Glossary


A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

The table below provides a list of definitions for a number of terms and abbreviations used throughout the Alignability® Process Model.

Term

Definition

A

Alignability®

The ability of a service provider organization to align the functionality of its services, and the levels at which these services are provided, with the needs of its customers.

Availability

The percentage of service hours during which the functionality of a service was accessible to its customers over a period of time.

Application change

The following are considered application changes:

the development of new applications, and

the adjustment of the configuration or code of existing applications (this includes any change to the desktop configuration standard).

B

BIL

Business importance level.
The importance of a service to a customer's business. The level is normally determined by estimating the financial impact of a service outage for a specific duration (e.g. for a week).

The BIL is specified in each SLA. The BIL is used to automatically prioritize requests for incident resolution after the impact is specified.

The service management application obtains the BIL from the SLA after the user, and the service that the user is requesting support for, have been selected by the service desk analyst.

When the service desk analyst subsequently selects the impact level, the service management application determines the priority of the request for incident resolution as follows:

                 Impact x BIL = Priority

Example:     Low x Critical = P8

Bug

A bug is defined, within the context of service management, as an error or defect in software that causes service disruptions.

C

CAB

Change advisory board.
Group of people responsible for keeping the functionality and service levels of a specific service aligned with the ever-changing business needs of its customer(s).

A change advisory board is made up of the service owner and the representatives of customers with an active SLA for the service.

Catalog item

An entry in the service catalog of a service provider organization. A catalog item describes the functionality of the service, it contains a set of service level targets (SLTs), and it specifies the service charges. This tells customers what they can expect when they sign an SLA that is based on the catalog item.

CMDB

Configuration management database.
The database in which the information of all relevant infrastructure components are registered and linked together to provide an accurate and complete overview of how the infrastructure should currently be configured.

Change

The creation, addition, move, configuration or removal of a CI.

A change must be coordinated by a change coordinator when its implementation will cause:

a service to be unavailable or degraded during service hours,

the functionality of a service to become different, or

the CMDB to require an update.

Within the Change Management process, there is an important distinction between the following changes:

Infrastructure change

Application change

The following categories are identified for both infrastructure and application changes:

Standard change

Non-standard change

Emergency change

Charge

The term "charge" is used within the process model to refer to an amount of money that a customer is asked to pay.

CI

Configuration item.
A hard- or software component of the IT infrastructure. Software license certificates and documents are also considered configuration items.

Complaint

See Request for Support Improvement.

Continuity manual

A document that dictates the order in which the continuity plans are to be executed. The continuity manual also provides all contact details and continuity site information relevant to the recovery of services.

Continuity plan

A document that provides detailed technical instructions on how a specific service infrastructure can be recovered at its continuity site to continue the delivery of the service from there. A continuity plan also provides technical instructions that can be followed after the successful recovery of the service infrastructure to return the delivery of the service from its continuity mode back to its normal production mode.

Continuity risk assessment scorecard

A form that can be filled out to help a customer organization determine the appropriate level of continuity coverage for a service infrastructure that it plans to start using. The continuity risk assessment scorecard can also be used when a customer organization wants to reassess its continuity risk for a service that it already has an active SLA for.

Continuity site

A facility from which one or more services can be delivered to avoid, or resolve, service outages. This facility may at the same time be the production site of one or more other services.

Continuity target

A period of time within which a service infrastructure needs to be recovered at its continuity site after the service that it provides has become unavailable due to a disaster.

Continuity test calendar

A timetable in which the service recovery tests are scheduled for the service infrastructures with active SLAs that stipulate a continuity target.

Cost

The term "cost" is used within the process model to refer to an amount of money that a service provider organization is required to pay.

Customer

An organization, or a person, covered by a subscription for a service (i.e. an SLA) of the service provider organization.

D

Disaster

A disaster is defined, within the context of service management, as the inability to deliver services from a production site, for what is expected to be an extended period of time, due to:

a (partial) destruction of the production site,

a loss of digital communication service(s) at the production site,

a loss of power at the production site,

a loss of climate control at the production site, and/or

an inability to access the production site.

DML

Definitive media library.
One or more secured locations that together contain the master copies of all supported versions of software CIs and software distribution packages with their related license certificates. Versions of software CIs and software distribution packages that are no longer supported, but need to remain available in case a rollback is required, are also kept in the DML along with the related license certificates.

E

Emergency change

A type of change that has been implemented in accordance with the emergency Change Management procedures to resolve an incident.

An emergency change is also registered for every service infrastructure that has been recovered during a service recovery. This is done to assure the update of the CMDB and the Capacity Management information.

