PDMS have recently changed their internal structure in order to add a new 'Support' team.
As we have grown we now have many more systems under support, so it makes sense to have a dedicated team who can continue to provide the excellent service our clients have come to expect, without the associated interruptions to projects which can threaten deadlines.
Having been appointed Support Manager I felt the need to look into more formal approaches, which might be useful alongside the many years' experience encompassed by the support team. As a lot of our work is for government clients throughout the British Isles I decided to look at the ITIL® Service Management Framework, as it was originally devised by the UK Government for its own internal Service Management processes.
I am naturally sceptical about any documented set of standards and procedures, as past experience suggests that they can be unduly prescriptive and unrealistic in a busy 'real-world' environment. (Although PDMS have already realised many benefits from our adoption of the ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 27001 (Information Security) and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) standards). The fact that the ITIL® Service Management Framework consists of 5 weighty volumes, running to several hundred pages each, did nothing to reassure me.
Not wanting to judge a book (or 5 books!) by its cover I decided to study for the ITIL® Service Management Foundation examination, in order to encourage me to really investigate the content and to provide a concrete benefit in the form of a qualification from the analysis, even if we decided not to adopt any of the Framework recommendations.
Several months down the line, and now the proud holder of the ITIL® Service Management Foundation qualification, I am surprised and pleased to report that the whole process was quite enjoyable and that the framework has a lot to offer any software supplier or internal IT department. Unlike many other such 'frameworks' ITIL® really is non-prescriptive. It provides the user with a set of tools that they can use as and when needed and from which the most useful items can be selected.
The complete framework consists of:
- ITIL® Service Strategy - how to decide and define the overall IT strategy for an organisation and work out what should be in the 'Service Portfolio' - the list of services you provide. This is proving invaluable at PDMS, as we are always looking to provide new and innovative services to our clients and this framework helps us to ensure that we are providing services that provide real business benefits to both our clients and ourselves.
- ITIL® Service Design - once you have decided what you want to offer this guides you through the process of designing the exact services you intend to offer, including technology, people and finance.
- ITIL® Service Transition - moving your services into live operation.
- ITIL® Service Operation - running your services once they are live.
- ITIL® Continual Service Improvement - ensuring that your services continue to improve and that you understand exactly the status and value of every service throughout its lifecycle.
Using our new-found ITIL® knowledge, and the many years of practical experience of supporting diverse clients and systems, we hope that we can deliver new and innovative services to our clients, becoming genuine partners in their business, rather than just their software supplier.
If you would like any more information about PDMS and the services we could provide for your business, including 'Serviceplus', in which PDMS will look after the administration of your business system or website and its users, keeping the content fresh, relevant, interesting and secure, freeing you from day to day administration to concentrate on your business, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.