GSX Blog

ITIL for your Messaging and Collaboration environment (Part 3b: Service Design)

Posted by Carl Drechsel on Wed, Feb 08, 2012


Last week I posted about the first four processes associated with Service design, in this post I will cover the final four processes before moving on to Service Transition.

Availability Management

The main objective of Availability Management is to ensure the ability to sustain IT Services. Availability is calculated by measuring the following components:

  • Serviceability
  • Reliability
  • Recoverability
  • Maintainability
  • Resilience
  • Security

These are then used to analyze, plan and better each aspect of the availability of an IT service. Availability Management works closely in the following areas: SLA Management, Incident Management and Capacity Management. Availability Management is used as a factor when determining which infrastructure components are “available” for new services.

So how does this impact your Messaging and Collaboration environment?

Depending on your role within the Messaging and Collaboration team your experience with Availability Management will vary. The Service Desk will work closely with the Availability Manager to provide metrics and feedback on user experience, remember availability is not only whether or not the Service is up and running, but is it “available” as defined in the SLA.  For example The SLA may state 99.999% availability, however if it takes a user 20 minutes to receive a 1Mb e-mail is it truly “available”. These finer points need to be considered when determining true availability according to the SLA.

Operations Engineers will work to constantly maintain and fine tune the underlying infrastructure of a given service. This will be based on a combination of actual monitoring metrics as well as user performance feedback. From availability perspective operations ensure that for a given service it is available within the defined Service Level Agreement. For example web performance, how long does OWA take to load? Well the SLA states that latency should be less than 100Ms, for 10,000 Users. Well what happen if we’ve grown to 15,000 users and haven’t expanded our environment?   Availability may take an impact, requiring either a renegotiation of the SLA, increased capacity, or a different architecture.

This takes us to system architecture. Messaging system architecture requires input from each aspect previously discussed. How did the users experience the service built to a certain capacity? How long before operations was unable to keep up with demand? As with each aspect of ITIL, architecture is a constant activity, Messaging and Collaboration environments are rarely if ever static. They are constantly growing and evolving to meet ever greater demands of your customers.

IT Service Continuity Management

The goal of IT Service Continuity Management is to manage any risk that can jeopardize the availability and performance of an IT Service. Traditionally this is attained through the implementation of a disaster recovery program which is designed to adhere to the minimum level of service agreed to in the SLA. It is important to mention that this process is proactive, mitigating risk before intervention is needed. Coincidentally this process is governed by the IT Service Continuity Manager.

So how does this impact your Messaging and Collaboration environment?

E-mail, Mobile, and Collaborative technologies have become increasingly mission critical. As such M&C team members are often no strangers to service continuity and disaster planning. From a DR perspective there are many options to ensure service continuity, IT Service Continuity Management is less concerned with how continuity is ensured (technically speaking) but with how IT service continuity aligns with business continuity and meeting previously agreed upon criteria. There are a number of levels of continuity options (DR strategies) that are available, again it comes down to being able to balance technical feasibility with customer expectations and available resources, be it personnel or finances.

Information Security Management

Three things:

•     Confidentiality - Information is accessible only to those authorized.

•     Integrity- Safeguarding the accuracy and completeness of information

•     Availability– Authorized users have access to information when required.

So how does this impact your Messaging and Collaboration environment?

Not to simplify too much but pretty straightforward, E-mail, can an administrative assistant access the CEO’s information? Is it possible to inject a message into the environment claiming to be sent from the CEO? Can users access their SharePoint pages as they need them? Working with the Information Security Manager and IT Security Management will help prevent the occurrence of information security related incidents ensuring the integrity of your Messaging and Collaboration systems. From an ITIL perspective the “design” of your systems and architecture will require close attention to any potential security related areas of concern.

Supplier Management

Supplier Management is a process of ensuring consistency and quality supplied by third party or internal suppliers for a particular service.

  • Some of the key activities include:
  • Identifying business requirements
  • Evaluating and selecting new suppliers
  • Manage the performance of suppliers and contracts
  • Reviewing Supplier performance and handling contract renewal or termination

So how does this impact your Messaging and Collaboration environment?

From a M&C perspective you will likely provide some of the initial information to the Supplier Manager as you will likely have some previous experience with or knowledge of different messaging and collaboration vendors. The supplier manager will take what initial information you provide and then perform a more in depth analysis of a vendor to determine whether or not they will align with the commitments of a newly introduced or evolving service. Once a supplier is part of a provided service your continuous input will be of value in the ongoing evaluation of the supplier. Again depending on your role you will have different levels of interaction in this area. Typically technical analysts will work alongside the Supplier manager to evaluate vendor options.

Please come back next week for Part 4a: Service Transition, which will cover the first three processes.

If you missed my previous posts you can find them here.

As with the rest of the articles in this series this is just an introduction, ITIL is vast, and in order to full advantage of the framework I would recommend additional research.  If you have any specific questions or would like to continue the conversation further please reach out in the comment section, I'd be happy to respond to any questions.

Also, please take a moment to learn a little more about our company.

Tags: Collaboration, ITIL, sla, Service Delivery, Lotus Domino Monitoring, Messaging, Service Design, Reporting, lotus domino, Framework