Systems maintenance and administration

In the old days implementing an IT system requires large investments of time and money. Building the solution started very often from the scratch and the solution required its own servers, administrators and maintenance processes.

The Cloud changed all this. Nowadays the System itself can be acquired ready-made and taken into use almost immediately. Building a solution on top of the System is a straight-forward process which saves a lot of time and effort from all parties.

The Cloud also changed how the Solutions are administered. Instead of acquiring own IT staff the client organization usually contracts Solution builder to maintain the system. This brings several advantages:

  • The organization does not need to invest in their own IT staff
  • Service hours are much more flexible than in in-house solution
  • You pay only for what you use
  • You don’t have to worry about sick leaves, vacations, unintended absences etc.
  • The costs are predictable

Terra Colligo provides systems maintenance and administration services for all solutions we provide. When contracting with us, you can use familiar language and interact with real people instead of trying to figure out what computer configuration you should change to get the intended effect.

Our Service organization is based on same principles as our projects. We are transparent, fair and client-oriented. We exist for the client to have control on their service. Thus, for each service we nominate a single point of contact, Service Manager. He or she is primarily responsible for satisfying the client requirements and act on possible issues.

For executive level control, we also have a Steering group for each service. The Steering group conveys in agreed intervals (usually once per quarter) to review how the service is doing, should there be changes for the scope etc.

Our internal processes are based on ITIL. For those who are interested, here is a run-down of the components:

Service Level Management

Service Level Management negotiates, agrees on, and documents service targets in line with business expectations. It monitors and reports performance against the agreed upon targets to ensure that the targets are being measured in a consistent manner and identifies and reports improvements required to achieve service level obligations

Service Level Management includes:

  • Service Level Management (monitoring, reporting and maintaining SLA’s)
  • Service reporting (meetings, reports)
  • Monitoring of service actions

The IT Operations consists of operational support and daily check activities for keeping the applications up and running. IT Operations performs standard periodic task list checks, daily, weekly, monthly or as agreed.

Service Reporting and Meetings

Service Level Management documents and reports operational performance targets in line with business expectations. It monitors and reports operational performance to facilitate the effective delivery of service and identifies and reports improvements required to achieve performance targets.

Service reporting and meetings are described in the separate communication plan.

Continual Service Improvement

Continual Service Improvement (CSI) reviews, analyzes and makes recommendations on improvement opportunities within the service. It identifies and implements activities to enhance service quality and increases the effectiveness of service management processes. CSI improves cost effectiveness of service delivery and ensures that applicable quality management methods are used to support CSI activities.

Service improvement includes understanding the business objectives, assessing the current situation and agreeing the priorities for improvements. The triggers for improvements may result e.g. from Client feedback, Problem Management, trend analysis and SLA. Each process has a process responsible who collects improvement ideas from various sources concerning own process area.

CSI conducts the service process maturity measurement at regular intervals.

Availability Management

Availability Management assists to define the Client’s requirements for IT services’ availability, understanding the capabilities of the environment to deliver those levels of availability, and takes action to improve availability. Availability Management predicts, plans for and manages the availability of services.

Successful availability means that the environment’s operational performance meets agreed requirements for a designated period of time.

Capacity Management

Capacity Management produces and maintains an appropriate and up-to-date plan of infrastructure capacity for the business applications, which reflects the current and future needs of the business.

Capacity management ensures that the business applications’ performance meets agreed performance targets. It assists with the diagnosis and resolution of performance- and capacity-related incidents and problems. Capacity management assesses the impact of all changes on the plan for capacity. It also ensures that preventive measures for improving the performance of the business applications are implemented wherever it is justifiable to do so.

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management identifies, assesses and stores the necessary knowledge objects to assist in the provision of the agreed services. It manages and maintains the knowledge objects and inventory to ensure continuous relevancy to the required services.

Service desk

Where the Service Manager is not enough, The Service Desk applies proven experience, expertise and capability to provide a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for all Incidents, Service Requests, Changes and requests for information. In addition, Service Desk handles comments, feedback and improvement suggestions received from the users. Service Desk can be reached via E-mail, phone or Self-Service Portal.

The Service Desk will handle all contacts and provide an interface to Service Management processes and activities in Finnish and in English when required. The Service Desk works closely with all delivery teams, to ensure that the best possible support is delivered.

Service Desk’s responsibilities include the following

–              Logs the tickets from the end users and keeps them informed of the status

–              Maintains the contact between the end users and technical teams

–              Issues notifications for service breaks

–              Is responsible for the end-user incident notification

–              Replies the status queries and maintains the ownership of the tickets

–              Identifies and logs the service requests

–              Maintains the service request catalogue

–              Provides contact point for end users via phone number and email

–              Maintains work instructions

–              Has deeper understanding on business processes. Collects and updates this information regularly.

–              Helps end users with business related questions

–              Maintains and updates knowledge base


Request Fulfillment Process

The purpose of the Request Fulfillment process is to handle the service requests from the users providing channel for user to receive and request standard services and to get information about service availability.

