ITIL and NetHelpDesk

The ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) was originally created by the CCTA, a part of the British Civil Service. It is a series of books and guidelines that contain procedures and frameworks for managing reliable IT services.

1. Overview

NetHelpDesk deals with the following core topics in the ITIL as shown below:

Incident Management

"Incident management aims to restore normal service operation as quickly as possible and minimise the adverse effect on business operations, thus ensuring that the best possible levels of service quality and availability are maintained."

Multiple Incident Ticket Types, with rule-defined assignment to Agents, tracking of all actions, clearance and return to service. Easily linked to lead Problem tickets, with overview of incidents and their status.

Problem Management

"Problem management aims to resolve the root causes of incidents and thus to minimise the adverse impact of incidents and problems on business that are caused by errors within the IT infrastructure, and to prevent recurrence of incidents related to these errors."

Multiple Problem Ticket Types, multiple incidents can be linked to a single problem ticket as root causes. Update multiple incidents from the main problem ticket, reference and update knowledge base of known problems and solutions is maintained.

Change Management

"Change management aims to ensure that standardised methods and procedures are used for efficient handling of all changes. A change is an event that results in a new status of configuration items, is cost-effective, and enhances business process, with minimum risk to infrastructure."

Tickets for Change (RFC) can be ticketed, tracked, approved, progressed and reported on in a forward schedule of changes report. Account for justification, impact, risk, back-out, communication, and testing plans, with definable field and release control data, for thorough reporting.

Project Management

"Project management is the process of planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals in daily problems. A project is a designed to produce a unique product, service or result with defined beginning and end"

Nominate parent ticket types, organised separately, create parent Project tickets from templates, with automated child tickets, assigned to different team members, update and close all child from parent, associated time and money budgets, display actual money and time spent.

Supplier Management

"Supplier Management obtains value for money from suppliers and contracts. It ensures that underpinning agreements align with business needs, and Service Level Requirements. Allows overview process of identification, evaluation and management of suppliers."

Store all Suppliers, underpinning contracts and service level agreements, priorities, descriptions and timings for response and resolution, contact details and notes history, with Supplier portals, Email templates, Accounts ID for Purchase Orders, contract reference, descriptions and effective dates.

Financial Management

"Financial Management comprises the discipline of ensuring that the IT infrastructure is obtained at the most effective price (which does not necessarily mean cheapest) and calculating the cost of providing IT services so that an organisation can understand the costs of its IT services."

Items advanced costing analysis with AVCO, FIFO stock control, labour time, service costs, billing, charge rate, contract, combination billing, recurring items, and much more with NetHelpDesk's built-in extensive Billing module, that integrates with QuickBooks, Sage and KashFlow too.

Service Desk Management

"Service Desk is primarily associated with the Service Operation lifecycle stage. Tasks include handling and life-cycle management of incidents and tickets, and providing an interface for other ITSM processes, whether local, central or virtual."

NetHelpDesk provides a single, centralised data store for IT infrastructure and end user information and processes tickets from end users made by telephone, Email or web interface. It can be used by Service Desks on site with your customers, or centrally in a contact centre.

Service Asset and Configuration Management

"Primarily focused on maintaining information and relationships about assets required to deliver a service. The management and traceability of every aspect of a configuration, from beginning to end, identification, planning, change control and management, release and maintenance.

Assets of any kind can be stored in customisable groups and types, with endless custom details fields to capture and store data manually and automatically, with full reporting capabilities, plugins from any type of remote monitoring or control software you may use.

Release and Deployment Management

"Release management focuses on the protection of the live environment and its services through the use of formal procedures and checks. Proper control ensures the availability of licensed, tested, and version-certified software and hardware, which functions as intended."

Control releases of software, recording release description, and notes, projected release date, independent release statuses and releaser, attached tickets affected by the content of the release, and communicating changes in effect within release to end-users via their incidents.

Service Catalogue

"Maintains and produces a Service Catalogue, and ensures that it contains accurate details, dependencies and interfaces of all services made available to customers."

