IT Service Management/Continual Service Improvement

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Continual service improvement ensures that services are aligned with changing business needs by identifying and implementing improvements to IT services that support business processes. The performance of the IT service provider is continually measured and improvements are made to processes, IT services and IT infrastructure in order to increase efficiency, effectiveness and cost effectiveness. Continual service improvement includes the seven-step improvement process.[1]

Objectives and Skills[edit]

Objectives and skills for the Continual Service Improvement portion of ITIL Foundation certification include:[2]

  • Account for the main purpose, objectives and scope of continual service improvement
  • Briefly explain what value continual service improvement provides to the business
  • Explain the continual service improvement approach
  • Understand the role of measurement for continual service improvement and explain the following key elements:
    • Relationship between critical success factors (CSF) and key performance indicators (KPI)
    • Baselines
    • Types of metrics (technology metrics, process metrics, service metrics)
  • State the purpose, objectives and scope for:
    • The seven-step improvement process
  • Define and explain:
    • CSI register
    • The Deming Cycle (plan, do, check, act)

Readings[edit]

  1. Wikipedia: ITIL#Continual service improvement (CSI)
  2. Wikipedia: Knowledge-Centered Support
  3. Wikipedia: Knowledge sharing
  4. Wikipedia: Critical success factor
  5. Wikipedia: Performance indicator
  6. Wikipedia: PDCA (The Deming Cycle).
  7. Archive.org: ITIL.org: Continual Service Improvement
  8. UCISA: ITIL - Introducing Continual Service Improvement

Multimedia[edit]

  1. YouTube: Introduction to ITIL Continual Service Improvement (CSI)
  2. Value to business of Continual Service Improvement
  3. Types of Metrics
  4. CIS Register
  5. The Deming Cycle

Activities[edit]

  1. Describe the main purpose, objectives and scope of continual service improvement and explain what value continual service improvement provides to the business.
  2. Explain the continual service improvement approach and include an example or examples.
  3. Describe the role of measurement for continual service improvement and explain the following key elements with examples:
    • Relationship between critical success factors (CSF) and key performance indicators (KPI)
    • Baselines
    • Types of metrics (technology metrics, process metrics, service metrics)
  4. State the purpose, objectives and scope for the seven-step improvement process and include an example of each step.
  5. Define and explain the Deming Cycle (plan, do, check, act) and include an example of each step in the cycle.
  6. Case Project - Continue the hypothetical organization and service desk design your team documented in the previous lesson. Add the following information to the Continual Service Improvement section.
    • Describe the planned approach for continual service improvement for the new or changed services.
    • Describe the critical success factors and key performance indicators that will be used for improvement.
    • Describe the metrics and baselines that will be used for improvement.
    • Describe the improvement process the team plans to follow.
  7. Use the Discuss page to post comments and questions regarding this lesson.
  8. Review the lesson summary, key terms, review questions and assessments below.

Lesson Summary[edit]

  • Continual service improvement ensures that services are aligned with changing business needs by identifying and implementing improvements to IT services that support business processes. The performance of the IT service provider is continually measured and improvements are made to processes, IT services and IT infrastructure in order to increase efficiency, effectiveness and cost effectiveness. Continual service improvement includes the seven-step improvement process.[3]
  • The continual service improvement approach is based on the business vision, mission, goals, and objectives leading to baseline assessments and measurable targets, followed by service and process improvement, verified by measurements and metrics.[4]
  • A critical success factor (CSF) is something that must happen if an IT service, process, plan, project or other activity is to succeed. A key performance indicator is a metric that is used to help manage an IT service, process, plan, project or other activity. Key performance indicators are used to measure the achievement of each critical success factor.[5]
  • Baselines are snapshots used as a reference point. Many snapshots may be taken and recorded over time but only some will be used as baselines. Baselines types include ITSM, performance, and configuration baselines.[6]
  • A metric is something that is measured and reported to help manage a process, IT service or activity.[7] Metrics may be internal or external, and types of metrics include technology metrics, process metrics, and service metrics.[8]
  • The seven-step improvement process is the process responsible for defining and managing the steps needed to identify, define, gather, process, analyse, present and implement improvements. The performance of the IT service provider is continually measured by this process and improvements are made to processes, IT services and IT infrastructure in order to increase efficiency, effectiveness and cost effectiveness. Opportunities for improvement are recorded and managed in the CSI register.[9]
  • A CSI register is a database or structured document used to record and manage improvement opportunities throughout their lifecycle.[10]
  • The Deming Cycle (plan, do, check, act) is a four- stage cycle for process management which includes: Plan – design or revise processes that support the IT services; Do – implement the plan and manage the processes; Check – measure the processes and IT services, compare with objectives and produce reports; Act – plan and implement changes to improve the processes.[11]

