Technical Management

Technical Management

Technical Management refers to the groups, departments or teams that provide technical expertise and overall management of the IT Infrastructure.

Technical Management role

Technical Management plays a dual role:

  • It is the custodian of technical knowledge and expertise related to managing the IT infrastructure. In this role, Technical Management ensures that the knowledge required to design, test manage and improve IT services is identified, developed and refined.
  • It provides the actual resources to support the ITSM Lifecycle. In this role, Technical Management ensures that resources are effectively trained and deployed to design, build, transition, operate and improve the technology required to deliver and support IT services.

By performing these two roles, Technical Management is able to ensure that the organization has access to the right type and level of human resources to manage technology and, thus to meet business objectives. Defining the requirements for these roles starts in Service Strategy and is expanded in Service Design, validated in Service Transition and refined in Continual Service Improvement.

Part of this role is also to ensure a balance between the skill level, utilization and the cost of these resources. For example, hiring a top-level resource at the higher end of the salary scale and then only using that skill for 10% of the time is not effective. A better Technical Management strategy would be to identify the times that the skill is needed and then hire a contractor for only those tasks.

Another strategy in larger organisations is to leverage specialist staff out of central pools so that specialists can be well utilized and provide an economy of scale to the organization and minimize the need to hire in contractors. Specialized skills should be identified among resources in the IT organisation, then leveraged for specific needs as they arise, analogous to a special tactical unit, whose members also perform regular duties but who are assigned to tasks needing their specialized skills. This type of resource utilization is particularly useful both for project teams and problem resolution.

An additional, but very important role played by Technical Management is to provide guidance to IT Operations about how best to carry out the ongoing operational management of technology. This role is party carried out during the Service Design process, but it is also a part of everyday communication with IT Operations Management as they seek to achieve stability and optimum performance.

Technical Management objectives

The objectives of Technical Management are to help plan, implement and maintain a stable technical infrastructure to support the organisations business process through:

  • Well designed and highly resilient, cost-effective technical topology
  • The use of  adequate technical skills to maintain the technical infrastructure in optimum condition
  • Swift use of technical skills to speedily diagnose and resolve any technical skills to speedily diagnose and resolve any technical failures that do occur.

Generic Technical Management 

  • Identifying the knowledge and expertise required to manage and operate the IT infrastructure and to deliver IT services. This process starts during the Service Strategy phase, is expanded in detail in Service Design and is executed in Service Operation. Ongoing assessment and updating of these skills are done during Continual Service Improvement.
  • Documentation of the skills that exist in the organisation, as well as those skills that need to be developed. This will include the development of Skills Inventories and the performance of training needs Analyses.
  • Initiating training programmes to develop and refine the skills in the appropriate technical resources and maintaining training records for all technical resources.
  • Design and delivery of training for users, the Service Desk, and other groups. Although training requirements must be defined in Service Design they are executed in Service Operation. Where Technical Management does not deliver training, it is responsible for identifying organisations that can provide it.
  • Recruiting and contracting resources with skills that cannot be developed internally, or where there are insufficient people to perform the required Technical Management activities.
  • Procuring skills for specific activities where the required skills are not available internally or in the open market, or where it is more cost-efficient to do so.
  • Definition of standards used in the design of new architectures and participation in the definition technology architectures during the Service Strategy and Design Phases.
  • Research and development of solutions that can help expand the Service Portfolio or which can be used to simplify or automate IT Operations, reduce costs or increase levels of IT service.
  • Involvement in the design and building of new services. Technical Management will contribute to the design of the Technical Architecture and performance standards for IT services. In addition, it will also be responsible for specifying the operational activities required to manage the IT Infrastructure on an ongoing basis.
  • Involvement in projects, not only during Service Design and Service Transition but also for Continual Service Improvement or operational projects such as Operating system upgrades, server consolidation projects or physical moves.

