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At Your Service

Improving Service Management with Novell Service Desk

Written by Ken Baker

If you want to improve the quality of the IT service you provide to your internal customers in a way that meets your business needs, it’s time to take a look at Novell Service Desk. Whether you’re using Novell ZENworks or third-party solutions for endpoint management, endpoint security and asset management, Novell Service Desk complements your investments to give you the IT service management capabilities you need. It helps you close calls faster, so both your users and IT personnel can be more productive.

Built on ITIL Best Practices

Novell Service Desk has been designed and built upon the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), the internationally recognized best-practices approach to IT service delivery. (See Service Desk Differentiators) Service Desk uses ITIL in a way that improves your IT organization’s ability to act as an IT service provider for your business units. This enables you to provide services with the quality and availability that you negotiate with those business units. It also lets you continuously review those services to make sure they’re the right services for the business and that they’re being delivered according to your Service Level Agreements (SLAs). (See Figure 1.)

To help you integrate IT with your business needs, Novell Service Desk provides fine-grained control over key business logic parameters for the following core ITIL service and delivery support processes:

  • Configuration Management – Uses a centralized configuration management database (CMDB) to store, manage and control all types of infrastructure information.
  • Request Fulfillment – Enables end users to obtain information or advice, as well as easily submit requests for change.
  • Incident Management – Ensures the fastest path to resolution by facilitating the creation of incident workflows using a combination of states and transitions, configurable business rules, and automated notifications.
  • Problem Management – Uses a combination of manual and proactive analysis with automatic problem-identification tools to rapidly identify root causes.
  • Change Management – Manages and controls CMDB changes in accordance with documented change-management procedures.
  • Service-level Management – Facilitates the ability to meet SLAs in accordance with ITIL best practices.
  • Service Catalog – Assists with diagnosis and root-cause analysis by defining and managing the active or ‘live’ services offered to end users so you can group components with related dependencies under a single service umbrella.
  • Financial Management – Quantifies the financial value of IT services and the underlying IT infrastructure so you can map budgets to the monetary value your services provide, based on actual usage and warranty information.
  • Release and Deployment Management – Enables the planning, scheduling and control of changes and updates from test to live environments.
  • Knowledge Management – Provides efficient knowledge creation, publication and distribution processes that speed resolution times, reduce frustration and empower customers.

Service Desk uses ITIL in a way that improves your IT organization’s ability to act as an IT service provider for your business units.

Turnkey Service Delivery Solution

Another big advantage of Novell Service Desk—one that differentiates it from competing solutions—is that it’s ready to use right out of the box. Putting it into play can be as simple as taking the following four steps:

  1. Move it as an appliance into your virtual infrastructure and start it up.
  2. Connect it to your existing directory services infrastructure (either Active Directory or eDirectory), and then use information in those directory services to populate information about customers and the technicians supporting them.
  3. Bring in asset information already collected by ZENworks Configuration Management or other third-party asset management systems.
  4. Start taking service requests via phone, e-mail or the Novell Service Desk Web portal.

Right out of the box, Novell Service Desk also lets you take advantage of ITIL best practices and adapt them to your unique requirements. It does this by including ITIL-based templates and fully configurable workflows that you can customize as needed. These templates and workflows let you prescribe how you want different types of incidents or change requests to be handled. They ensure that you don’t have to start from scratch or configure IT processes on your own. For example, one template provides a sample incident workflow that automates and streamlines the process of adding an incident to the system, reviewing it, assigning it to a technician or engineer, resolving it and finally closing it.

The workflow templates in Novell Service Desk allow everything from minor modifications or significant customizations designed to meet specific requirements. At a high level, the steps for modifying an existing workflow template include the following:

  1. From the Workflow screen, select the name of an existing workflow template and duplicate it.
  2. Rename the new workflow and provide a description of its purpose.
  3. From the Process Type drop-down option, indicate what type of workflow it is, such as incident, change or problem.
  4. Configure the fields for Default Open Status, Default Closed Status, Update Status to, and Email Note action.
  5. Assign a SLA to govern the lifecycle period of the workflow.
  6. In the Life Cycle tab, graphically define and map the workflow states, editing existing states or adding new states as needed.

To further simplify and speed your deployment, Novell Service Desk includes a number of preconfigured items such as Service Level Agreements and standard reports. For example, it includes a sample SLA that outlines response times, restoration times and final resolution times based on ITIL best practices.
(See Figure 2.) It also includes Service Level Agreements based on operational agreements and contracts for defining, managing and tracking service delivery levels.

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