Posted by Vijayakumar Chinnasamy
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September 22nd, 2009

A Brief comparison between ITIL Version 3 and PMBOK 4th Edition

PMBOK and ITIL, both are descriptive and complimentary in nature. However, the major difference betweek PMBOK and ITIL is, PMBOK project management can be applied to any domain, such as Civil Engineering Construction or Public Sector or IT, however ITIL is specific to IT only. PMBOK provides a Body of Knowledge (BOK) for managing Projects which are a “temporary endeavor” in general. On the Other hand, ITIL provides a Body of Knowledge for managing IT Operations (ITIL uses the term IT Service Management for describing IT Operations) which are repetitive in nature. The latest PMBOK 4th edition has totally 42 processes for the Project Management Body of Knowledge. ITIL Version 3 has more than 25 processes and 4 IT functions.

Also, PMI maintains a code of ethics to be followed by its PMBOK or for the PMP practitioners. However ITIL does not have any such requirements for its ITIL Version 3 framework.

ITIL Version 3 framework defines five phases of IT Service Management Lifecycle. These are part of the ITIL Version 3 Core publications. They are:

  • Service Stategy
  • Service Design
  • Service Transition
  • Service Operation
  • Continual Service Improvement

For a infrastructure support person like me, both PMPOK and ITIL framework provides valuable assistance for managing short-term infrastructure projects, as well as for managing day-to-day IT operations. Truely speaking, a project may consist of lot of operations. So, I found these two are complimentary in nature.

Introduction to ITIL Version 3 Service Desk Function

There are mainly four IT functions as per the ITIL Version 3 framework. They are:

  • Service Desk
  • IT Operations Management function
  • Application Management Function
  • Technical Management Function

I was thinking of exploring the ITIL function Service Desk first. Serive Desk function falls under the Service Operation Lifecyle in ITIL Version 3 framework. As per the ITIL Version 3 Glossary, Service Desk is the single point of contact between the Service Provider and the users. Also, one of the primary aim of the Service Desk is to restore the normal service for the users as quickly as possible. Also, handling Service Requests is another major function of the Service Desk.

Implementing Service Desk for Peoplesoft Applications

For Peoplesoft applications, Service Desk IT function will be really useful in many ways. Being an ERP application, Peoplesoft enterprise applications are mission-critical for many of the customers. There are many enterprise customers who use Peoplesoft for their HR systems, for the Payroll, for the Ledger application, for the financials, for datawarehousing etc. Having said this, Peoplesoft applications are mission critical applications for them. They cant afford a downtime and they need an uptime of 99.9999%. I supported some of the Peoplesoft applications for few of our enterprise customers. When there is a major incident with Peoplesoft applications (being a web server crash, database crash or batch failures), senior management was immediately notified about failures.

A Service Desk implementation for Peoplesoft applications with best practices evolved over a period of time will provide lot of benefits to the customers (I am sure about this). The Service Desk may consists of personnel from junior resources to architects to vendors to provide support from level 1 to level 3 and level n activities. Working in a Service Desk provides a lot of benefits for an entry level IT professional. She will be able to understand the business side of the IT, which is very important (most of the time, many IT people dont really understand the business side of the IT function which is really a bad thing for the organization). Without understanding the business side of the IT function, most of the services will be overlooked and we will not be able to meet customer needs and reduces the productivity of the resources. Also, the service desk should be supported by Senior Management in the Organization in order to make sure we have sufficient organizational support for its success.

We need to understand a simple thing. Well-defined processes are of no use if the day-to-day operations are not conducted based on these processes. Only defining processes on the paper is not useful at all. This is one of the main reason we need to get senior management buy-in for the Service Desk implementation.

Peoplesoft Infrastruture failures to consider for the Service Desk Function

Based on my last 10 years of IT experience with Unix and Peoplesoft, I thought about some of the Peoplesoft Services that we can consider for Service Desk Implementation. I came up with following list of Service Operations. If you thing of some thing else that I missed, please feel free to post it on the comments. I will review it and provide my comments about it.

Also, I strongly believe in proactive infrastructure management than reactive one. I always implemented methods for active monitoring of the Peoplesoft infrastructure, including the file systems, memory usage, CPU usage, network usage and disk I/O. Also, setting up a monitoring system for URL traversing will be really helpful to identify problems faster rather than waiting for end users to call the Service Desk.

Lets list some of the major infrastructure related incidents for Peoplesoft applications. I am going to use this list for the Service Desk and how we can implement some processes for incident management system along with Service Desk model. Few major incidents are:

  • Web Server crashes
  • Database failures
  • Network failures
  • App Server/Tuxedo Issues
  • Batch failures
  • Batch Server failures
  • File System getting full
  • Reverse proxy web server issues
  • COBOL issues for Financial and HRMS applications etc

We will talk more about integrating Peoplesoft Service Desk along with Incident Management in the next blog. I am looking for any comments from you on this topic. We will talk more on this soon. Until then.

Vijay Chinnasamy

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