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Technical Services

IT Service Management

 

Service Strategy

VA Associates brings together People, Process and Technology in alignment with clients' business needs and goals to assist in the design of their Service Management Strategy, with Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) practices at the core of continual process improvement.

ITIL’s Service Strategy framework aims to provide a clear insight into the relationships between the various processes, systems, services, business models. It asks the user to consider:

  • how and to whom services are to be offered

  • how internal and external market forces should be developed

  • how existing and potential competitors in those marketplaces will differ in offerings

  • how IT will create a value to the business

  • how to define and measure quality of service

  • how to choose the differing paths for improving service quality

Our IT Service Management Practice is focused on results and making use of the best practices available such as the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL v3).


ITIL is the world-wide de facto standard in IT Service Management and draws from both public and private sectors for content – in fact being a collection of best practices and supports other standards such as ISO20000.


ITIL Version 3 is the latest release and consists of Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement.

  • how to allocate and reallocate service resources

  • And finally how to handle conflicting demands placed against the available resources.

Service Design

VA Associates brings together People, Process and Technology in alignment with clients' business needs and goals to assist in the design of their Service Management Strategy, with Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) practices at the core of continual process improvement.

Let our Consultants focus on helping you reduce the total cost of ownership while producing service consistency, improvement, and quality.

Service Design Phase of the ITIL lifecycle address the design of IT Services. It sets about creating Service Catalog for each and every IT service (whether new, modified, or even retired).

The Service Catalog defines how companies can implement and operate the service. It also demonstrates the value provided to the company by the service. The Service Catalog may be viewed as a conduit between the “Plan” aspects contained within Service Design and the “Do” aspects of Service Transition. Service Design includes:

  • Service Catalog Management

  • Service Level Management

  • Risk Management

  • Capacity Management

  • Availability Management

  • IT Service Continuity Management

  • Information Security Management

  • Compliance Management

  • IT Architecture Management (such as SOA)

  • And Supplier Management.



VA Associates can assist our clients to find cost-effective ways to provide quality services to the business in a standard and consistent manner.

Service Transition

VA Associates brings together People, Process and Technology in alignment with clients' business needs and goals to assist in the design of their Service Management Strategy, with Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) practices at the core of continual process improvement.

Service Transition provides guidelines for the development and improvement of new or existing services. It also provides a set of best practices in the following areas: transition planning and support, change management, service asset and configuration management, release and deployment management, service validation and testing, change evaluation, and knowledge management.
 

  • Change Management

  • Service Asset and Configuration Management

  • Knowledge Management

  • Service Operation

Change Management: The name describes the purpose, to ensure that any changes made to infrastructure are recorded and prioritized in a formal and structured manner. Key activities include: Recording the request for change, Evaluate the request for change, Prioritize the request, Authorize the change after review by a Change Advisory Board (CAB), Plan the change, Test the change, Implement the change.

ITIL V3 introduced the ability to categorize changes into emergency, standard, and normal.

 

As its name suggests, an emergency change takes an accelerated path with a review by an emergency CAB rather than the normally-scheduled CAB. A standard change is one that is considered safe and therefore pre-authorized. Normal changes are subjected to a scheduled CAB review and approval process. ITIL also includes a back-out plan in case the change fails. In our view, Change Management is one of if not the most important aspect of all the ITIL processes and we recommend the use of a tool such as ServiceNow to automate as much of the process as possible.


Service Asset and Configuration Management: The Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is central to Service Asset and Configuration Management and is made of Configuration Items (CI), which may be routers, switches, servers, etc.ITIL’s Service Asset and Configuration Management offers a logical model of an organization’s infrastructure by identifying, controlling, maintaining, and verifying versions of all the organization’s CIs to support other Service Management processes.Knowledge Management: The purpose of Knowledge Management is to ensure that the right person possesses the right knowledge at the right time to deliver and support the services that are required by the business. With Knowledge Management, a company has more efficient services with improved quality, clear and common understanding of the value provided by services, and relevant information that is always available.


Service Operation: Service Operation delivers agreed-to service levels to everyone involved in service delivery. Service Operation is concerned with providing a stable day-to-day operational environment covering changes in demand, design, scope, or service levels. These agreed-to service levels are documented in the form of Service Level Agreements (SLA).

The Service Desk

VA Associates brings together People, Process and Technology in alignment with clients' business needs and goals to assist in the design of their Service Management Strategy, with Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) practices at the core of continual process improvement.

The Service Desk is a single point of contact for end-users who need help. Without this single point of contact an Agency or business would face major losses in time spent on looking for ways to fix issues and get help to those in need.


The Service Desk performs the first line support for the IT Services and performs the following activities:Receive all calls and e-mails on incidents, Incident recording, Incident Classification, Incident Prioritization, Incident Escalation, Search for Work Around, Update the customer and IT group on progress, Perform daily CMDB verification, Report to Management, Process Managers and customers (through SLM) on Service Desk performance.


ITIL segregates the functions of the Support Desk into a number of distinct areas: Incident Management, Request Fulfillment Process, Problem Management, and Release Management.

Request Fulfillment: Request Fulfillment enables users to request, receive, source, and deliver standard services. It also provides information to both users and customers about services and procedures for obtaining them.


Requests may include anything from password resets to help with printer access. Whether large or small, all requests should be logged and tracked for later reporting.
 

