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Salesforce, ITSM & ITIL

Here at ThirdEye, we’ve implemented custom ITIL-compliant ITSM solutions for several Service Cloud customers, which is why we were excited to learn that Salesforce’s latest release now enables Service Cloud customers to implement ITIL-compliant ITSM solutions using new standard objects.

The standard Salesforce case object is one of the core Salesforce objects, available with both Sales Cloud and Service Cloud; it allows an organisation to capture and manage ‘cases’ relating to a customer and is supported by a wealth of related features when used as part of a Salesforce Service Cloud implementation. However, as any Salesforce professional tasked with implementing an ITIL-compliant solution will know, the term ‘case’ is too ambiguous, and the case object too broad; further customisation is necessary to meet requirements. 

 

What are ITSM and ITIL?

  • ITSM: Information Technology Service Management 

ITSM refers to the creation, managing and delivery of IT Services to customers; it covers the processes as well as the technology to realise maximum efficiency and value.

  • ITIL: Information Technology Infrastructure Library 

ITIL is a framework that defines the best practices around implementing ITSM successfully.

Many other frameworks exist and can be used as the basis for ITSM, such as COBIT 5, eTOM, ISO/IEC 20000, MOF (Microsoft Operations Framework) etc, however, ITIL is the most widely adopted. There’s a lot more to ITSM & ITIL; the above is  intentionally a super-simplified explanation; many articles on ITSM and ITIL are already available online that cover both in great depth.

The element of ITIL that Salesforce has now added to their offering is the different work types and how they relate, which are as follows:

Service Request:

A request from a User for information or advice or a standard change. For example, reset a password or provide standard IT services for a new user. A service desk usually handles service requests. 

In ITIL a standard change is a change that doesn’t require authorisation, such as a password reset or change of email address for a user, as opposed to a normal change or emergency change where authorisation is required.

Incident:

Any event which is not part of the standard operation of a service and which causes, or may cause, an interruption to, or a reduction in, the quality of that service.

Problem:

The unknown underlying cause of one or more Incidents. These might be resolved in the short term by implementing a workaround.

Change:

The addition, modification, or removal of approved, supported or baselined hardware, network, software, application, environment, system, desktop build, or associated documentation.

To understand the above work types, let’s use the example of an internet service provider.  A customer may be experiencing a loss of connectivity, which they report as an Incident, several users/customers may report similar incidents and if a significant amount of customers are affected this would be classified as a major Incident.  A problem would then be created to perform root cause analysis to identify the cause, for example, a hardware fault. One or more change requests would then be created to request approval for the faulty hardware to be replaced and once the change requests have been approved and the change implemented, the problem will have been resolved and the Incidents related to that problem would also have been resolved.

To implement the above model previously, it was necessary to either A) Create separate record types for each work type and enforce the hierarchy between them, or B) Create custom objects and relationships.

With the winter 22 release, Salesforce Service Cloud now contains standard objects to allow customers to implement an ITIL compliant solution. To enable these objects and make them available for use, search for ‘Incident Management’ in the setup menu and then enable the feature using the toggle switch. The Incident Management feature is included as part of the standard Service Cloud licence and is available at no extra cost.

What does the incident management feature include?

The incident management feature includes the following objects:

Case-related issue, incident, problem-incident relationship, problem, change request related issue & change request. The ERD below shows how these objects relate to each other to help facilitate an ITIL-compliant solution:

In this model, the standard case object is used for Service Requests. Each ITIL specific work type has its own standard object; standard junction objects are then used to create the relationships between the different work types. This removes the need to use multiple record types on the case object or create custom objects to achieve an ITIL compliant solution.

Although Salesforce now provides us with the objects, we still need to create supporting automation to implement a comprehensive end-to-end solution that conforms to the ITIL framework and a customer’s specific requirements. However, this is a massive step towards standardising the process and facilitating a universal approach to ITIL compliance across Salesforce Service Cloud orgs, and we are very excited to see what comes down the road in future releases!

If you’re an existing or potential Salesforce Service Cloud customer looking to implement or upgrade to an ITSM solution based on the ITIL framework and supported by the power of the Force.com platform, ThirdEye has the experience and the expertise to help you realise your vision.

 

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