A problem is defined as an underlying cause of one or more incidents. The cause is not usually known at the time a problem record is created, and the problem management process is responsible for further investigation.
A) Purpose of Problem Management Process
To document, investigate, and remove causes of incidents.
To minimize the adverse impact of incidents and problems on the business that are caused by underlying errors within the IT Infrastructure, and to proactively prevent recurrence of incidents related to these errors.
B) Objectives of Problem Management Process
Prevent problems and resulting incidents from happening.
Eliminate recurring incidents.
Minimize the impact of incidents that cannot be prevented.
C) Scope of Problem Management Process
Diagnosis the root cause of incidents
Take steps to eliminate them (with other processes, in particular change management process).
Document problems, workarounds and resolutions (maintain the known error database) for more effective handling of similar incidents
D) Basic concepts
1) Reactive and Proactive problem management activities:
a) Reactive problem management process
Reactive problem management process activities will typically be triggered in reaction to an incident that has taken place.
Reactive problem management complements incident management activities by focusing on the underlying cause of an incident to prevent its recurrence and identifying workarounds when necessary.
b) Proactive problem management process
Proactive problem management process activities are triggered by activities seeking to improve services.
Proactive problem management complements CSI activities by helping to identify workarounds and improvement actions that can improve the quality of a service.
2) Problem Models : handle problems that have not and will not be resolved (e.g. the cost of a permanent resolution is too high) by some pre-defined workaround
Record all relevant problem details for a full historic record
log in the problem record (link to the incidents)
3) Categorizing Problems: Categorize Problems in the same way as incidents, using the same coding system, so the true nature of the problem can be easily traced in the future and meaningful management information can be had, and enables incidents and problems to be more readily matched.
4) Prioritizing Problems - depends on impact(number of users being affected) and urgency of the problem(how quickly the business needs resolution).
5) Investigating and Diagnosing Problems
Apply problem-solving techniques.
Use the CMS to help determine impact and pinpoint and diagnose the exact point of failure.
Use the KEDB for problem-matching techniques to see if the problem has occurred before and, if so, to find the resolution
6) Identifying a Workaround - provides the workaround to service desk for resolving the incident and reassesses the priority
7) Raising a Known Error Record
A known error is a problem with a documented root cause and workaround.
Known error records should identify the related problem record and document the status of actions being taken to resolve the problem, its root cause and workaround.
All known error records should be stored in the known error database (KEDB)
8) Problem Resolution - implement the solution through change management (as emergency change)
9) Problem Closure - a permanent solution has been tested and implemented so that the problem will not occur again (user confirmation NOT needed).
10) Major Problem Review
After every major problem, conduct a lessons learned review examining:
Things done right and wrong
What to do better in the future
How to prevent recurrence.
Whether there is any third-party responsibility and if follow-up actions are needed.
F) Incident Management Process- Interfaces with other stages of ITIL Service Lifecycle.
1) Interfaces with Service Design
a) Financial Management for IT services:
Assists in assessing the impact of proposed resolutions or workarounds, and pain value analysis
Problem management provides information about the cost of resolving and preventing problems
Used as input into the budgeting and accounting systems and total cost of ownership calculations.
2) Interfaces with Service Design
a) Availability Management:
Involved with seeking reduced downtime and increased uptime
Much of the management information available in problem management will be communicated to availability management.
b) Capacity Management:
Some problems will require investigation by capacity management teams and Techniques.
Problem management provides management information on the quality of decisions made during the capacity planning process
c) IT Service Continuity Management:
Problem management acts as an entry point into IT service continuity management where a significant problem is not resolved before it starts to have a major impact on the business.
d) Service Level Management:
Problem management contributes to improvements in service levels, and its information is used for some SLA review components.
SLM provides parameters within which problem management works.
3) Interfaces with Service Transition
a) Change Management:
Problem management ensures resolutions/workarounds that require a CI change are given to change management via RFC.
Change management tracks changes, advises problem management
b) Service Assets and Configuration Management:
Problem management uses the CMS to identify faulty CIs and also to determine the impact of problems and resolutions.
c) Release and Deployment Management:
Responsible for deploying problem fixes out to the live environment.