Release Management: Release and Deployment Management manages and implements the deployment of changes into the IT environment in a controlled manner. Its primary focus is protecting the production environment and its services by using formal procedures and checks.

The Release Management, Change Management, and Service Asset and Configuration Management processes work together to ensure all processes are in sync and fully knowledgeable of scheduled changes.

Incident Management: ITIL defines an incident as “an event which is not part of the standard operation of a service, which causes or may cause an interruption to, or a reduction in, the quality of the service.” Incident Management’s goal is to get the users back up and running as quickly as possible with minimal disruption. Event management detection or user complaints to the Service Desk are usually the first indication of an incident.

ITIL categorizes incidents based on urgency and impact. SLAs often have guidelines for the speed of this categorization.   Incident Management will either resolve the incident or escalate it to the next functional level, where specialist resources, such as application specialists or network engineers, resolve the incident.

Problem Management: As defined by ITIL, a problem is the cause of one or more incidents with an unknown cause. Whereas Incident Management’s focus is to resolve the incident as quickly as possible, Problem Management’s focus is to understand the underlying root cause and prevent or reduce the impact of another incident or problem. Problem Management will maintain information about known problems and associated workarounds (referred to as Known Errors) in the Known Error Database. Problem Management categorizes problems in much the same way as Incident Management. A problem may require a change, and, therefore, Problem Management interfaces with Change Management.

Service Operation

VA Associates brings together People, Process and Technology in alignment with clients' business needs and goals to assist in the design of their Service Management Strategy, with Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) practices at the core of continual process improvement.

Service Level Management:

Service Level Management ensures that all operational services and their performance are measured in a consistent way throughout the IT organization and that the services meet the needs of the business and customers. To accomplish this goal, it negotiates, maintains agreement, and documents IT service targets as well as monitors and produces reports on delivery against the Service Level Agreements.

Capacity Management:

The aim of Capacity Management is to provide the correct capacity in terms of both storage and data processing. It involves a number of concepts: Performance Management, Modeling, Application Sizing, and Capacity Planning.

Availability Management:

The goal of Availability Management is to provide cost-effective and defined levels of service that enable the business to reach its objectives. Availability Management ensures that availability relating to services, components, and resources is measured and adhered to according to previously-established SLAs.

Continual Service Improvement

Continual Service Improvement forms the fifth and final ITIL publication. It provides guidance on creating and maintaining IT service value for customers. It assesses and maintains IT services by a process of quality improvement. One popular method of continuous Service Improvement is the use of the Deming Wheel.

Plan: 
Determine where your problems (and your opportunities) lie. Start small in one area/ You will have plenty of low hanging fruit but resist using a shotgun approach. Be aware that multiple concurrent projects can distort your statistical analysis and contribute to invalid conclusions. Once you have identified a project, establish a small focused group, use cause and effect diagrams, flowcharting and other established methods to define the obstacles and plan the changes. Base line the current state performance while planning.

Check: 
Verify improvement and check for introduced problems. Introduced problems resulting from the changes could be in the same area or even a different department.

Do: 
This is the implementation phase. Often it is best to implement the change in one area as a test, when the solution is verified then apply it across a wider area. Often conflicts will surface at this stage; resolve them before proceeding.

Act: 
Once verified, fully implement the changes and continually verify the results until certain the results are repeatable and sustainable. Standardize the new process changes.

Remote Testing Services

So the development on your web application has been done but you cannot release to production because testing is not done.

Not glamorous enough for developers, too burdensome for functional users? Well, enter VA Associates. We provide dedicated,
independent, remote, on-demand testing services. “Well how does this help me?”, you ask.

VA Associates will:

  • Provide a set of test resources dedicated to functional testing

  • Work with your functional team to trace the requirements through functional testing

  • Store your test cases in our repository

  • Execute manual testing to establish the baseline

  • Record the test sequences for automated testing

  • Replay and execute the test on demand and schedule

  • Log the test outcomes with visual representation

  • Store and forward the logs

  • Notify you at the begin, end and exceptions for each test

Well what about security?

All our resources go through a background check and we can submit their details for
your internal check.

How does it work?
Download our Remote Testing Services Document to find out.

Vendor Agnostic Services

Open Source Software Strategy

The Open Source Software movement is not only here to stay, but is getting stronger. But not all open source software is created equal. How do you navigate the maze?

VA Associates knows that most organizations face some if not all of the following questions:

  • How to select from competing open source software within the same functional area?

  • What about support?

  • Is it really open standards based?

  • What if I want to migrate to another open source offering or a Vendor's product?

  • Do the tools and technologies I selected, talk to each other?

  • Will I find resource with expertise in the tool/technology?

  • Can I find training for my existing resources?

  • Is it really cost effective? Where are the hidden costs?

 

VA Associates can bring its experience in adopting an Open Source Software Strategy while mitigating risks.

Open Source Software Development

So you have decided to go open source. Now how do you develop software in this framework and remain relevant in terms of productivity and deadlines?

VA Associates can address the issue of many moving parts, from many vendors/groups that can cause an impedance mismatch in the development process.

A thorough understanding of the tools and technologies, their interaction and reducing the need for manual coding is a strategy that

VA Associates adopts.

VA Associates aligns the methodology with the software development lifecycle to introduce a measure and metric into development efforts.