ITSM for high-velocity teams
What is IT operations?
IT Operations(ITOps) is the management and maintenance of IT infrastructure within a business. ITOps ensures that IT systems are running efficiently and cost-effectively, providing a foundation for growth. ITOps also involves the implementation of new technologies, such as cloud computing and software automation, to streamline processes and reduce manual labor. By investing in ITOps, businesses ensure that their IT systems are secure, reliable, and compliant with industry regulations and best practices.
Why is IT operations important?
When things are running smoothly you hardly notice ITOps at work. Devices power on, users log in, and networks hum along smoothly. When things break ITOps becomes the center of attention and for good reason! Downtime is incredibly expensive for a business. Security breaches can be devastating for you and your customers. Even small incidents can crater employee productivity. Investing in ITOps helps you avoid expensive incidents and speeds up resolutions when they do occur. Optimizations in ITOps improve efficiency, increase reliability, and enhance productivity.
Imagine a world where Kaya is the best at troubleshooting Android devices but is not well known within the company. Sasha is Kaya’s well-known colleague who specializes in Apple devices. Sasha’s popularity means that they get all Apple and Android device issues. Sasha has to bring all of the Android devices to Kaya and often struggles to remember what is going on and why. Enter ITOps. Now imagine a world where Kaya is the first point of contact, creates direct relationships with the device owner, and has clear communication about the issue. ITOps is the process of identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies and creating channels and practices that get the right work to the right people at the right time.
In today's “always-on” culture, customers and employees expect all systems to be functioning and reliable at all times. Companies now document their “uptime” with most software companies delivering 99.90% uptime on a yearly basis. For some, that’s still not good enough. To get those last few percentage points, ITOps teams focus on rapid response and resolution of issues. The first step is teaching customers and internal teammates how to report IT issues efficiently. This is mostly done through service desks that are built with escalation paths and automated communication. Customers enjoy rapid response times when IT teams get early warnings thanks to channels and tools that are optimized for rapid response. Atlassian customers that invest in ITOps enjoy uptime rates of 99.95% and higher.
ITOps boosts productivity in IT teams and across the business. IT touches nearly every aspect of a business and when IT systems are optimized businesses can run smoothly without disruption. The best way to realize this benefit is to start with the productivity of your IT teams. Investments in ITOps start with the use of a service management tool, like Jira Service Management. These tools give you the data you need to resolve issues faster and with fewer headaches. Imagine an IT team facing an outage that affects 100 employees for 10 minutes. That’s 1,000 minutes of productivity lost! If that IT team can cut their resolution time in half, they can give back 500 minutes of productivity. That’s a full eight hours of productive time.
IT operations roles and responsibilities
An IT manager decides resource allocation for an IT organization. Most IT managers focus on budget and personnel management to keep things running smoothly. IT budgets are usually spent on software tools, and hardware. IT personnel management generally follows two industry trends. The first is training all IT professionals to be generalists that can handle any request that comes across your desk. The second is to build a team of specialists where each member focuses on a specific service that your team offers to the organization. In either case, the IT manager benefits from a clear understanding of how resources are used and for what benefits. IT managers often use service desk data and uptime statistics to efficiently manage IT resources.
An incident is when software, hardware, or networks fail. Incidents are high-intensity, stressful moments especially when teams lack incident management protocols. ITOps workflows can transform incidents from all-hands-on-deck, chaotic moments into managed action with repeatable results. Incident management optimization starts by creating a culture of post-mortems and retrospectives on past incidents. Teams take lessons learned and synthesize step-by-step workflows that the team agrees to follow next time. Teams then add the incident management workflow to their service management tool to effectively manage all incidents going forward.
In a world where your IT professionals have well-documented processes, available capacity, and efficient tools, a focus on security can flourish. The best teams create escalation paths, fast-track root cause analysis, and record workarounds to minimize the impact of a security breach. IT teams focus on the security of internal systems and collaborate on external product security, like the guarding of customer data. When collaborating, it’s essential that IT teams have clear communication with the dev and product teams. This collaboration is called DevOps.
Service desk support
IT teams offer a set of services to the business and administer those services via a service desk. Customers self-serve at the service desk by creating a ticket from one of the services provided and entering the required details. Advanced teams set expectations for service with service level agreements(SLA) and clear communication of the next steps. Service desk support is more than just a way to manage service requests. What you offer at your service desk, known as your service catalog, has important implications for your IT team structure and resource management.
Popular fields in IT operations
ITOps teams are looking for experts to execute the services that they offer. Approaching an ITOps team with experience in a few key fields will help you be successful on day one.
- System management - Systems management is the administration of the IT systems in an enterprise network or data center.
- Network management - Network management is expertise in the applications, tools, and processes used to provision, operate, maintain, administer, and secure network infrastructure.
- Database management - Database management is the manipulation and control of data providing secure and efficient access to data as needed by the business.
- Cloud computing - Being an enabler of cloud computing helps businesses make the jump from on-prem to cloud solutions.
- Data center management - On the flip side, IT teams help with the day-to-day requirements of operating a data center.
ITOps teams handle a wide variety of services from incident management to identity management. While each service will differ in its delivery, there are underlying processes shared by most all ITOps teams. Teams generally start with tickets created in a service management tool. Tickets are then triaged, sending them to teammates that can start work on the issue. Many service desks employ a kanban-style board with workflows that track work as it progresses towards completion. Teams will often do a review of solutions and release the work when it’s approved. Focusing on reducing time to resolution while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction is an efficient way to dial in your own processes.
Trends impacting the field
The worlds of agile and ITOps have begun to collide more than ever. ITOps teams use agile methodologies and practice agile principles in their day-to-day. IT teams often collaborate with dev teams and this understanding helps break down silos and bridge the gap between the two functions. AI has also entered the chat. AIOps is the employment of an AI-powered virtual agent who can automatically triage tickets and progress customer conversations thanks to natural language processing. Jira Service Management is rolling out a virtual agent to help your team focus on higher-value work.
ITops vs Application management, IT infrastructure, ITOM, and DevOps
Let’s clarify some terminology and determine if the following terms are within ITOps or tangential. If you’ve read this far, you know that ITOps is the practice of managing and maintaining the IT infrastructure of a business. This includes monitoring, troubleshooting, and resolving IT issues that arise.
- ITOps vs Application management - Application management is the practice of managing software applications and their associated processes. Application management is almost always part of ITOps
- IT infrastructure refers to the hardware, software, and communication networks used to store and process data. IT infrastructure management is a core component of ITOps
- ITOM (IT Operations Management) is the term used in ITSM and coined in ITIL, the IT Infrastructure Library. ITOps and ITOM are interchangeable terms.
- DevOps is the collaboration between software development and ITOps teams to automate, monitor, and troubleshoot software applications. ITOps and DevOps go hand in hand.
How Jira helps with ITOps
Jira Service Management is purpose-built for ITOps. Jira Service Management will come out of the box with a service desk, workflows, SLAs, and reporting designed to help teams succeed with ITOps. Jira Service Management has a virtual agent to supercharge your service strategy.
Jira Work Management is a more flexible tool designed to help business teams to collaborate, align, and deliver work, all in one place. If you’re running ITOps without a service desk, Jira Work Management will support the workflows, communication, and automation needed to deliver IT services.