If you remember, while working from home, a tree fell near my house and pulled the wires down. I did not lose service, which means I did not realize there was a problem. And my “watchdog” did not respond to the activity going on in the front yard during the response by the
electric company. The issue was not that I lost productivity, but that I was blind to the situation and potential subsequent problems. The service provider followed the 4-R approach, of which realizing a problem exists is step one. Let me step back a minute and overview the 4-R approach. 4-R attempts to cover the key sequences and concepts associated with delivering end-to-end service support. This approach provides a simple, but comprehensive, set of guidelines on how to improve customer satisfaction with your IT services and, thus, increase the value of IT to the organization.
The only way to respond is to first realize. This first crucial concept consists of the following three tasks:
Define – creation and continuous evolution of “normal state”
Measure – ability to compare “normal state” to reality in a
live or near-live process, in context
Alert – binary output of the measure process into either an
event or non-event
Visually, this looks like:
As the first stage in providing support, Realize becomes the essential launching pad for all other IT service functions. With increasing adoption of consumable IT services, including IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, not to mention mobile cloud architectures, IT still needs to retain ultimate responsibility for the successful delivery to, and consumption by, their end users. While reliance on the partner to meet their Service Level Agreements is part of this new brave world, this does not mean you should turn a blind eye and assume everything will be addressed appropriately. At its core, this is not much different from how IT has traditionally handled telecom service monitoring.
Also, consider that this is not a one-time process, but a live and dynamic methodology that needs to have built into it the ability to change as IT changes. What is normal state today may not cut the mustard in 6 months when a new critical business application or service is put into production, or when the organization adopts new working paradigms.
Moral to this part of the story? Ensure that you will REALIZE when problems arise by defining what constitutes a problem, measuring the delivery and consumption of all IT services, and alerting your staff or partners of the event. More to come…