Technical Management Organization 

Technical Management is not normally provided by a single department or group. One or more Technical Support teams or departments will be needed to provide technical management and support for the IT Infrastructure. In all but the smallest organizations, where a single combined team or department may suffice separate teams or departments will be needed for each type of infrastructure being used. IT Operations Management consist of a number of technological areas. Each of these required a specific set of skills to manage and operate it. Some skill sets are related and can be performed by generalists, whereas others are specific to a component, system or platform.

The primary criterion of Technical Management organizational structure is that of specialization or division of labour. The principle is that the people are grouped according to their technical skill sets and that these skill sets are determined by the technology that needs to be managed.

  • Mainframe team or department if one or more mainframe types are still being used by the organization.
  • Server teams or department often split again by technology types
  • Storage department, responsible for the management of all data storage devices and media
  • Network Support team or department, looking after the organizations internal WANs/LANs and managing any external network suppliers
  • Desktop team or department, responsible for the creation, maintenance and support of the organisations’ databases
  • Middleware team or department, responsible for maintaining access and rights to service elements in the infrastructure
  • Directory Services team or department, responsible for managing the availability and security of access to servers and content by external customers, users, and partners
  • Messaging team or departments, responsible for e-mail services
  • Ip-based telephony team or department

Technical Design and Technical Maintenance and Support

Technical Management consists of specialist technical architects and designers and specialist maintenance and support staff. In this publication, they are viewed as being part of the same function, but many organizations see them .as two separate teams or even departments. The problem with this approach is that good design needs input from the people who are required to manage the solution and good operation requires involvement from the people who designed solutions. The problems that need to be overcome are similar to those faced in managing the Application Lifecycle.

  • Support staff should be involved in the design or architecture of a solution. Design staff should be involved in setting maintenance objectives and resolving support issues.
  • A change in how both Design and Support staff are measured. Designers should be held partly accountable for design flaws that create operational outages. Support staff should be held partly accountable for contributing to the technical architecture.

Technical Management metrics

Metrics for Technical Management will largely depend on which technology is being managed, but some generic metrics include:

  • Measurement of agreed outputs these could include:
  • Contribution to the achievement of services to the business. Although many of the Technical Management teams will not be in direct contact with the business, the technology they manage impacts the business. Metrics should reflect both negative and positive contributions.
  • Transactions rates and availability for critical business transactions
  • Service Desk training
  • Recording problem resolutions into the KEDB
  • User measures of the quality of outputs as defined in the SLAs
  • Installation and configuration of components under their control

Process metrics Technical Management teams execute many Service Management process activities. Their ability to do so will be measured as part of the process metrics where appropriate.

  • Response time to events and event completion rates
  • Incident  resolution times for second -and third line support
  • Problem resolution statistics
  • Number of escalations and reason for those escalations
  • Number of escalations and reason for those escalations
  • Number of changes implemented and backed out
  • Number of unauthorized changes detected
  • Number of releases deployed, total and successful
  • Security issues detected and resolved
  • Actual system utilization against Capacity Plan forecasts
  • Tracking against SIPs
  • Expenditure against budget

Technology Performance these metrics are based on Service Design specifications and technical performance standards set by vendors, and will typically be contained in OLAs or standard operation procedures Actual Metrics will vary by technology but are likely to include:

  • Utilization rates (e.g. memory or processor for the server, bandwidth for networks, etc.)
  • Availability which is helpful for me
  • assuring a team or system performance, but is not to be confused with Service Availability which requires the ability measure the overall availability of the service and may use the availability figures for a number of individual systems or components
  • Performance (e.g response times, queuing rates, etc.)

Technical Management documentation

Technical Management is involved in drafting and maintaining several documents as part of other processes(e.g Capacity Planning, Change Management, Problem Management, etc.) These documents are discussed in some detail in the relevant process descriptions. However, there are some documents that are specific to the Technical Management groups or teams who will provide document management and control for documents relating to the technology under their control. Technical Management documentation includes the following.

The sourcing and maintenance of technical documentation for all Cis is the responsibility of Technical Management. These include:

  • Technical manuals
  • Management and administration manuals
  • User manuals for CIs. These will typically exclude application user manuals, which are maintained by Application Management.

 

 

 

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