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Optimizing ITSM And Data Center Implementations, Part II

By Marlin Ness, Dan Stavola and Hugh Lang Many organizations are recognizing the need to improve their IT operation to produce a higher level of customer satisfaction while doing more with less.
Mar 29, 2005

ITSM Watch Staff


By Marlin Ness, Dan Stavola and Hugh Lang

Many organizations are recognizing the need to improve their IT operation to produce a higher level of customer satisfaction while doing more with less. These "service aware" organizations are leveraging the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) to implement service management best practices. Whilst the ITIL framework describes and characterizes a best practice framework (who, what, where, when), it does not specify (how) to deliver or execute.

In last month's article, we provided background information and introduced the ISO 15288 Systems Engineering Life Cycle. We also discussed some of the considerations for implementing ITIL service support and service delivery processes during a data center implementation. These articles provide a systems engineering framework for implementing ITIL service management best practices.

This article discusses the first step of the ISO 15288 Engineering Systems life cycle: Stakeholder Requirements. Stakeholder requirements directly correlate to Business Alignment a critical success factor for ITIL implementations. The goal is to provide considerations for capturing stakeholder service support and service delivery process requirements during a data center implementation. Follow on articles will focus on the remaining sequential steps of the engineering lifecycle and their relationships with ITSM process implementations.

What has become obvious over the last few years is that the investment in the implementation of a new data center can provide significant return on investment and unparalleled opportunities to dramatically cut ITSM implementation times by diligently integrating ITIL service support and service delivery best practice processes during the implementation.

Well-developed, pragmatic, and executable processes and operational procedures directly influence the positive effectiveness and efficiency of IT operations and staff leading directly to outstanding service quality. This is achieved through the ability to capture, analyze and report on meaningful, measurable and business-aligned metrics, gained through stakeholder involvement, which provide positive reinforcement of service excellence organizational values.

It is the intention of these articles to describe how a systems lifecycle standard, in this case ISO 15288, can complement the ITIL framework to practically implement ITSM best practices in the data center.

Systems Lifecycle
Listed in this article is a visual model for a systems lifecycle view that starts with the business strategy and ultimately concludes with end-of-life for systems and products. The diagram shows one view of how ITIL processes and the engineering lifecycle relate to and complement one another.

The Technical Lifecycle
One of the most accepted and respected best practices is "ISO/IEC/BS 15288:2002(E), Systems engineering - System lifecycle processes." This is a best practice process that is applicable to any level in the hierarchy of a system's lifecycle. The most significant benefits resulting from an ITIL service management implementation following the system lifecycle approach during a data center implementation include:

  • The opportunity to simultaneously institutionalize all the service management processes
  • The ability to significantly reduce IT service management implementation times
  • The opportunity to integrate new processes with a new data center implementation (starting from scratch)
  • The opportunity to implement all ITSM processes in a structured, phased approach that can significantly reduce cultural resistance

Stakeholder Requirements
According to ISO 15288, - The purpose of the Stakeholder Requirements Definition Process is to define the requirements for a system that can provide the services needed by users and other stakeholders in a defined environment, throughout the product's lifecycle. As a result, successful Stakeholder Requirements definition will have:

  • Required characteristics and context of use of service
  • Defined constraints on the system solution
  • Traceability
  • Basis for defining system (process) requirements
  • Basis for validating the conformance of the service
  • Basis for negotiating and agreeing to supply a service or product
  • Development of the common set of stakeholder requirements that expresses the intended interaction of the future design with the operational environment
  • Required characteristics and context of use for the new design including interactions between users and systems
  • Constraints and assumptions of the new design
  • Identified risks associated to the new design
  • Validation with stakeholders that their requirements are comprehensible

ITIL Stakeholder Requirements Considerations
During data center stakeholder requirements gathering, the fundamentals of the IT Service Management processes are defined. Having established the overall business case and financial considerations, it is necessary to consider key functional requirements.

All too often, only technical requirements are gathered, rather than proper business and functional requirements. This leads to eventual, if not immediate mis-alignment between business needs and the supporting role the systems support. Total loss of traceability might also be lost over time. Operational service support and service delivery and infrastructure management requirements must be captured. Operations personnel are the ultimate recipients of the data center implementation and must be included for requirements gathering.

Clearly, the ITIL book ICT Infrastructure Management (Information and Communication Technologyshould be leveraged as a best practice guidance on the process of planning, designing, deploying and providing ongoing technical support and management of infrastructure components and services.

The ICT Infrastructure Management book is at the core of Service Support and Service Delivery, and provides very tight process integration. Most organizations have yet to leverage the full set of ITIL books and the enhanced value they provide when implemented as a whole.

Additionally, the ITIL book Planning to Implement Service Management is an overlay to all the other ITIL books and provides additional assistance, when planning the requirements gathering approach and eliciting senior management to provide support for the initiative, and should be leveraged to assist in determining stakeholder requirements at an early stage as it closely matches many of the ISO 15288 processes.


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