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ITIL :: View topic - Automation Tool For Problem Managment Process
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Automation Tool For Problem Managment Process

 
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khan
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:06 pm    Post subject: Automation Tool For Problem Managment Process Reply with quote

I am new to ITIL, and recently taken the traing for Foundation course. Is there any application/s that we can use to automate PM process?

2nd Question: Which process should be implemented first?
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rjp
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Generally, tools that automate ITIL processes are fairly large and cover more than on process. I don't know of any that are just for Problem Management. Root Cause Analysis is a different matter, and can be well supported by infrastructure monitoring technology like HP OpenView.

As for the second question - Service Level Managment should be the first one inplemented. (That's my opinion - not an official ITIL recommendation).
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itilimp
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Joined: Jan 20, 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies for hijacking this post khan, but rjp - I'm curious as to your rationale behind implementing Service Level Management first.

Is this assuming that there is a Service Desk Function and relatively mature incident management process in place (although it may not be called that in the organisation)?

The reason I ask is because as I understand it, Service Level Management iwould have some metrics in the SLAs and OLAs and there needs to be a way of providing those metrics before committing to them as a service level. If the incident managment process (as a minimum) and service desk function aren't in place how is it then possible to adhere to a SLA/OLA/and contracts?

Having said that, I do think it would have been good if we had put together our service catalogue whilst remodelling our help desk operation as it would have informed our categorisation as well as providing the fundamental information for other areas to pull from.
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rjp
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

itilimp,

the reasons for suggesting Service Level Management should be first cab of the rank are pretty simple:

ITIL is a Service Managment framework. Services, then, are the central concept. ITIL should be about IT working in partnership with the parent organisation to provide capabilities that enable the organisation's activites.

Without this you are just doing better technology management. (Which you need to do, but which does not by itself secure 'business alignment').

A lot of ITIL implementations pick the eyes out of SLM and just do something with the Catalogue of Services and SLAs, (which is a bit like building a house with no kitchen or bedrooms).

(Editorial Note: It is a shame they called it Service Level Management. This gives this impression that it is primarily about the 'numbers' - which most effective Service measurements are not! In ITIL V3 this will be addressed, with the SLM chapter being ditched in favour of three new chapters focusing on initiating, improving and managing services. An indication, I think, that the area of SLM was seriously undercooked.)

The cliche If you can't measure it, you can't manage it is true as far as it goes. But it is also the case that if you can't define it, you can't measure it. Or rather, how you define something will determine what you can and can't measure, and therefore what you can bring under management controls.

Service Level Management is, critically, the discipline that covers the definition, and initiation of Services. It is the process that works with the customer - as a customer.

SLA's aside, SLM is the least technology dependent process. You can go a fair way with it without purchasing expensive toolsets.

Generally SLM will provide the parameters that all the other processes require to function well. All the processes are interdependent, but where the objective is really to become a partner with the business, the other processes require adequate service definitions and plans coming out of SLM; more that SLM requires, say, availability metrics, or incident report summaries.

In short: SLM is where services get defined - and as everything else is about support and delivering services - that is where it is best to start.
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Guerino1
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Joined: Jan 01, 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Khan,

Maybe I'm misinterpreting your question but I don't know of anything that can actually "automate" the Problem Management process, as this process focuses mostly on the registration and management of Problems to closure. Once there is a Known Defect/Root Cause, the work will need to be implemented and managed through the Release and Change Management processes.

If what you're asking for are tools to track and manage Problems, I do know that there are such tools, as our own firm offers one. But again, I don't know that there is anything that can "automate" the process.

As for your second question, I believe it depends on multiple factors, such as the size of your organization, the maturity of it, and it's most immediate needs. For example, if your organization is large, I agree with RJP that implementing Service Management can have a high impact. This is assuming it doesn't exist, already. However, for a smaller firm, where everyone knows each other and the services offered to customers are well known and highly defined, it might be better to go through processes like Change Management, where you can possibly structure tight build, deployment, and installation processes. Or possibly your Incident Management process, since it's so close to the Client/Customer and their satisfaction levels.

My experience is that where companies get in trouble is in trying to implement "one" process at a time, without first designing as many of them as possible and understanding how they will all act, how they will all be linked together and interact, and how they will be implemented, simultaneously, by multiple groups.

