Friday, February 01, 2008

Use ITIL & Business Continuity Planning

So, you’ve developed and implemented your business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan … now what?, asks ITSM Watch columnist Mike Tainter of Forsythe.

Unfortunately, he does an untidy job of tying the two together. In fact, he shows his complete lack of understanding of and inability to articulate even the most basic Service Management concepts.

To start, there is a big difference between Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Planning and what ITIL calls IT Service Continuity Planning (ITSCM). The former, is prepared by the business, while the latter is the responsibility of the IT organization.

Of course, there is a very close relationship between the two concepts. However, the author consistently confuses them. ITIL is a set of best practice guidelines for IT. The business is usually more concerned with the level and quality of service provided by the IT organization rather than the methods it uses to do so.

In this vein, the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) will not become part of the Service Catalog, the CMDB, or the Change Management or Incident Management processes.

Why would it? These processes are used to manage IT. The BCP will be maintained by the business. The ITSCM supports the BCP.

For obvious reasons, both plans should be very closely aligned. However, it is the IT plan that will be referenced in the CMDB and evaluated by both the Change and Incident Management processes.

As for the Service Catalog and Service Level Agreements (SLA), these specifiy service levels (for changes, incidents, availability & capacity) to be provided during "normal service operations," not disaster recovery.

In a disaster recovery situation, the agreed upon service levels (SLAs) will no longer be relevant. The ITSCM Plan, which specifies the agreed upon minimum level of service, becomes effective upon declaration of disaster.

Finally, and there is a lot more I can say about this article, the Service Desk in not a tool. It is a functional department/team.

To learn more accurate information on ITIL & Service Management Best Practices, visit the Home Page for more articles.

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