What is IT Service Management?
IT Service Management (ITSM) refers to the entirety of activities – directed by policies, organised and structured in processes and supporting procedures – that are performed by an organisation to plan, design, deliver, operate, and control IT and Cloud services, such as Office 365, to end-users.
IT Service Management Challenges
- Increased Business Scrutiny: the need for IT cost transparency and business-value demonstration
- Increased business (and user) expectations: around agility, availability, support and end-user service management
- Increased business and IT complexity: particularly, hybrid cloud, mobility, and compliance
In the cloud environment, there is a clear focus shift from IT managing the infrastructure components to understanding what IT achieves rather than what it does. This comes in many different guises:
“How can we better serve our users?”
“How can we better demonstrate the value IT delivers?”
“How do we evolve into an IT organisation that’s fit for operating in the cloud and the changing business needs and expectations?”
“How do we improve IT support based on actual business needs?”
The Role of IT after migrating to the cloud
Moving to the cloud fundamentally changes the paradigm of what IT are doing within any given organisation. Rather than managing the infrastructure, managing servers, deploying patches and upgrading software, Office 365 enables IT department to focus on what is the business value and benefit of this technology to their organisation.
New and modern ways of working have meant that IT Teams must now be able to manage a diverse range of devices, help employees connect from anywhere, and provide quick access to applications and information – while maintaining stringent security measures and ensuring they are staying compliant at all times.
The cloud allows IT departments to take the lead by bringing new services and applications to your organisation before the business realises that they need them.
With evergreen cloud productivity platforms such as Office 365, IT is now positioned to deliver a consistent and optimised user experience across multiple platforms and devices. Now you can shift the perception that IT is a ‘blocker’ to one that is a strategic partner vital to business success.
IT organisations are now looking ahead
Forward-thinking organisations are now looking at how to optimise their cloud investments and solve business challenges with their new infrastructure capabilities.
Moving to cloud based applications has now seen a shift towards bringing IT closer to business units and end-users. This also translates into an individual skill set change for employees, who shift from needing deep technical expertise to developing higher-level strategies, improving business acumen, and becoming more customer-centric in providing IT services.
The operational role of IT has shifted to a mode of empowerment and enablement. Operationally this means keeping a finger on the evergreen pulse of the cloud services and supporting customers in understanding the capability and appropriate use cases for different solutions.
Moreover, the organisational structure of IT has changed to align more with the continuous cycle of design, build, finance and operations. Ultimately, you are building the foundations that enable your organisation to reach for the clouds.
Microsoft define evergreen management as:
“The act of managing continuous evolution of features and functionality in the cloud to achieve business benefit while avoiding any adverse side effects.”
What focus points does this introduce?
For IT Pros:
- Business Value programs
- Evolution of Operations
- Modernising the Service Desk
For IT Management:
- Changing the IT organisation to support Office 365
For the IT Organisation:
- Plan how each role group will evolve with respect to Office 365 workloads
So, what tools are available to IT Teams to manage Office 365?
Office 365 Content Adoption Pack
How do you drive most value from your cloud services for your organisation? The first step is to understand how your users are using Office 365 and probably more importantly is understanding which of your end users are not using a specific Office 365 service.
This allows you to be targeted in your end-user communication and training. To help you with that, the Office 365 Admin centre comes with a set of rich usage reports that help you understand how your users are using and adopting Office 365. Usage reporting allows you to drill down to specific users to understand their interaction with specific Office 365 services.
Usage reports are a good start, but if you want to pivot and analyse the information, Microsoft provide a Content Adoption Pack in Power BI. This combines all the data insights from the Office 365 usage reports with the analytic capabilities of Power BI.
The dashboard is split into four areas:
Each area gives you more specific usage insights. Clicking on each area gives you access to underlying reports and information. The adoption dashboard combines the usage information with your Active Directory information which allows you to pivot the information by department, team, location.
The information displayed in these dashboards is also relevant to people outside of the IT organisation. You can provide access to these dashboard by sharing the dashboards with those key stakeholders.
Each organisation has specific requirements around data analysis, so Microsoft have provided the capability to customise the reports.
Office 365 Message Centre
Office 365 is an evergreen service that makes new features and services available to end users and admins on a regular basis. So how do you stay up to-date.
For an IT department, it is important to understand what new features are coming to their environment so that they can inform their end-users about them. The Office 365 Message Centre is one of the main channels that Microsoft use to inform you of updates that they are delivering:
- Notifications of updated features
- New features that are coming to Office 365
- Inform IT support teams about issues and any action that need to be taken, for example on your on-premises environment
The information provides details about the new or changed functionality, what you need to do and when the changes will start rolling out.
Security and Compliance
Within the Office 365 Admin Centre there is a separate Security and Compliance centre to provide you with a one stop shop to manage all security and compliance activities. Functionality for this includes:
- Full audit log searching
- Advanced security management
- Alert policy configuration
The Admin Centre provides information via the Service Health dashboard on service incidents, you want to know:
- How many of your users are impacted?
- How long will it take before the service incident is resolved?
- Is there a work around you can implement?
The Service Health Dashboard will provide you with this information and personalised information about that specific service incident.
To help you identify high impact issues, they are separated out into two categories, ‘Incidents’ and ‘Advisories’.
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About our author
Integrated Services Director | Content and Code
Dave is responsible for delivering Content and Code’s Office 365 Service Introduction engagement to clients. Content and Code have long recognised the importance of embedding Service Introduction activities into every Project Lifecycle and Service Design activities. Content and Code understand the transformation needed by clients to handle the constant service changes in an “evergreen environment”.
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