Request Fulfillment includes both processes for creating new Standard Service Requests and for implementing the Service Requests.

Incident Management

The primary goal of Incident Management process is to restore normal service operation as quickly as possible and minimize the adverse impact on business operations. Incident Management ensures that the best possible levels of service quality and availability are maintained.

Incident Management deals with all incidents; this can include failures, questions or queries reported by the users, technical staff, or automatically detected and reported by monitoring tools.

It analyzes all incidents and where applicable changes or other required tasks are raised and sent to be handled through appropriate channels.

Major Incidents

In the major incidents situations, a responsible manager is named. The Major Incident Manager (MIM) takes care of the coordination of different parties in incident resolution, finds out the business impact and informs it to the end users and suppliers via agreed distribution and process and informs the Client management regularly about the actions taken.

All major incidents are analyzed, reported and all required actions are assigned to relevant parties.

When required the incident management staff will participate in the meetings related to the major incidents. Incident management collects major incident and availability related metrics and analyzes and reports them.

Incident management maintains a list of known errors and related workaround actions. It is also responsible for maintaining incident management related work instructions.

Problem Management

Problem Management is responsible for investigating and finding the root cause for the problem in the service scope. It maintains and utilizes the contact network for root cause analysis. It also collects and analyzes underlying problems and proposes workarounds or final resolutions to be handled in appropriate channels.

Problem Management supports Incident Management via the means of strong trend analysis of incidents, identifying recurring incidents, or significant incidents.

Problem Management receives the problems either by escalations from other teams, ticket analysis or technical analysis made with the analysis tools. It also contributes to major incident resolution and known error identification. Problems are regularly reported to the Client and the team manages the whole life cycle of a problem. When required the team organizes problem investigation meetings where all needed parties are invited.

Change Management

Change management records, evaluates, authorizes, prioritizes, plans, tests, implements, documents, and reviews changes in a controlled manner and according to agreed process.

All the changes regarding environment must go through Change Management process. Change Management process ensures that all information is available for the Client to accept changes to the different environments (Test, QA, Production).

Change Management manages the whole life cycle of a change. It maintains the Change Management related processes (for example Quality Criterias), templates and work instructions. It also enforces that the change related documentation in service scope is delivered on time and is kept up to date. It creates and sends the change related notifications to relevant parties. It also ensures that the impact analysis is made and necessary approvals are gathered.

Change management maintains and utilizes the contact network for handling changes. It is also responsible for organizing, running and documenting the meetings required.

Change management cooperates with other change management related parties and participates in change management meetings held by other relevant parties.

Release and Deployment Management

Release and Deployment Management aims to plan, schedule and control the movement of releases to different environments. The primary goal of Release and Deployment Management is to ensure that the integrity of the environment is protected and that the correct components are released.

Release and Deployment Management process is responsible for creating and maintaining the Quality Checks used to verify that the software is ready to be moved to the next environment (i.e. from test to QA).

Release and Deployment management is also responsible for all the technical tasks required for implementing changes. Deployment management provides feedback to change management about the success or failure of changes. It does post implementation review to validate the success of changes and follows the guidelines issued by change management. Deployment management provides technical resources for deployment related activities. It also collects deployment related metrics, analyzes and reports them.

Service Asset and Configuration Management

Configuration management provides a foundation for managing the Configuration Items (CIs) needed to support business services, by defining the relationships and dependencies between CIs within the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) and the associated business services they support; this also includes the categorization of services in terms of business criticality and importance.

Configuration Management is also responsible for maintaining Client’s Definitive Media Library (DML) that contains Master copies of all controlled software and includes definitive copies of purchased software, as well as licensing information for software developed on site or purchased from an external vendor. All related documentation, related to any software stored in the DML, is also stored in the DML.

Service Delivery Manager

Ensures that the current and future service requirements of the Client are identified, understood and documented in SLA and SLR documents.

Negotiates and agrees levels of service to be delivered with the Client; formally documenting these levels of service in SLA’s.

Assists with the production and maintenance of accurate service management documentation and the corresponding maintenance procedures.

Ensures that service reports are produced for the Client and that breaches of SLA targets are highlighted, investigated and actions taken to prevent their recurrence.

Ensures that service performance reviews are scheduled, carried out with the Client regularly and are documented with agreed actions progressed.

Ensures that improvement initiatives identified in service reviews are acted on and progress reports are provided to Client

Reviews service scope, SLA’s and other agreements at least annually.

Ensures that all changes are assessed for their impact on service levels, including SLA’s. Attends to Change Advisory Board (CAB) meetings if appropriate.

Identifies all key stakeholders

Develops relationships and communication with stakeholders, Clients and key users.

Defines and agrees complaints and their recording management, escalation, where necessary, and resolution

Defines recording and communication of all complaints and claims

Measures, records, analyzes and improves Client satisfaction.

Governs and guides other service related managers and business process area Leads.