Information Technology Infrastructure Library, or “ITIL” as it is referred to in corporate settings, is a detailed set of practices for IT Services Management to increase efficiency and effectiveness throughout any organization by aligning IT services with business requirements.
The practices describe in detail a list of processes, procedures, tasks, and checklists that can be applied to an organization’s strategy and delivered value, elevating the standards of the set of operating procedures. ITIL and its practices can benefit any organization that provides IT products or services.
Although a total of five focus areas are identified, including Strategy, Design, Transition, Operation, and Continual Improvement (CI), this blog will focus on Operations, in which ITIL is utilized in Service Desk Delivery to create efficiencies.
Within the Operations practice area, a primary goal is to ensure that IT services are delivered effectively and efficiently. The following five processes in ITIL Operations include:
- Event Management
- Incident Management
- Problem Management
- Request Fulfillment
- Access Management
The service desk serves as the single point of contact between the IT organization and the business. It handles all incident reports, service requests, change notifications, and all other necessary communications.
To enhance efficiency, the service desk is responsible for resolving incidents based on Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and restoring services as swiftly as possible to get the customer back online and fully functional.
The Incident Management process assures tickets are effectively handled from the moment they are submitted by the user and includes the following areas—Management Support, Logging and Categorization, Resolution (including at escalated levels), Major Incident Handling and Reporting.
The Management Support segment, a sub-process of incident management, ensures the team is equipped with appropriate tools, processes, and skills to safeguard adequate handling of incidents.
Within Incident Logging and Categorization, the service desk keeps an accurate and updated log of each incident, organized and prioritized based on the level of interruption.
Incident Resolution branches off to three levels. The first tier consists of analysts who respond to requests during initial contact. Their goal is to resolve the incident during this session to restore services. Some cases escalate to Tier 2 support analysts or supervisors because they require specialists or suppliers to resolve the incident. Lastly, Tier 3 support involves the need for external support. To ensure efficient support, workarounds are introduced where needed to minimize disruptions until a proper solution is established.
Formulating a solution is not always easy, which is why there is a need for a Problem Management process. For those cases where workarounds are in use, but the issue is not fully resolved, the team reports the incident to the Problem Management group to perform a root cause analysis to find a definitive cause and solution.
Important steps in Request Fulfillment include conducting requests in an appropriate time frame and monitoring the status of all requests (escalating as necessary) and closing out tickets. Adequately maintaining tools, processes, personnel, and training will continually impact request fulfillment. This may include training on how to deliver services for users and build service catalogues to include self-service options for users.
While the service desk is responsible for solving more complex issues, they also complete minor tickets, such as password resets or installation of software on user machines. To promote self-empowerment, service desks should develop online knowledge centers that guide users to handle IT issues on their own when convenient. This can potentially reduce a significant burden on the Service Desk staff.
The Service Desk is an essential function of ITIL and includes fundamental processes necessary for overall efficiency. It is imperative for organizations to develop an understanding of the responsibilities before implementing a fully utilized service desk. This understanding ensures all facets are correctly implemented and that there is proper staffing in place to be successful. There are many avenues of learning about what to provide for a Service Desk; however, similar to all certifications within the IT industry, it is recommended to take part in courses and webinars offered by official providers, which will ensure your organization is equipped with the correct standards and practices.