Monitor the heartbeat of your critical business services.
Many organizations monitor the health of business services using infrastructure management tools. Infrastructure management tools monitor and report problems with the underlying hardware, software, and networks that support the services the business needs. In addition to management tools, most organizations have implemented service desk software to manage the logging and resolution of issues with the underlying infrastructure. Often the infrastructure management and service desk/technical support groups operate as isolated departments. Typically, the systems used by these departments are not tightly coupled because integration requires a lot of effort and cost. We believe it is critical that these groups and systems are fully integrated in order for the organization to benefit from a unified, end-to-end approach to service management.
Providing end-to-end service management means you need to be in control of all factors that can affect your service. What many organizations tend to overlook are the alerts raised by infrastructure management tools. These alerts can throw your service management plan into chaos.
Define infrastructure alerts
Notifications directly affect your service level. It is important to measure IT’s performance in addressing these alerts and the impact on the services provided to the organization. Many types of alerts are entered into Incident Management. Because most organizations fail to properly identify alerts, they run the risk of not being able to understand which incidents were created by management tools and which incidents were created by IT staff or end users. Identifying the source of the incident helps organize the services provided by IT and ensures normal day-to-day work is not disrupted.
The following are examples of the types of alerts from most management systems:
1. Warnings that require immediate attention.
2. Wake-up alarms
3. Awareness Warnings
1. Warnings that require immediate attention
These alerts are most important to your organization. For example, this could be a message stating that your server is down, possibly because (say) a fan isn’t working. If the server is running your company’s critical applications, all appropriate resources must fix the problem immediately after it is identified.
2. Wake-up alarms
Messages from your system warning you that you need to do something that is less important but needs to be done.
3. Awareness Warnings
Messages just letting you know how the systems are doing, what the status is, etc.
Typically, these alerts are managed by different priorities and different SLAs that have different impacts on your company’s service. And managing your company’s service must be supported by your service desk software solution.
Service desk software configuration and integration with monitoring tools
The organization must ensure that when an alert is generated by the management tool, a ticket is immediately logged in the service desk software solution. The service desk software must be configured to recognize the type of message and automatically assign the ticket to the appropriate group or individual. Service thresholds and service rules can be defined to manage the resolution of the ticket throughout its lifecycle.
Running reports and setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the alerts and time to resolution will help you improve your service immediately and stay in control of all aspects affecting your service by creating a use the only front-end solution that’s already in place: your service desk
To provide end-to-end service management, you must integrate your service desk software with infrastructure management tools. One popular application is Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM). SCOM is configured to monitor the infrastructure for specific alerts. When a configured alarm occurs, the “event” is forwarded to a central SCOM server where a database with a history of alarms is stored.
Easy integration with popular software products was often a contentious issue, but it has now been resolved.