A strong event management process that is able to detect changes of state throughout an organization’s IT environment is a key aspect of a complete suite of service management processes. Event management ultimately helps an organization maintain control through an understanding of the state of things, and how the state of those things changes in an IT environment.
The “ITIL Service Operation” book describes the following objectives of the event management process:
Objective One — Event management should detect changes of state that are significant to the management of configuration items and IT services
This objective is important because in order for an event management process to be effective, it must understand the wide range of configuration items in an IT environment, the wide range of states that those items can be in and what those states mean to the delivery of IT services. In other words, effective event management requires a complete understand of the various things that can happen to the resources in an IT environment.
Objective Two — Determine the appropriate actions to take when an event occurs, and communicate these to the appropriate parts of the organization
When an event occurs the service provider must decide what to do about that event. Most events, in most IT organizations, are simply logged and ignored. Many events, however, require some type of action. An effective event management process clearly understands what action to take when different events occur, and it performs those actions consistently and predictably. Additionally, in the case that an event needs to be communicated to a specific function in the organization, a strong event management process performs such communication consistently so that the function can take predictable and repeatable action based on communication of the event.
Objective Three — Provide the trigger or entry point for many service operations processes and activities
Event management is often a triggering mechanism for many other service management processes and activities. For example, events are often indicators of an incident. An organization that is clear about how it is using event management, has thought about and defined all of the ways that events are indicators of things like incidents, or are triggers for various other processes and activities in the IT environment. For example, in a cloud computing environment, an organization might use event management to detect when the utilization of a physical server has exceeded a specific threshold. This might trigger spinning up a new physical server, which can then be partitioned in the various virtual servers that meet business utilization requirements.
Objective Four — Provide the means to compare actual performance in an IT environment against desired performance
Part of what event management does is continually observe the IT environment, and then compare the results of those observations against what is desired or expected to happen. This, in turn, shows the organization when performance in the IT environment is deviating from normally expected levels of performance. This, in turn, will potentially trigger some kind of automated or manual activity in response to changes in performance.
Objective Five — Provide a basis for service assurance, reporting, and improvement
Event management generates a wealth of data that can be used as an audit trail in an IT environment to show historically the performance and change in state of configuration items and services. Additionally, much of the data generated by event management can be used to feed an organization’s service reporting activities. Finally, those logs of event data that are often ubiquitous in an IT organization can be a useful source for identifying potential improvement opportunities to feed continual service improvement activities.
A functioning event management process is key service management activity that allows an organization to demonstrate control over its environment. ITIL® gives several objectives to an event management process. Organizations that think about, and establish, their event management process in-line with these documented objectives tend to demonstrate better control over their IT environments.