January 14, 2021

TechOps Toolset: Technology Service Management

This is part 1 on the TechOps toolset that we introduced a few months ago together with the TechOps guide. This post will provide an overview of Technology Service Management, while future posts will cover Monitoring, Collaboration and Operational Readiness.

The Goal

Our goal for the TechOps toolset is to simplify the ‘setup’ and ‘run’ phases of technology operations for major events. This means:

  • A powerful, flexible and easy to use ITSM tool
  • Pre-configured for major events
  • Accelerators that expand functionality
  • Fully mobile
  • Short Time to Value

A powerful, flexible and easy to use tool

We use Jira Service Management by Atlassian; a full-scope IT Service Management tool which can easily scale from a few users to thousands. Key features include:

  • Supports ITIL 4 processes, including incident management, service request management, change management, problem management, service level management, configuration management, asset management and knowledge management.
  • Supports DevOps practices that automate the processes between software development and technology operations in order to build, test, and release software faster and more reliably. Simplifies end-to-end delivery with seamless integration to Jira for software development, Confluence for knowledge management and Bitbucket for code repository.
  • A subscription-based SaaS model allows for an easy ramp up and down from a few- to thousands of users based on event demands.
  • Workflows, support queues, SLAs, dashboards, and reports are straightforward to customise and setup.
  • A powerful, easy to configure automation capability allows for automated ticket assignment based on criteria, handling of emergency CAB approvals or notifying SLAs that are close to breach.
  • Jira Service Management has a continually improving product roadmap, robust security controls, 99.9% committed availability and Atlassian has a strong focus on the sustainability of its services.
  • Easy to extend to non-IT teams like HR, facilities management, procurement & contracts who need to track end user requests and issues.

Pre-configured for major events

By pre-configuring Jira Service Management (JSM) based on our experience with major events it saves months of effort to define and agree service management processes and then configure the tool. These form a working setup which can later be optimised as needed. Some specifics of this setup include:

  • Venues: The venue list is captured in the config management module as a common reference for venue names, abbreviations, and locations.
  • Incident Severity levels
  • Technology Support Groups, including auto-assignment of incidents and service requests based on the affected service. Preconfigured workflow for major incident escalation and communication.
  • Change Management with a custom workflow that includes normal, standard (pre-approved) and emergency changes. A Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is initiated for all Severity 1 and Severity 2 incidents.
  • Onboarding workflows for new users including account provisioning, equipment provisioning, site access pass and IT setup. These may be different for employees and external staff.
  • Offboarding workflows.
  • Custom service request types to automate approvals for resource provisioning.
  • Knowledge base using Confluence with baseline process descriptions and templates.
  • Help Centre webpage with latest announcements, knowledge base and personal ticket tracking.
  • SLA setup for both pre-event (business-as-usual) and event operations period.
  • A super clear SLA dashboard including the success rate for response & resolution, ticket volumes by type, service, support group and venue. Visibility of major incidents (Severity 1 & 2) that can be displayed on the operations centre video wall.
  • Configuration management and IT asset management to show dependencies between technology services and the support model.

Accelerators that expand functionality

We have set up several add-ons as part of TechOps that help complete both the end user and technology support team experience:

Live Chat

When people need immediate support, they prefer live chat over any other channel. Chat for Jira Service Management is a great add-on that creates a new ticket with every new chat request and tracks all chat updates within the ticket. The end user only sees their chat with the service desk, but the support team have access to all the information in the corresponding ticket.

Microsoft Teams Integration

The integration with Microsoft Teams provides the ability to link the most common communications platform with JSM tickets. For example, major incidents can be pushed directly to a pre-defined Teams channel to inform all relevant people of the situation. Similarly, when changes are starting, they can be pushed to a channel so that teams are aware or reminded that a technology change is in progress in case any down time occurs. With each of these cases, someone can choose to just read the short message in Microsoft Teams or click on the ticket details to understand more. Using Slack or Webex? Also possible.

Sync Service Catalogue with CMDB

The Technology Service Catalogue is typically managed in Excel, Google Sheets or similar. This includes the details and support characteristics of each application or infrastructure service in an easy-to-understand way. However, the exact same information needs to be present in the ITSM tool. We built a tool to synchronise the Technology Service Catalogue directly with Jira Service Management’s Configuration Management Database (CMDB) module – Insight. This improves the quality of data in JSM and ensure that the tickets get assigned to the right support groups.

Fully Mobile

On-venue technology staff are typically mobile as they perform daily checks, respond to issues and meet with end users and key customers. The Jira mobile app is the easiest way for people in the field to raise issues, respond to them, approve changes or just check on service levels or high severity incidents.

Short Time to Value

Probably the most important feature of TechOps is the speed of deployment. No two projects are exactly the same, but TechOps quickly provides a working setup that can be further optimised based on event specific needs.

If you would like to know more about the TechOps toolset, contact us for a test account.

You can also read more about Technology Operations for major events here.