Joined: Jan 03, 2007 Posts: 189 Location: Redmond, WA
Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 10:47 am Post subject: Re: Support Levels in Incident Management
I'm wondering if anyone can help me with ITIL or industry standard definitions of Tier 1, 2 and 3 (or first-line, second-line, and third-line) support roles in Incident Management.
Currently we have our own internal definitions, however we are looking to outsource some of the support, and want to move to industry standard terminology in defining these roles.
If it helps, we currently have the following escalation path where the Incident is discovered via an external customer:
Within Customer Care:
1) Call Centre (Ticket logged)
2) Tier 1 Support (First Call Resolution)
3) Tier 2 Support (some back-end access)
Then to Technology:
4) Resolver Group 1 (Full access for diagnosis and resolution; config)
5) Resolver Group 2 (Often 3rd party vendor; complex config)
Each escalation routes to a more specialised group based on the incident categorisation.
Thanks a lot!
ITIL doesn't differentiate based upon the skill level or ability to resolve issues for 1st Level, 2nd Level, 3rd Level. ITIL defines the 1st Level as the Service Desk. Whether the Service Desk is empowered to resolve any issues on the first call is not relevant. The Service Desk is the point of contact for the Customer. They are the 1st Level.
If your organization enables the 1st Level to resolve on first call, great (what ITIL defines as a "Skilled Service Desk"). If your organization has a Service Desk that simply logs the issue and transfers it without attempting to resolve it, that's also fine (ITIL calls this an "Unskilled Service Desk"). Either way, the first point of contact is always the 1st Level.
If the Service Desk is unable to resolve the issue, then it is transferred to the 2nd Level. It doesn't matter if that 2nd Level is more technically capable or simply has greater authority. There may be multiple 2nd Level support groups, each with their own area of specialty. ITIL doesn't really define what the 3rd Level support would be, but most organizations I have interacted with define the 3rd Level as external support groups.
The way I usually explain is it this way:
A call comes into the Service Desk (1st Level). They are unable to resolve the issue so they transfer it to a 2nd Level support group. Let's say that this is the internal server team. The server team investigates the issue, and they determine that it is not an issue in their domain so they transfer it to the telecom group. This is still an internal support group, so it would be another 2nd Level functional support group. The telecom group determines that it is a vendor issue, so they transfer it to the vendor's telecom support group. Because the vendor is an external agency, they are defined as a 3rd Level support group.
But remember that ITIL is a set of guidelines. Not rules that are defined in stone.
If your organization defines 2nd, 3rd, 4th, Nth level groups differently, then you aren't breaking any ITIL definitions.
The only definition that ITIL has is that the Service Desk is the 1st Level group.
Joined: Jan 01, 2006 Posts: 500 Location: New Jersey
Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:45 am Post subject:
The terminology that most enterprises we deal with are as follows.
Most enterprises use "Tier" to represent the importance of a Product or Service. Tier 1 represents the most critical business Products and Services, usually those that most be restored first, during disaster recovery. Tier 4 are the least important Products & Services. Those that the business could live without if a disaster occured
Most enterprises use "Level" to represent Incident escalation levels.
Level 1: The Service Desk and the Network Operating Center
Level 2: The Service Delivery teams (Support teams who have access to the Production environment)
Level 3: Internal Product Owner teams (typically development and/or engineering teams)
Level 4: Vendor (In the case of things that are built internally, there is no vendor, since the development/engineering teams that build them are the vendors)
The truth is there is no right or wrong way to do this. However, we find that above to be the most common way.
I hope this helps.
Frank _________________ [Edited by Admin to remove link]
ITIL defines differences between a call center, a help desk and a service desk. It recommends the implementation of a service desk as opposed to the other forms such as call centers, and recommends that service desk analysts have strong interpersonal skills.
ITIL does not specify whether your service desk contains only level 1 support analysts. It could, and probably should, include at least more technically skilled individuals in a second level role, even if that means rotating specialists out of the operational roles and into support to keep them in touch with users and the reality of the business.
The reality is that ITIL does not prescribe specific scopes for support levels because those should be defined in your SLA's and will vary by IT groups, Customers and Services. For instance, you may keep level 1 and 2 support for your desktop environment within certain groups, and outsource the level 2 support for networking.
You need to evaluate, based on business needs, if you can meet response times required by the business, whether you have internally the right skills and whether it is economical.
There really is no one-size-fits-all answer to this. But I hope this gives you an idea of some of the tracks you should investigate... _________________ BR,
Technology Consulting | Service Excellence
Red Badge Certified
The different tiers are typically also related to activities that need to be executed. Like one of the replies stated, there is more than one good answer. How we typically approach it is: Tier 1 - first point of contact (Service Desk / NOC), they know 'a little about a lot' and search knowledge databases for existing work-arounds and quick fixes; Tier 2 - when Tier 1 can't quickly find a work-around or quick fix they are being engaged in the incident process (typically the different ops teams), they know 'a little bit more about a little bit less (more focussed); Tier 3 - when Tier 2 can't find a work-around or quick fix then these people are engaged (the 'experts'), these are the people that know 'a lot about a little' and are usually the developers/architects and/or vendors.
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