Key Terms[edit]

Key Terms definitions are copyright © AXELOS Limited 2011. All rights reserved. Material is reproduced with the permission of AXELOS.[12]

analytical modelling
A technique that uses mathematical models to predict the behaviour of IT services or other configuration items.
balanced scorecard
A management tool developed by Drs Robert Kaplan and David Norton which enables a strategy to be broken down into key performance indicators.
baseline
A snapshot that is used as a reference point.
benchmark
A baseline that is used to compare related data sets as part of a benchmarking exercise.
benchmarking
The process responsible for comparing a benchmark with related data sets such as a more recent snapshot, industry data or best practice.
business capacity management
In the context of ITSM, business capacity management is the sub- process of capacity management responsible for understanding future business requirements for use in the capacity plan.
business perspective
An understanding of the service provider and IT services from the point of view of the business, and an understanding of the business from the point of view of the service provider.
Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)
A process improvement approach developed by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) of Carnegie Mellon University, which provides organizations with the essential elements of effective processes.
capacity management
The process responsible for ensuring that the capacity of IT services and the IT infrastructure is able to meet agreed capacity- and performance-related requirements in a cost-effective and timely manner.
COBIT
Control OBjectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT) provides guidance and best practice for the management of IT processes.
component capacity management (CCM)
The sub-process of capacity management responsible for understanding the capacity, utilization and performance of configuration items.
continual service improvement (CSI)
The stage in the lifecycle of a service which ensures that services are aligned with changing business needs by identifying and implementing improvements to IT services that support business processes.
CSI register
A database or structured document used to record and manage improvement opportunities throughout their lifecycle.
effectiveness
A measure of whether the objectives of a process, service or activity have been achieved.
efficiency
A measure of whether the right amount of resource has been used to deliver a process, service or activity.
expanded incident lifecycle
Detailed stages in the lifecycle of an incident which include detection, diagnosis, repair, recovery and restoration.
fault tree analysis (FTA)
A technique that can be used to determine a chain of events that has caused an incident, or may cause an incident in the future.
gap analysis
An activity that compares two sets of data and identifies the differences.
Ishikawa diagram
A technique that helps a team to identify all the possible causes of a problem.
ISO/IEC 27001
An international specification for information security management.
ISO/IEC 27002
An international code of practice for information security management.
key performance indicator (KPI)
A metric that is used to help manage an IT service, process, plan, project or other activity.
manual workaround
A workaround that requires manual intervention.
maturity
A measure of the reliability, efficiency and effectiveness of a process, function, organization etc.
metric
Something that is measured and reported to help manage a process, IT service or activity.
operational level agreement (OLA)
An agreement between an IT service provider and another part of the same organization.
Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA)
A four-stage cycle for process management, attributed to Edward Deming.
process metrics
these metrics are captured in the form of Critical Success Factors (CSFs), Key Performance

Indicators (KPIs) and activity metrics for the service management processes. Four key areas that KPIs can measure are quality, performance, value and compliance of following the process. CSI would use these metrics as input in identifying improvement opportunities for each process

quality management system (QMS)
The framework of policy, processes, functions, standards, guidelines and tools that ensures an organization is of a suitable quality to reliably meet business objectives or service levels.
quick win
An improvement activity that is expected to provide a return on investment in a short period of time with relatively small cost and effort.
reliability
A measure of how long an IT service or other configuration item can perform its agreed function without interruption.
return on investment (ROI)
A measurement of the expected benefit of an investment calculated as the net profit of an investment divided by the net worth of the assets invested.
service capacity management (SCM)
The sub-process of capacity management responsible for understanding the performance and capacity of IT services.
service improvement plan (SIP)
A formal plan to implement improvements to a process or IT service.
service level agreement (SLA)
An agreement between an IT service provider and a customer which describes the IT service, documents service level targets, and specifies the responsibilities of the IT service provider and the customer.
service level requirement (SLR)
A customer requirement for an aspect of an IT service. Service level requirements are based on business objectives and used to negotiate agreed service level targets.
service level target
A commitment that is documented in a service level agreement. Service level targets are based on service level requirements, and are needed to ensure that the IT service is able to meet business objectives.
service metrics
metrics that are the results of the end to end service – component/technology metrics are

