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ITIL Drives Service Management at Toyota Financial

Jun 7, 2007

Jennifer Zaino

bITa Planet: You’re working on the CMDB now. What are the challenges there?

Howard: That’s an ongoing process and we implemented it first on a very light basis by just providing a listing of our servers. If you look at some of the vendor CMDB tools, most are built for very mature organizations and I would say most organizations don’t need that level of maturity in the CMDB. It’s real easy for developers to say it would be cool to have everything in it and organizations get caught up in trying to supply all the data fields within the CMDB, but do they really need it?

We started our CMDB back in late 2004 or so, and now we’re stepping a little further to try to understand what we will do with the data. We continue to gather data and how relationships are built — the value is to understand what affect changes have on the organization. Also, from an incident perspective, [the value is] to understand how things are connected so you can better restore service. You have to understand at what level you need to take it to.

Have you tackled problem and release management?

The next step was problem and release management at the same time. We discovered recurring incidents we could attack from a structured problem management perspective, to try to reduce the number of incidents and increase availability. We recognized that release management also contributes to some incidents, because some of the releases that went into the environment were not built to the quality standard they needed to be. So we created a release management process to help us with that, to focus on the quality of the application.

What are your next steps?

We’ve reached a certain maturity level but we can’t get better without having established a service level management practice. So we have started working on that and formalizing how service level agreements should be made.

One important aspect is setting expectations with your business customers. Many times when you go to implement new applications and releases, the expectation by the business is 100% availability, built to tier 1 standard from a recovery perspective. We have to set the expectation — what is time to restore — setting those expectations and measuring those expectations to make sure they are meeting the business’ needs.

Now we are also working on building the service catalog. It gives people an understanding of what services are offered, how fast they can be delivered, the cost of service.

We want to help the business understand, for instance, what availability is, what is capacity management, so when they ask for an enhancement, release or new system, they can articulate what they need from a requirements perspective. In today’s environment, for instance, everyone wants to build everything for 24 by 7, but that’s not the most efficient way to do it and you can save costs by understanding availability and building to that Same thing from capacity perspective — how much storage capacity do you need today, in six months, in a year. That can help us in building new applications and planning for the next fiscal year how much storage to buy.

Does the organization understand the improvements your service management journey is delivering?

It’s a matter of being able to demonstrate the value that you bring to the organization. An ITIL implementation or service management implementation will take two to five years, depending on how in-depth you go or processes you do. A lot of organizations don’t have the patience for that. You have to continue to demonstrate the value through small wins and publicize those. People will start realizing the value of what you’re doing.

The value stream on incident management, for instance, is to reduce the number of incidents — the same with problem management — and we demonstrated that the re-occurrence of major incidents was reduced significantly, and step ones were reduced significantly also. So the business now is able to complete their tasks, so they can continue to generate revenue for the company.

Now, between change, incident, problem and release management, the systems are more stable than they used to be.

This article appears courtesy of bITa Planet.com .