We know that government has important objectives to meet, like protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure, delivering citizen services and regulating institutions. All of these mission-critical functions are enabled by constant, reliable IT service delivery.
But what happens when there are service outages? Not only do they hinder the accomplishment of these critical goals, but they also hurt government’s reputation with citizens. Recall what happened when large federal agencies, like the Internal Revenue Service or Health and Human Services, lost system functionality and had to extend major public deadlines.
Needless to say, service outages must be eliminated. They are disruptive and can cost government time, money and public trust. However, for government IT, eliminating service outages can prove especially challenging for three big reasons.
First, there is a lack of service visibility. If your IT staff can’t see all parts of their service environment and how they’re connected, they can’t deliver high-quality business services. For example, when a server goes down, IT won’t know exactly which services were affected. A website might stop functioning or a payment system might break down, but they won’t know until user-submitted incidents reach the service desk.
Service visibility requires mapping and finding the correlation between infrastructure and business services. It answers the question: Which pieces in the infrastructure relate to which specific business services?
Lack of visibility is usually a leading indicator of another challenge: unreliable service availability. Availability is tied to understanding the impact of change, root cause and how infrastructure issues affect service availability and performance.
If a component, like a server, goes down, IT teams won’t be able to address the issue until after it’s already happened. This means tackling the problem in a reactive manner, like having to comb through log files to discover the issue.
Lastly, there’s slow response and resolution. Most of the time, IT staff have to manually correlate data to discover the cause of service outages. That requires spending extra time and labor on tedious tasks like sorting through naming conventions or looking up terms in support books.
The key to success in preventing widespread outages is often speed – the time it takes to get to a root cause, determine the actions it takes to fix the problem, and get approvals to make adjustments while ensuring those fixes don’t break other services.
So how does government address the challenges of service outages and continue to deliver its mission-critical functions without a hitch?
Take our new 10-minute, free online course, How to Improve Government Service Delivery, to find out.