used to produce the service metrics

service reporting
Activities that produce and deliver reports of achievement and trends against service levels.
serviceability
The ability of a third-party supplier to meet the terms of its contract, including agreed levels of reliability, maintainability and availability for a configuration item.
seven-step improvement process
The process responsible for defining and managing the steps needed to identify, define, gather, process, analyse, present and implement improvements.
simulation modelling
A technique that creates a detailed model to predict the behaviour of an IT service or other configuration item.
SLAM chart
A service level agreement monitoring chart is used to help monitor and report achievements against service level targets.
SMART
An acronym for helping to remember that targets in service level agreements and project plans should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
snapshot
The current state of a configuration item, process or any other set of data recorded at a specific point in time.
SWOT analysis
A technique that reviews and analyses the internal strengths and weaknesses of an organization and the external opportunities and threats that it faces.
technical observation (TO)
A technique used in service improvement, problem investigation and availability management.
technology metrics
these metrics are often associated with component and application based metrics such

as performance and availability

tension metrics
A set of related metrics, in which improvements to one metric have a negative effect on another.
total quality management (TQM)
A methodology for managing continual improvement by using a quality management system.
trend analysis
Analysis of data to identify time-related patterns.
value on investment (VOI)
A measurement of the expected benefit of an investment.

Review Questions[edit]

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  1. Continual service improvement ensures that _____. The performance of the IT service provider is continually measured and improvements are made to processes, IT services and IT infrastructure in order to increase efficiency, effectiveness and cost effectiveness. Continual service improvement includes the seven-step improvement process.
    Continual service improvement ensures that services are aligned with changing business needs by identifying and implementing improvements to IT services that support business processes. The performance of the IT service provider is continually measured and improvements are made to processes, IT services and IT infrastructure in order to increase efficiency, effectiveness and cost effectiveness. Continual service improvement includes the seven-step improvement process.
  2. The continual service improvement approach is based on _____ leading to _____ and _____, followed by _____, verified by _____.
    The continual service improvement approach is based on the business vision, mission, goals, and objectives leading to baseline assessments and measurable targets, followed by service and process improvement, verified by measurements and metrics.
  3. A critical success factor (CSF) is _____. A key performance indicator (KPI) is _____. Key performance indicators are used to measure the achievement of each critical success factor.
    A critical success factor (CSF) is something that must happen if an IT service, process, plan, project or other activity is to succeed. A key performance indicator (KPI) is a metric that is used to help manage an IT service, process, plan, project or other activity. Key performance indicators are used to measure the achievement of each critical success factor.
  4. Baselines are _____. Many snapshots may be taken and recorded over time but only some will be used as baselines. Baselines types include _____.
    Baselines are snapshots used as a reference point. Many snapshots may be taken and recorded over time but only some will be used as baselines. Baselines types include ITSM, performance, and configuration baselines.
  5. A metric is _____. Metrics may be _____ or _____, and types of metrics include _____.
    A metric is something that is measured and reported to help manage a process, IT service or activity. Metrics may be internal or external, and types of metrics include technology metrics, process metrics, and service metrics.
  6. The seven-step improvement process is the process responsible for defining and managing the steps needed to _____, _____, _____, _____, _____, _____ and _____ improvements. The performance of the IT service provider is continually measured by this process and improvements are made to processes, IT services and IT infrastructure in order to increase efficiency, effectiveness and cost effectiveness. Opportunities for improvement are recorded and managed in the CSI register.
    The seven-step improvement process is the process responsible for defining and managing the steps needed to identify, define, gather, process, analyse, present and implement improvements. The performance of the IT service provider is continually measured by this process and improvements are made to processes, IT services and IT infrastructure in order to increase efficiency, effectiveness and cost effectiveness. Opportunities for improvement are recorded and managed in the CSI register.
  7. A CSI register is _____.
    A CSI register is a database or structured document used to record and manage improvement opportunities throughout their lifecycle.
  8. The Deming Cycle (_____,_____,_____,_____) is a four- stage cycle for process management which includes: _____; _____; _____; _____.
    The Deming Cycle (plan, do, check, act) is a four- stage cycle for process management which includes: Plan – design or revise processes that support the IT services; Do – implement the plan and manage the processes; Check – measure the processes and IT services, compare with objectives and produce reports; Act – plan and implement changes to improve the processes.

Assessments[edit]

See Also[edit]

References[edit]

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ITIL Translated Glossaries content is copyright © AXELOS Limited 2011. All rights reserved. Material is reproduced with the permission of AXELOS.

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