7.3 Internal Communication Processes and Procedures

7.3 Internal Communication Processes and Procedures

The first section of this chapter we discussed processes that dealt with keeping the customer informed. Just as important as keeping the customer informed is keeping the ISD team informed. Internal communication processes and procedures are needed to ensure that the ISD team operates as a cohesive unit. Processes that aid in this effort are:

  • Help Desk Off- Hour Escalation

  • Team Contact List

  • Vendor Contact List

  • ISD Internal Request Procedure

  • Change Control Process

7.3.1 Help Desk Off-Hour Escalation Process

Most organizations don't have the luxury of keeping skilled technical staff on-site seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Instead, they rely on some type of on-call process to provide technical support to their customers during off-hours. The help desk is usually the source responsible for contacting the technical resources when needed. To enable the help desk to perform this task, an on-call list is maintained showing the technical resources on call and how to reach them. But what happens when the person on call is not responding to the help desk call/page? The customer is expecting a return call from the ISD organization based on the LOS agreement. To ensure customer satisfaction, the ISD organization needs to have an internal escalation procedure in place that would enable the help desk to find a technical resource.

Figure 7-1 lists an internal help desk call process for reaching on-call personnel during off-hours. The assumption being that during normal work hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.) the resources should be on-site and be able to respond within an acceptable time period. It is also based on the assumption that the customer's LOS states a two and one half-hour (2 ½) call back for a technical support person. If the call-back period needs to be shorter, adjust the times in the escalation process as required.

Figure 7-1. Help desk call process
graphics/07fig01.gif Help Desk Off-Hour Escalation

The help desk calls or pages the primary person on-call at, say, 8 p.m. This is the start of the "elapsed time" column showing "0:00." When the elapsed time reaches 15 minutes (clock time 8:15 p.m.), the help desk then calls or pages the primary person again for the second time. The help desk then waits till one and one half hours have gone by (clock time 9:30 p.m.) before then calling or paging the primary person and secondary person on-call. When you follow the call sequence to the bottom, the last call is to the ISD Manager two hours and forty-five minutes after (clock time 10:45 p.m.) the first call/page was placed.

7.3.2 Team Member and Vendor Contact Lists

Along with an internal help desk escalation process, there should be several documents in place to assist the ISD team members . Two of the more important documents are: (1) a team member list, and (2) vendor contact information. These might seem like very routine documents that any IS organization would maintain, but in many IT organizations they are nonexistent. The format of the documents is not important, so long as the key information is present.

These documents come in handy during off-hours system problems when the ISD staff is usually at home and needs help with a problem. These documents enable the on-call person to contact other team members and/or vendors to assist them in the problem. The last thing you want to be doing while working on a system problem is searching for phone numbers to get help.

Team Member List




Database Administrators

JJ Hughes




Maura Tomm




Joe Tardugno




UNIX System Administrators

Rachael Hughes




Grace Dunnigan




Albie DiPasquale




Novell/NT System Administrators

Nino DiPasquale




Nicholas Tardugno




Stephen Hughes




Vendor Contact List

Computer Center Modems

East Corner, bldg. 431


West Corner, bldg. 431


Paging System Modem


Backup Modem


Sun Microsystems


Contract # SC123456

Escalation Manager


Baydel Corporation


Customer Support No.


Escalation Manager


Oracle Corporation


CSI # 123435

GOLD Support Manager


Citrix Software Support


M-F, 8a.m. “9p.m.


all other times

7.3.3 ISD Internal Request Procedure

The ISD organization supports customers within its own organizations (DBA, OSA, developers) and customers outside the organization. A process needs to exist to manage the daily incoming requests for simple tasks . There is no need to open up formal projects for simple requests such as directory creations, account creations, special backups , and file restores . A request process should be defined to allow customers to submit simple requests into the ISD organization. Below is an example of a request process. ISD Internal Request Process

This procedure is to be followed to request standard UNIX and NT tasks such as: creation of directories and automount points, addition/changes to backup schedules, load tapes, special tape creation, changes to file and directory privileges, and running a script that requires root privileges. These standard tasks, in general, should not take more than one hour to complete, and are completed between Monday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For tasks that consume more than an hour, require a special element, and/or require special timing, it is best to request that the task be put on a project schedule and assigned a systems administrator.

Account creation and password-reset requests are handled by calling the help desk. For new accounts, an account form needs to be created (see the following steps).

  1. E-mail a message to requests@yourcompany.com with the word "request:" in the subject line. [*]

    [*] For emergency requests, clearly identify "emergency request:" in the subject line. These are requests that are standard in scope, but need to be accomplished within a short time frame.

  2. A UNIX or NT SA will respond by e-mail within 24 hours after they received the request. Within the e-mail they will state the approximate completion time of the request. For requests that can be completed within 24 hours, just a completion notification is sent.

  3. If no response is received from the SA team within 24 hours, the person making the request can escalate the request to the systems manager either by VMAX or e-mail. The systems manager will follow up with a phone message and e-mail to the person making the request.

  4. If there is no response to the request within 48 hours, the person making the request should contact the technical operations manager.

  5. A UNIX administrator will communicate via e-mail when the request has been completed.

IT Services Costs, Metrics, Benchmarking and Marketing
IT Services: Costs, Metrics, Benchmarking and Marketing (paperback) (Enterprise Computing Series)
ISBN: 0132621959
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2000
Pages: 93

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