A Service catalogue can be maintained, and the operational status of each service can be either automatically or manually updated and downtime reported upon. Errors can create an incident, or existing incidents linked to outstanding tickets, and assigned by Categories.

Service Level Management

"Provides continual identification, monitoring and review of the levels of IT services specified in the Service-level agreements (SLAs). Ensures arrangements are in place with internal IT support-providers and external suppliers in the form of agreements and contracts respectively."

Service Level agreements can be set up and conformance examined and reviewed. Setup one general for everyone, or Customer or Supplier specific ones, customised, monitored and reported on from the one interface.

Event Management

"The process that monitors all events that occur through the IT infrastructure. It allows for normal operation and also detects and escalates exception conditions, creating incidents, tracking activity to resolution, and legacy data for overview analysis."

Any program that produces Email notifications based on an event can be integrated into NetHelpDesk, and overview of status checked. Specify exception conditions to create tickets based on the activity, and report on full history of events however you require.

Availability Management

"Targets allowing organisations to sustain the IT service-availability to support the business at a justifiable cost. The high-level activities realise availability requirements, compile availability plan, monitor availability, and monitor maintenance obligations."

Oversee the reliability, maintainability, serviceability, resilience and security of IT components from multiple angles in NetHelpDesk, whether Asset, Service, Supplier Service or Event management driven, to analyse component's ability to perform at agreed level over a period of time.

An organisation that uses ITIL has staff that are aware of ITIL concepts and that use procedures based on the ITIL framework. It is the staff that carry out their roles in an ITIL compliant way. The staff are the assisted in working in an ITIL compliant way by NetHelpDesk which allows you to record and process information in an ITIL consistent structure.

2. Using NetHelpDesk Ticket Types

In NetHelpDesk there is the core concept of a ticket. This is used as the basis for recording and tracking incidents, problems and change tickets.

A ticket is usually associated with a single user at a site or an unspecified user known as the 'General User' at each site. There are several types of ticket:

Tickets from end users can be reports of faults with an existing service. These are incidents which are given a seriousness level and other categorisation as required. An SLA fix by date is calculated and tracked. Actions taken by the Agent assigned to the ticket are tracked. The final clearance is recorded and can be used to create a knowledge base entry.

Incidents may have a root cause and so can be linked to a problem ticket. Related incidents can be found and cleared in one action when the root cause or problem ticket is cleared. The final clearance is recorded and can be used to create a knowledge base entry

End users can also submit RFC, tickets for change, and these can be tracked, evaluated by a change manager or change advisory board, and approved or rejected. Approved changes can be scheduled and a list of pending changes can be seen by anyone that needs to.

Any changes to the infrastructure can be recorded in the change log.

3. Other Ticket Types

The following additional ticket types extend the ITIL framework to fit better within a commercial environment. They are optional. Other ticket types can be defined if necessary to match your procedures.

Installation tickets - these are explicit tickets describing the installation of new hardware or software. The to-do list/check lists tab of the ticket screen can assist in making sure that all of the steps are known to the Agent whose job it is to do the installation. Pre-defined checklists improve the quality of repeated installations.

Quotes tickets - these are tickets to track the process of providing a quote to an end user. It is unnatural to call these 'incidents' or 'problems', so a new ticket type has been defined for them.

Advice / Other Tickets - These type of tickets can be used when the above types do not seem appropriate.

4. BS15000 and ISO 20000 standards

BS15000 is a 'Code of Practice', which describes "the best practices of service management processes". Further, it "represents an industry consensus on quality standards for IT service management processes".

Your organisation can be externally audited to demonstrate BS15000 compliance. You would document your procedures and show that they are being followed. The way in which you use NetHelpDesk would form part of the documentation, e.g. your incident logging procedure, or your change management process. The data within NetHelpDesk would enable you to demonstrate that the procedures are being followed reliably.

BS15000 has now been published as an ISO standard: ISO 20000.

Should you need any assistance with this, or any other feature in NetHelpDesk, simply contact us. We want you to get the most from the product, and our teams are always happy to help.

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