Escalate

To transfer responsibility to a higher level in the organizational hierarchy.

Event

Automatically generated notification that warns of a current or imminent incident.

F

Firmware

Programming that is stored in programmable read-only memory. It is typically used to operate computer devices such as printers, modems, routers, etc. Because firmware is created, tested, versioned and distributed like software, the distinction between software and firmware is not made within the processes.

Functionality

The capabilities of a service. What a service does and/or allows its users to do.

H

Hardware

The physical aspects of computers and related devices.

I

ICT

Information and communication technology.
See IT.

Even though it has the same meaning as "IT", this acronym is often favored because it explicitly covers the technology for services like: email, telephone, video conferencing, paging, etc.

Impact

The extent to which the performance or the functionality of a service is degraded.

The impact becomes greater as the functionality of the service becomes more degraded and/or more users are affected.

A complete loss of the service's functionality is called a service outage.

Incident

A period of time during which a service is not functioning the way it is supposed to. An incident is also referred to as a "service disruption".

See also Request for Incident Resolution.

Infrastructure change

The following are considered infrastructure changes:

the installation, configuration, and removal of hardware,

the removal of software,

the additional installation of applications after their initial development, testing, and deployment,

the installation and configuration of system software (e.g. operating systems, databases, backup software, anti-virus software, network and system management software, etc.), and

the adjustment of backup or batch job schedules.

IT

Information technology.
Refers to all aspects related to the computerized processing of data.

See also ICT.

J

Job

A job is defined, within the context of service management, as a set of instructions that can be executed automatically without user interaction.

Examples of different job types are:

Batch job

A computer program that executes a sequence of commands without user interaction. Batch jobs can be started manually, or scheduled to start automatically at a specific time (and with a specific frequency).

Backup job

A set of instructions for backup software. These instructions define which files need to be copied, to which destination the files are to be copied, whether compression is to be applied, etc. Backup jobs can be started manually, or scheduled to start automatically at a specific time (and with a specific frequency).

Monitoring job

A set of instructions for a network or system management application. These instructions define what needs to be monitored, the polling interval, when an event should be generated, etc.

K

Known error

A problem for which the root cause is known.

KPI

Key performance indicator.
A vital and measurable result to track the efficiency, effectiveness, and/or predictability of a process.

N

Non-standard change

A type of change that must be coordinated by a change coordinator and for which an approved change template is not available.

The opposite of a non-standard change is a standard change.

O

Operational readiness

Operational readiness is defined as the ability of the:

user community,

service provider organization,

production environment, and

the continuity environment (when applicable),

to accept a change.

P

Performance

The speed with which a service executes transactions.

Performance is normally measured from the moment a user gives the command to execute the transaction (e.g. clicks on the Save button) until the user receives the response that the action has been completed (e.g. until he/she is able to submit the next transaction).

Planned change

A change for which an implementation plan was prepared by a change coordinator before it was implemented.

Such a change can be either a standard change or a non-standard change.

Priority

The urgency with which a support request is to be completed.

Problem

Recurring service disruption.

Note that a single incident can already lead to the identification of a problem when the service disruption is expected to recur. It is even possible to identify a problem before a single incident has occurred (e.g. when a service infrastructure is about to run out of capacity).

Production site

A facility that, under normal circumstances, is used for the delivery of one or more services. This facility may at the same time be the continuity site of one or more other services.

R

Recovery control room

The location from which service recovery tasks are assigned and coordinated. It is the reporting point for progress updates during a service recovery.

A recovery control room is situated in, or in close proximity to, each continuity site.

Recovery decision deadline

The point in time, after the first service has become unavailable due to a disaster, by which the recovery teams must be called out to start the service recovery.

Regression testing

The retesting of a new release to ensure that functionality, which worked in the previous version of the application, still works.

Release

A set of changes for the fulfillment of one or more requests for a non-standard change.
Also, a version of an application that is ready for transfer to its test or production environment.

Reliability

The number of times that the functionality of a service became unavailable to its customers during service hours over a given period of time.

Request for change

Request for adding, modifying, moving, or removing hardware, software, or data.

Note that requests for copying data (e.g. for making a backup or restoring a backup at a different location) and requests for batch job runs also fall within this category.

Request for incident resolution

Request to fix a service that is not functioning the way it is supposed to.

Note that requests for password resets from users who have forgotten their passwords, and requests for backup restores from users who have lost data, also fall within this category.

See also Incident.

Request for information

Request for an answer to a service-related question.

