Making a transition from one IT service provider to another can be an impactful and positive change for your organization, but with it comes the hurdle of the transition process.
Establishing effective controls and disciplines for an IT service transition will help make your transition seamless. This includes evaluating every facet from both a customer and operational perspective. To simplify matters, here are five proven principles based on ITIL®’s methodology that will help your organization maximize success.
IT Service Transition: Five Controls for Management
- Service Validation & Testing
- Change Management
- Release & Deployment
- Knowledge Management
- Service Asset & Configuration Management
1. Service Validation & Testing
Validation testing should ensure that any new or changed IT services, including relevant subcomponents, meet the design specifications of the business and what you’re looking to achieve. The end goal is to inspire confidence in both customers and operations by creating a more valuable service.
This process should provide clarity as to how exactly the IT service transition will support stakeholders and whether the release is fit for purpose/use. It must factor in any projected costs or constraints that affect testing, as well as potential risks. An IT department is essentially trying to establish its credibility in designing, implementing, and maintaining solutions that help their end-users.
2. Change Management
The change management control lifecycle can help an IT team better align IT services with evolving customer/business requirements without overstepping contractual or compliance obligations. This control makes it possible to reduce or eliminate duplicate IT work, improve timeline estimates, assess risk, and improve productivity across the board.
This control applies through the documentation, planning, testing, and service configuration stages. IT staff must define the parameters of changes (whether corrective or by request) and consider how the changes will affect the end-user both during and after the project. This makes it possible to minimize service disruptions and optimize cost and business risk.
3. Release & Deployment
Release and deployment controls extend many of the change management principles into the deployment stages. By verifying and monitoring every element of the release package, IT staff can meet the accepted warranty and utility of the service while delivering improvements faster.
Poorly planned releases are often some of the more costly errors an IT team can make. The budget will quickly inflate if the deployment requires constant troubleshooting, if only because it requires hours to get everything back up and running. Managing costs means effective testing before it goes live and controlling for user disruptions during and after the release.
4. Knowledge Management
Knowledge management refers to both how ideas are exchanged and the documentation system of different categories of data. Too often, information organization hinders service goals, making for more complex transitions due to uninformed decisions.
Having valid information available can be as important as prioritizing the knowledge artifacts that predicated the updated data. When an IT manager or employee can find what they're looking for when they need it, it makes it vastly reduces the chances of avoidable errors.
5. Service Asset & Configuration Management
Service asset and configuration management will define the configuration of your assets as well as the relationships between them. Effective asset management identifies all resources so they can be controlled throughout the entire lifecycle. The goal is to protect the integrity of the configuration, ensuring that only authorized changes are made.
As with knowledge management, the emphasis is on documentation of all data during this control, including historical or planned. Service asset and configuration management is a concrete way for an MSP to show control of their services and deliver on KPIs, while allowing for better forecasting, planning, and assessing of transitions.
Navigating an IT Service Transition
These essential controls take time and effort to implement, but this is the best way to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. Even IT transitions on a small scale can't afford to gloss over these components. When evaluating an IT service provider, ask about their transition process and what assistance they can provide.
Working with knowledgeable IT service providers who understand the importance of a seamless IT service transition can help set your organization up for success.