Years ago, in a discussion around the need for service management, a peer of mine reminded me that most companies were trying to deal with service issues on the fly — like fixing the airplane while it was still in the air. The plane may eventually come in for a soft landing but if the team hasn’t taken the time to discover the root cause of the incidents, the danger persists — and landings may turn into crashes.
Many companies face this situation when focusing on stabilization. And, in today's world, system outages not only cause downtime for customers and staff but have a real impact on the reputation of the organization. Taking the time to put four major service management concepts into place helps strengthen and mature organizations and, even more importantly, reduces the impact when things go wrong. The core to success starts with understanding what is happening in your environments, being able to react promptly, and understanding the root cause to prevent reoccurrence.
Beginning with the basics always sounds simple, but many of the organizations I speak with struggle with that first step — understanding what’s going on. Just as a pilot has a checklist to verify before taking off, an up-to-date configuration management database (CMBD) is the foundation for a successful service management program getting off the ground. Although many service management programs start without this step, it is hard to measure anything without knowing your environment. Understanding the interdependencies of the systems and documenting them so all teams have quick access to the information simplifies troubleshooting and increases the capabilities for the next step.
The second step for success is monitoring. Many organizations have monitoring systems but haven’t tied that monitoring back to the CMDB.