Availability of business services is of paramount importance to all IT support organizations, whether they support IT services internally, or externally, as managed service providers. IT organizations do all they can to ensure maximum uptime of IT services. Yet, outages are inevitable, and whey they do occur, they can have adverse impact on business, or customers. Many IT organizations lack a process to manage stakeholder communication during service outages. This often leaves customers disgruntled.
Most progressive IT organizations have monitoring systems in place to proactively detect performance and availability issues. Operations personnel do everything they can to recover from the outage or performance issue quickly. Yet, as they work around the clock to restore normalcy, it is important to communicate to end-users about the situation, its impact, and the likely time to recovery. This helps set expectations and allows end-users to activate contingency plans, as necessary.
Communication of planned outages for maintenance is equally important. Deployment of patches, system upgrades, and hardware replacement may require planned outage. Many end-users plan to work after hours or on weekends on important assignments. Naturally, they depend on the availability of IT services. Timely communication of planned outages for maintenance should be communicated, so that end-users may plan their work accordingly.
Service Health is a new feature in the Summer 16 release of Remedyforce, which became GA yesterday. Accessible from Self Service, Service Health is a one-page view of availability of all business services. End-users can see which of the services they routinely access are available, which ones are disrupted, and which ones are facing performance degradation. This is similar to Salesforce instance availability information accessible at http://trust.salesforce.com. End-users also get to see real-time updates from the recovery team on steps under way to recovery. Recent history of outages is accessible. End-users can also subscribe to recovery updates. Planned maintenance for the future can also be viewed.
With Service Health, service desks now have an end-user facing user interface for communicating outages. It is an opportunity to gain credibility of end-users by transparently sharing outage data.