Operations is the heart of IT as it is the first thing that needs to be addressed: keeping the existing infrastructure and systems running seamlessly to support the business. This chapter first centers on the discussion of Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) which defines the standards, roles and responsibilities of the different IT Operation and Maintenance (O&M) personnel including the Service Desk, Technical Management team, Application Management team, IT Operations Management team, Field Support team, as well as the different heads in this organization which includes the Operations Head and the related Operations Management Office, the Information Systems (IS) Head, IT Infrastructure (II) Head. After defining the different O&M personnel, we delve into the operations lifecycle: planning and design phase, release phase, maintenance phase, and retirement phase. Each of these phases has distinct aspects that need to be taken into account, and repeat in a cycle. Concepts for each phase are discussed including the different type of tickets: incidence, request and problem, how they should be defined, treated and escalated, and how these roll-up to the Service Level Agreement (SLA) that O&M commits to the rest of the organization. Releases are most important to be done correctly, and this brings us to the topic of Configuration Items and CMDB and testing. Under the maintenance phase, requests and incidences need to be addressed, as well as long-term aspects such as availability and capacity management, security and business continuity. The retirement phase is briefly discussed. O&M does not stop there, it also has a link to IT Strategy, and this is discussed in its own section, as well as how to incorporate Continual Service Improvement by means of the PDCA.
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