When talking about Best Practice and ITIL (The IT Infrastructure Library), there are many key words and phrases that are thrown about. In this blog I have tried to identify just a few of the more common buzzwords and give a brief explanation of my understanding of them. (If you have limited knowledge of ITIL then the ‘Introduction to ITIL’ whitepaper is a must read).
1. Process Definition - Both Service Support and Service Delivery are split into processes. Each process should have a clear objective and is broken down into tasks, each with inputs and outputs.
2. RWO - ‘Real World Object’ is used to describe the inputs and outputs of each task. These can be physical objects such as a piece of paper, or electronic objects like information that is saved in a specified location. Even something intangible, such as a phone call, could be considered as an RWO.
3. Availability Management - This is a Service Delivery process put in place to identify the availability requirements of key IT systems and services, making sure these requirements are met. There is a very good whitepaper on this subject titled ‘Introducing ITIL Availability Management’. One of the key success factors for availability management has to be it’s reliance on having appropriate and meaningful Availability measurement and reporting. The previous blog post ‘Using Serio to obtain Availability Statistics’ also makes interesting reading.
4. Role - each task is performed or executed by a role. The role can be a human or a piece of automated software and should be governed by a set of rules, for example ‘The questions below MUST be answered before proceeding to the next stage’.
5. Process Owner - One person is responsible for the Process Definition, which should be treated the same as a Configuration Item and is subject to Change Control.
6. Service Desk - The Service Desk is a function, not a process and should be the first point of contact between the Customer and the Service, providing advice, guidance and rapid restoration of normal services. It has more functionality than the traditional Help Desk and should be focused on its main objectives, which are to improve and drive forward the service provided. Service Desk and Helpdesk have been discussed in this previous post.
7. Service Culture - Suggests that any organisation embraces the concept of service and customer care. The aim should be to exceed customer expectations, not in what you deliver but in the way you deliver it. Good Service Level Management (SLM) processes can help achieve goals and some good SLM KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) have been posted here.
8. Call Logging Script - (and form based inputs). These are a series of questions that should be answered for every call and can increase the integrity of the data supplied whilst helping to reduce any duplication in work and ensuring a set uniformity for how data is recorded. Call logging scripts have been discussed previously and there is even a sample script here.
9. Incident Management - The goal of Incident Management is to restore the normal service operation as quickly as possible and minimise any negative impact. Many Incident Management topics have been posted over the course of the Serio blog, starting with an ‘Introduction to Incident Management’ here.
10. Incident Lifecycle - This is simply the steps that are taken when handling an Incident, from the initial reporting and recording (logging), then progressing through all the other required steps such as classification or assignment and ending in closure or resolution. A part of the Incident Lifecycle is its Workflow Position and Status. This has been blogged about previously and is explained in detail here.
11. Accountability - This is the responsibility of an agent, usually the logging agent or primary agent, to accept complete ownership of the Incident. This agent needs to remain in contact with the customer all through the Incident Lifecycle, explaining about any assignments, escalations, status changes and making sure the customer is kept informed right up to a resolution they are happy with.
12. Balanced Scorecard - This is an aid to managing performance by finding a balance between 4 perspectives of your organisations vision/mission and translating it into KPI’s. These perspectives are
This is complementary to ITIL and provides information on Customer Perception, Internal Processes and Finances.
13. Configuration Baseline - This is the configuration of a product (Configuration Item) at a specific point in time. This serves as a reference for any further or future activities and should be recorded in the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) which has been covered in detailed posts starting here. 
14. CAB (Change Advisory Board) - A group or body that will assess, prioritise and approve any potential changes. Its members should be capable of ensuring changes are assessed from both business and technical perspectives. Membership and participation is flexible and should be composed to deal with the specific changes that are being dealt with. This board was discussed in a previous topic called ‘To a New Change Manager’.
15. Functional Escalation - This type of escalation takes place when agreed intervals of time are elapsed or because of the lack of expertise / knowledge. Transferring an Incident from 1st line to 2nd line support is a functional escalation.
16. Hierarchical Escalation - This escalation can take place at any time and is usually performed manually when it is likely a resolution will not be achieved satisfactorily or in time. This should allow enough time for any authorised line management to take action before agreed resolution times are breached. Escalations were discussed in the previous blog article ‘Escalation in Incident Management’.
I hope all readers will find this article useful but know the above list barely covers the multitude of keywords and phrases that seem to be thrown around. If anybody would like my understanding of any buzzwords not covered above, leave them as comments and I may use them in a future post.