Problem management will help resolve problems caused by faults during the release process.
d) Knowledge Management: The SKMS can be used to form the basis for the KEDB and hold or integrate with the problem records.
4) Interfaces with Service CSI
a) Seven step improvement Process:
Incidents and problems are a basis for identifying service improvement opportunities; adding them to the CSI register.
Proactive problem management activities may identify underlying issues that if addressed, can contribute to increases in service quality and end user/customer satisfaction
6.5.3 Event Management Process
An event can be defined as any detectable or discernable occurrence that has significance for the management of the IT infrastructure or the delivery of IT service, and evaluation of the impact a deviation might cause to the service.
Event Management is the process responsible for managing events throughout their lifecycle. Event management is one of the main activities of IT operations.
Modern systems make use of event monitoring tools to monitor configuration items for signals and irregularities. These tools are of two types they are:
a) Active Monitoring Tools: actively seek responses to confirm correctness
b) Passive Monitoring Tools: detect and correlate operational alerts or communications generated by CIs.
A) Purpose of Event Management Process
Manage events throughout their lifecycle.
Coordinate the lifecycle of activities to detect and make sense of events and determine appropriate control action.
B) Objectives of Event Management Process
To provide the entry point for the execution of many service operation processes and activities.
To provide a way of comparing actual performance and behavior against design standards and SLA's.
Provides the ability to detect, interpret and initiate appropriate action for events.
Is the basis for operational monitoring and control and the entry point for many service operation activities
Provides operational information as well as warnings and exceptions to aid automation.
Supports continual service improvement activities of service assurance and reporting.
C) Scope of Event Management Process
1) Event management can be applied to any aspect of service management that needs to be controlled and which can be automated. These include:
a) Configuration Items:
Some configuration items will be included because they need to stay in a constant state.
Some configuration items will be included because their status needs to change frequently and event management can be used to automate this and update the configuration management system.
2) Environmental conditions (e.g. fire and smoke detection).
3) Software license monitoring for usage to ensure optimum/legal license utilization and allocation.
4) Security (e.g. intrusion detection).
5) Normal activity (e.g. tracking the use of an application or the performance of a server)
6.5.4 Request Fulfillment Process
A Service Request is a formal request from a user for something to be provided. Request fulfillment is the process responsible for managing the lifecycle of all service requests.
A) Purpose of Request Fulfillment Process : Purpose of Request Management process is to managing the lifecycle of all user service requests.
B) Objectives of Request Fulfillment Process
To provide a channel for users to request and receive standard services for which a predefined approval qualification process exists.
To provide information to users and customers about the availability of services and the procedure for obtaining them.
To source and deliver the components of requested standard services (e.g. licenses and software media).
To assist with general information, complaints or comments.
C) Scope of Request Fulfillment Process
Any requests or just standard IT requests may vary from organization to organization.
Some organizations may use incident management process to handle requests
3) To provide a self-help support capability to users to improve quality and reduce costs.
6.5.5 Access Management Process
Access management is the process of granting authorized users the right to use a service, while preventing access to non-authorized users. It is, therefore, the execution of policies and actions defined in information security and availability management.
A) Purpose of Access Management Process
To implement parts of the security policies defined in Information Security Management
To keep the access privileges up-to-date.
B) Objectives of Access Management Process
Manage access to services based on policies and actions defined in information security management.
Efficiently respond to requests for granting access to services, changing access rights or restricting access, ensuring the rights provided or changed are properly granted.
Ensure all requests for access are verified and authorized and dealt with efficiently
C) Scope of Access Management Process
Execution of the policies in information security management, in that it enables the organization to manage the confidentiality, availability and integrity of the organization's data and intellectual property.
Ensures that users are given the right to use a service, but it does not ensure that this access is available at all agreed times - this is provided by availability management.
Executed by all technical and application management functions and is usually not a separate function, but there is likely a single control point of coordination, usually in IT operations management or on the service desk.
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