Request for support improvement

Request for improvement of the manner in which support is provided.

This type of request is also referred to as a "complaint". Note however, that these requests are often submitted to help the service provider organization improve its support, and should always be treated as positive input.

Rollback

The restore of the original environment after a change or release implementation has been found to be unsuccessful.
Also, the cancellation of a data transaction.

Root cause

The fundamental cause of a problem, which removal will prevent the recurrence of incidents resulting from the problem.

Root cause analysis

The identification of the fundamental cause of a problem and the proposal of a structural solution.

S

Service

A service is defined, within the context of service management, as a logical grouping of functionality that is made available through the combination and specific configuration of hard- and software CIs.

Service catalog

An overview of all services that a service provider organization offers to customers. For each service, the service catalog includes one or more catalog items.

Service degradation

A service is degraded when some of the service's functionality is not functioning properly, or when the performance of the service is slow.

Service desk

A group of persons within a service provider organization that Users can contact to obtain support for the services provided by the service provider organization.

Service disruption

See incident.

Service hours

The hours during which the service is to be available.

Service infrastructure

The combination of CIs that provides a service for a specific purpose to a specific group of users.

Several service infrastructures may be set up for the same service. This may be necessary to allow the service to be used for different purposes (e.g. development, test and production) and/or to provide a dedicated infrastructure to different customers of the service (e.g. a Microsoft Exchange email server for the headquarters and a another Microsoft Exchange email server for the factory).

An SLA must be established for every customer that is using the service infrastructure.

Service outage

A service is down, or unavailable, when none of the service's functionality is available.

Situation assessment checklist

A form that helps the on-duty manager make the right decisions when he/she considers how an (impending) disaster should be dealt with. In particular, it ensures that the on-duty manager takes the following aspects into consideration:

are human lives in danger or lost?

which service infrastructures are (expected to be) impacted?

are any of these service infrastructures covered by an active SLA that stipulates a continuity target?

when did the first service become unavailable, or when is the first service expected to become unavailable?

are any special actions required due to the nature of the disaster?

is it possible to deal with the situation by initiating a service recovery?

has the recovery decision deadline been reached?

SLA

Service level agreement.
The agreement between the service provider organization and the customer of the service.

One SLA must be established for every combination of a service infrastructure and a customer that uses the service infrastructure.

SLT

Service level target.
A minimum level of service defined in SLAs which the service provider organization has committed to provide to the customer of the SLA.

An SLT is meaningless if the actual level of service is not measured so that it can be compared with the SLT.

SLR

Service level requirement.
A minimum level of service required by a customer, as defined by a service level manager, based on the business requirements provided by the customer.

SLRs are translated into a proposed set of SLTs by the availability manager of the service. The proposed SLTs form the minimum levels of service that the service provider organization commits to provide to the customer. A proposed set of SLTs has a direct relationship with the amount that the customer will be charged for the service.

Software

Programming used to operate computers and related devices.

Standard change

A type of change that must be coordinated by a change coordinator and for which a change template exists that has been approved by the service owner.

The change template includes a set of work orders that defines the workflow that needs to be followed for the implementation of this type of change.

The opposite of a standard change is a non-standard change.

Support

The activities performed to ensure that the functionality of the services are provided at a level that meets the SLTs specified in the SLAs between the service provider organization and its customers.

Support hours

The hours during which the service is to be supported.

Support request

A request from a user for support from the service provider organization.

Support requests can be submitted to the service desk on behalf of users by specialists. Similarly, support requests can be registered on behalf of users by operators.

Supported change

A type of change that is defined in a catalog item. The service provider organization agrees to implement a supported change when a customer, with an active SLA based on a catalog item that includes it, submits a request for its implementation.

T

Task

The term "task" is used within the process model to refer to either a support request, a problem, or a work order.

U

User

A person who, from time to time, uses one or more CIs and/or services provided by the service provider organization.

V

Verification

The activity of determining whether or not a set of previously established requirements has been fulfilled.

W

Web request form

A form on the service provider organization's internet or intranet site which users and/or customer representatives can fill out and submit to request the execution a supported change.

Each web request form requires specific information to be filled out in order for the request to be executed. After a request form is submitted, it automatically generates a support request in the service management application. This support request is assigned to the group that is responsible for the execution of the task that can be requested with the form that was used to generate the request. The support request contains the information that was filled out in the web request form.

Work order

A task that is linked to a change. It forms a step within a change implementation plan.

Workaround

A temporary solution that bypasses or masks the incorrect functioning of a service. A workaround is implemented when it is the quickest way to allow affected users to return to their work.