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Fred Geerken, Senior Director of IT/CISO, Leprino Foods
Fred Geerken, Senior Director of IT/CISO, Leprino Foods

Fred Geerken, Senior Director of IT/CISO, Leprino Foods

When I was asked to write an article on ITSM (IT Service Management) best practices, my initial reaction was “who would want to read about that!”. With so many cooler topics to discuss, like harnessing the power of AI on the manufacturing side (Operational Technology and IOT), or self-healing network designs, why cover something as dry and fundamental as the basic blocking and tacking of ITSM? One good answer is that it’ll help prevent an IT Operations Manager and his/her team from losing sleep at night, and there’s something to be said for that!

Adopting an industry framework, like ITIL (IT Information Library) will go a long way in helping your IT teams deliver more consistent services by enabling them to move beyond reactive support habits to more proactive service delivery. Sure, it will take some up-front planning, training and potentially improved tooling, but the time saved in the long run will let those same support resources add value by allowing them more time to learn interesting and newer technologies.

The ITIL framework is a guide used by many IT functions to deliver more quality-driven, customer focused services in the most economical way.

The framework has been around since the 1980’s and was established by the Central Computing and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), a government agency in Great Britain (Stewart, 2013). Its latest revision is V4 and it continues to mature over time, with 34 IT Management Practices. While there is certainly not enough time to cover the many nuances and depth of the ITIL framework, I will briefly cover three of the most fundamental practices which are the cornerstones in becoming a higher performing IT support organization. They are Incident Management, Change Enablement and Problem Management.

Incident Management:

Efficiently handling service outages (when something breaks) and returning the service to an operable status is key in ensuring maximum user productivity. It has a direct impact on a company’s bottom line. MTTR (Mean-time-to-repair) is an important metric to track and drive down as a team matures. Reducing down-time is the #1 goal, so having a defined process in place, with tooling to support workflows and ticket handling is critical to improving this metric.

Change Enablement:

One of the most important ITSM processes to embrace and improve over time is Change Enablement. IT systems are always in need of hardware lifecycle management, software upgrades for code and security patching. It’s at these times when services are most vulnerable to being impacted. A regimented change control process underpinned by ITSM tooling will help ensure that risk is mitigated and that IT systems are properly maintained so that unplanned outages can be reduced.

Problem Management:

We now discuss Problem Management to round out the trifecta. Think of Problem Management as Root Cause Analysis. We often experience similar outages repeatedly, and Problem Management is all about identifying these patterns and identifying the root cause. This way, fixes can be put in place to prevent a recurrence.

These three basic best practices are the supporting pillars of a well-functioning support team and if designed and executed efficiently and effectively, will offer improved system up-times and a happier, more engaged, and well-rested team.

The ITIL framework goes far beyond these three key practices, so it’s worth investigating the broad depth and scope of this industry framework. Over the past 30 years, it has helped my teams improve service delivery and methodically improve year-over-year. The most rewarding aspect is that this maturity has created efficiencies in ourday-to-day support, enough to allow the teams to spend more time on bigger and better initiatives that can move the business forward by creating competitive advantages. Leveraging technologies like AI, and Self-healing networks are just two examples.

Company Blurb:

Our journey began in Denver, Colorado in 1950 when Mike Leprino, Sr. started making mozzarella cheese for his family’s corner grocery store. Today, Leprino Foods Company is a global dairy leader. In fact, we’re the world’s largest mozzarella cheese maker and leading producer of whey protein, lactose and other dairy ingredients.

Despite our growth and success, we’re still a family-owned company and remain committed to the same core values and entrepreneurial spirit that earned us our reputation as a dairy industry pioneer and trusted partner to top food and nutrition brands worldwide.

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