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The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) provides a best-practices methodology that you can use to plan and implement common HelpDesk processes, roles, and activities, and define interrelationships and communications strategies. Although ITIL primarily addresses Information Technology functional processes, its methodology can be applied to other support functions.
ITIL can be applied to a number of service areas, however its primary focus is IT Service Management (ITSM). IT Service Management is divided into two areas, Service Support and Service Delivery. Together, these areas encompass 10 disciplines that can help you manage the provisioning and maintenance of IT services.
The service lifecycle begins with an individual incident. The incident might be a problem experienced by an organization's employee, or the incident might be identified as part of a larger problem that is affecting the organization's infrastructure. The Incident record becomes a Problem record, and other related incidents are associated with the problem. If a temporary solution is identified, the workaround is also associated with the problem record. When the root cause of the problem is identified, the problem record becomes a Known Error. A Change Request is associated with the Known Error to document and manage the actions necessary to resolve the Known Error.
Incident Management automates the process of reporting and tracking an incident or groups of incidents. HelpDesk operators can open incident reports to document and flag problems with software, equipment, facilities, network problems, and so on. Managers and technicians can track the status and activities performed to achieve resolution as the categorized Incident moves through the stages of Problem, Known Error, and a Request for Change.
HelpDesk can be configured to automatically create incident reports using the Siebel Automated Service product. For more information, see Siebel eBusiness Third-Party Bookshelf documentation for SupportSoft's Resolution Suite applications.
The HelpDesk agent adds a problem record to the database, and then links the associated incident records to the problem record. If solutions and workarounds exist, they are detailed in the problem record.
The Change Management system can help an organization manage incremental improvements and targeted modifications to a product or process. If a change to the physical environment is required to close a Problem record or Known Error record, then a Change Project is created. Change Project Management broadens the scope of management oversight to encompass large-scale modifications such as upgrades to central servers and network or telecommunication system installations. Each Request for Change associated with the Change Project is assigned a unique identifier, and follows an established process flow consisting of approvals, alerts, tasks (if required), phases, and closure. When the Change Project is successfully implemented, the project is closed and associated Requests for Change and Problem records are also closed.
Establishing an Asset Management system can help the organization monitor the status and disposition of assets such hardware and software. Other Siebel HelpDesk applications can access the asset database information to automate routine data entry tasks. For example, if a HelpDesk agent opens an incident report, Incident Management can retrieve the asset information from the inventory database, and the information is automatically entered in the incident report. The user profile and the responsibilities assigned to the user by the administrator determine the user's access to the database.
The Siebel Automated Service product can be configured to automatically update inventory records with device configuration information entered in the Asset Management system by network agents. For more information on how to configure the Asset Auto-Discovery and Software License Discovery functionality, see the third-party documentation for SupportSoft/ADM on Siebel eBusiness Third-Party Bookshelf. For more information on setting up assets, see Siebel Field Service Guide.
Organizations can manage and schedule the release of software patches and upgrades using the Release Management process. For more information, see Siebel eBusiness Third-Party Bookshelf for SupportSoft Release Management (thirdparty/supportsoft/resolution suite).
Service Level Agreement Management helps the organization increase employee satisfaction with IT services. When an Incident or Request for Change is logged, the employee provides information that is used to verify entitlement to service. Based on this information, an entitlement is associated with the employee. The entitlement specifies a date and time commitment for closing the service request. For more information on setting up Service Level Agreements, see Siebel Field Service Guide.
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