Anyhow, I hope this helps rather than confuses.

Regards,
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khan
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must thank all of you for your valuable comments.

Guerino1:

What I mean by automation, is to have a central database where all the inputs and outputs of PM can be stored for future analysis and reporting
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Khan,

Good, then I was on the same page. As an FYI, one of the reasons we built in a formal ITIL compliant Problem Management module into our product was simply because we could find nothing worth using, both on the open market or in the open source community that met the guidelines and requirements of ITIL. With the exception of expensive tools that you will have to spend a significant amount of effort and money on to modify for your needs, you'll find that there are very "loose" equivalents you can find to roll out to your organization. However, these equivalents suffer from the following: 1) They don't exist to meet ITIL specifications and 2) They don't integrate, cleanly, together.

What you'll find for Incident Management are tools that are usually referred to as "Help Desk" solutions or "Ticket Tracking", etc., They will not normally be referred to as "Incident Management" solutions and, therefore, will typically lack the type of features, attributes, and reference data you will need to comply with ITIL.

What you'll find for Problem Management are tools that are usually referred to as "Defect Tracking" solutions or "Issue Tracking" solutions, which typically tie into tools for assisting software developers. They will not normally be referred to as "Problem Management" solutions and, therefore, will typically lack the type of features, attributes, and reference data you will need to comply with ITIL.

Finally, if you role out an answer for each, you will find that you will normally not find a solution that allows you to cleanly link the two together (or to other solutions, like your Change Management tool), to meet ITIL guidelines for transparency. This means you won't be able to search related Incidents from your Problem database or related Problems from your Incident database, etc. The only options, here, are to build your own (very complex, time consuming, and expensive), or try and find a rare but compliant ITIL solution, like ours (not meant to be a sales pitch).

I hope this helps.

Regards,
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itilimp
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that RJP. It certainly makes sense defining the services from the outself. I think I was just having trouble seeing that when we are a situation where we have to effectively retrofit service level management. The task at hand will be convincing them there are benefits to be had from the time invested in it.
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Rache
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Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne

PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there is a tool called Assyst email me if you would like some info about it although I am unfamiliar with it and have never used it I know it goes inline with ITIL principles and I have handouts on it. The Incident management tool I currently use is Peregrine or sometimes refered to as Service Centre they go inline with Incident management but as yet dont manage problems on the same system. The system I use for Problem management is called EDPMS (Expert Domain Problem Managment System) but I think this may have been designed specifically for our company unsure though.
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Rache

What we've accomplished is a tool that represents a fully integrated offering for the following ITIL components (among others):


    - Asset Management (Inventory Only)
    - Change Management
    - Configuration Management Database (CMDB)
    - Incident Management
    - Problem Management
    - Product Management (Addresses portion of the "Application Management" thread in ITIL
    - Release Management
    - Requirements Management (Weakly specified in ITIL)
    - Risk Management
    - Service Management (Service Catalog, Service Requests, etc.)


It took a significant effort but we're finally ready to go to market. There are also many other components that don't have to do with ITIL but they don't have anything to do with this forum.

The premise of our platform is to offer a single, fully integrated, solution that will help our customers ramp up, immediately. They won't have to focus on tool rollout, as we provide that for them. They also won't have to focus on integration of each of the individual tools they implement. This frees them up to simply focus on their own implementation of their ITIL processes.

I don't know where you're located, but we'll be looking for a number of local partners to beta test the product for us. If you're local to the NYC area and interested, please let me know. We can definitely use any and all feedback, at this point.

Regards,
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Rache
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds a fantastic tool but I'm afraid Im based in the UK but also work for the government so the choice of applications we use is never at a level anywhere near me it is all contractual or tenders are offered up. We mainly use EDS I think.
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Ians
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One other tool that you might want to take a look at is PreDix(tm) by Chorus Systems www.chorussystems.com. We have built PreDix with the goal of automating the PM function. PreDix uses an analytics engine to automatically detect, diagnosis and remediate problems in both servers and desktops. The analytics engine allows us to turn unknown problems into known errors with automated remediation scripts. It might be worth a look.

Ian Stewart
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