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    Case Study

    IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Development vs. Tribal Knowledge

    Jun 2010

    IT Technology Process and Procedure Documentation Optimizes Workflow for California Department of Water Resources

    Tribal knowledge is a precarious backbone for policy, processes, and procedure. When new technologies are implemented, tribal knowledge is scattered at best and important details can get lost in translation. Well documented processes and procedures provide a foundation for training, troubleshooting, and optimized workflow that are not dependent on employee continuity.

    (CS002)

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    CUSTOMER PROFILE

    The California Department of Water Resources (DWR), with over 3000 employees and more than 30 field and regional sites statewide, is one of the largest departments in the California Natural Resources Agency. The DWR supplies and manages the water delivery systems for California, provides flood protection through improvement of California's levees, inspects 1,200 dams, and helps coordinate the State's integrated water management strategies.




    Solution Overview

    BUSINESS SITUATION: DWR had just installed a virtual IT infrastructure and needed development and documentation of processes and procedures for the new technologies for manageability and day-to-day operations.
    SOLUTION: Enterprise Networking Solutions, Inc. (ENS-Inc) had installed the virtual environment. With proven experience in Best Practices/Policy and Procedure, ENS-Inc developed all applicable documentation and manuals.
    BENEFITS: Documented, repeatable processes and procedures assure quality, consistency, efficiency, and less re-work.
    TOPICS COVERED:
    • Process Improvement
    • ITIL Best Practices
    • Documented Procedures
    • Process Documentation
    • Workflow Templates


    Challenge

    DWR had just installed a new virtual IT environment. To fully benefit from the investment and the new technology, processes and procedures for management and day-to-day operations needed to adapt.

    There were no documented processes or procedures for the previous congolomerate architecture. Troubleshooting and problem resolution was supported by the hope of tribal knowledge resulting in inefficient workflow and increased operational costs.



    Process

    ENS-Inc developed the solution as an introductory move toward an IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Best Practices, a set of concepts and practices for IT operations and service management for DWR.

    The high level process for new server provisioning was mapped and documented with the approval of the Agency CIO, Tim Garza. Detailed procedures were created for provisioning both virtual and physical servers.

    Interviews were conducted with the technicians and Chiefs who actually did the technical work. Through these and other staff interviews the following questions were addressed:
          • What works?
          • What doesn’t work?
          • What processes and procedures

    Through a collaborative process between ENS-Inc Engineers, Project Managers, and technical writers, initial drafts were then developed. After the initial draft development of policy statements, processes, procedures, and workflow diagrams, subsequent review meetings were held with both ENS and DWR technical staff for input and to acquire ownership.

    Process, procedure and workflow diagrams were created for:
          • Capacity Allocation
          • Memory Optimization
          • Service Recovery
          • Decommissioning a Physical Server
          • Gold Template Change
          • Storage Request
          • Server Provisioning Checklist
          • Firewall Change

    Templates were created to capture requirements for the following types of requests:
          • Infrastructure Service Request Template
          • Storage Request Template
          • Firewall Change Request Template


    At the completion of the documentation, all documents were posted to the DWR shared drive.


    Benefits

    The successful development and documentation of repeatable processes and procedures ensure quality, consistency, efficiency, and less re-work. Some specific benefits to DWR include:

    • Paper trails provide reference and eliminate duplicate efforts.
      With the use of email, the ticketing system, and request templates, a document trail is created for each server that is provisioned. These document assets will help future troubleshooting or problem resolution efforts in an environment where there had been a reliance on tribal knowledge and where employee turnover is the norm.
    • Timely fulfillment of requesed services.
      With documented procedures, teams have a clearer understanding of expectations which leads to greater success in timely fulfillment of requested services.
    • New employee training time shortened.
      With documented procedures, new technicians can be independently productive in a short period of time, instead of shadowing existing technicians.
    • Workflow bottlenecks eliminated.
      With documented procedures, new Chiefs or management can ge brought up to speed about workflows and not be a bottleneck for requests that need their approval.


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