure business continuity and reliability for mission-critical software and hardware when there’s an outage by one provider.
Change is a given in the business world and will impact IT Systems in various ways. Hence, effective change management strategies are key to ensuring IT Services and Management continue without interruption.
Changes that impact IT systems may include when:
- a major system experiences small updates, or a complete overhaul (a different communications strategy will be required for each type of change)
- new software is introduced to replace existing software
- software or hardware becomes outdated or obsolete, and needs to be replaced. This will involve procurement of new software/hardware, and likely, a staggered approach to dealing out the new technology to staff
- changes resulting from an unrelated business project have impacts on IT systems.
Strategies used as part of a change management approach include:
- Running tests with pilot groups before full rollout of a change
- Selling the benefits of the change, via a communications strategy
- Managing user expectations during rollout
- Providing ramped up user-support during the change process, and ongoing support beyond that.
The above five elements are by no means all the elements in a managed IT services suite. Other key services include IT Network Services, IT Communication, and IT Procurement, amongst others. For more information on these, Melbourne-based Technetics can answer all of your questions and advise you on what we can provide for your organisation.
If you need managed IT Services in Melbourne or beyond, Technetics Consulting provides a full suite of tailored managed services including IT Consulting and IT Security services. To learn more, speak with Technetics today.