There’s nothing worse for an organisation than an IT incident that hampers business operations. In today’s fast-paced digital world, having a robust IT incident management plan in place is essential.
The primary goal of incident management is to resolve problems quickly and efficiently to minimise the impact of incidents on business operations.
This article explores the importance of ITIL incident management and the steps that organisations should follow during the incident management process. The article also discusses the dangers that businesses should be aware of and the importance of having a well-defined process for handling IT incidents.
What Is IT Incident Management?
IT incident management is a process that aims to handle unexpected issues and disruptions that occur within a company’s IT infrastructure. These disruptions can include computer crashes, software malfunctions, security breaches or network failures.
The primary goal of incident management is to resolve these problems quickly and efficiently to minimise the impact of incidents on business operations.
Incident management typically involves a team of specialists who work together to identify, diagnose and resolve problems. The process can also involve documenting the incident, communicating with stakeholders and developing strategies to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
By having a well-defined process for handling incidents, IT teams can respond more quickly and effectively to any issues that arise, thereby minimising downtime and reducing the impact on customers and the business as a whole.
Incident Management vs Problem Management
Incident management and problem management are both important processes in IT service management. While they share some similarities, there are some key differences between the two:
Incident management refers to the process of restoring normal service operations as quickly as possible following an incident or service disruption. This involves detecting, recording, classifying, prioritising and coordinating the appropriate response to resolve the issue and minimise the impact on the business.
Problem management focuses on identifying the root cause of recurring incidents or problems, and the process to prevent them from happening in the future. Problem management involves analysing incident data to identify trends and patterns, conducting root cause analysis and developing and implementing solutions to address underlying issues.
Incident management is reactive, focused on resolving incidents as quickly as possible, while problem management is proactive, focused on preventing incidents from happening in the first place. Both processes are important for maintaining high-quality IT service delivery and minimising disruptions to the business.
What Is ITIL Incident Management?
The main difference between regular IT incident management and ITIL incident management is that ITIL provides a structured and standardised approach to managing incidents, with defined roles and responsibilities, processes and best practices.
This process is closely related to other ITIL processes, such as problem management, change management, and service level management.
When an incident occurs, it may be caused by underlying issues that require further investigation and resolution. That’s why integrating incident management with these other processes is crucial to identifying and resolving underlying problems effectively.
With the ITIL incident management framework, you have a structured and efficient way to manage and resolve incidents. By following specific escalation and communication procedures, you can streamline the incident management process and minimise the impact on your business.
Useful Acronyms in IT Incident Management
Here is a list of essential acronyms that IT professionals should be familiar with in incident management to better comprehend technical IT terminology.
Why Is Incident Management Important?
At Xcession, we provide IT service management technologies that enable companies to implement streamlined processes for managing and resolving incidents.
Our commitment to helping businesses optimise their IT incident management processes has resulted in great results for our clients. In fact, one of our customers has seen an impressive 33% reduction in MTTR (mean time to resolution) as a direct result of implementing our technologies.
Here are some of the benefits that our customers enjoy through our IT service management technologies:
1. Minimises downtime
IT incident management aims to resolve incidents as quickly as possible to minimise the downtime that can result from IT service disruptions. This helps ensure that IT services are available to users when they need them, which can have a significant impact on the productivity and revenue of the organisation.
2. Maintains service quality
IT incident management helps maintain service quality by identifying and addressing incidents that could impact the performance or availability of IT services. By resolving incidents quickly, IT teams can minimise the impact of incidents on service quality and prevent them from escalating into larger problems.
3. Increases efficiency
By having a defined process for handling incidents, IT teams can respond more quickly and effectively to any issues that arise, which can increase efficiency and reduce the time required to resolve incidents.
4. Improves customer satisfaction
When IT incidents are resolved quickly and with minimal disruption, it can improve customer satisfaction and prevent negative impacts on customer relationships.
5. Provides valuable data
Incident management can provide valuable data about the types and frequency of incidents that occur within an organisation’s IT environment. This data can be used to identify trends, improve IT infrastructure and resources and develop strategies for preventing similar incidents in the future.
Dangers of Incident Management
In any organisation that relies heavily on IT, incidents are bound to happen. From server crashes to cyber attacks, there is a myriad of unforeseeable events that could impact service quality or business operations.
Incident management is an essential process that helps to swiftly identify and address such incidents. However, it is important to acknowledge that incident management is not without its risks.
Here are 10 dangers of IT incident management that businesses should be aware of. By understanding these risks, businesses can take proactive measures to mitigate the negative impacts of incidents and ensure business continuity.
- Inadequate communication during the incident management process can lead to confusion or misinformation.
- The inability to resolve incidents promptly can result in increased downtime and reduced productivity.
- The lack of proper documentation and analysis of incidents can lead to recurring incidents and unresolved issues.
- Failure to involve the necessary stakeholders can result in incomplete or ineffective incident management.
- Over-reliance on automated incident management tools may make it difficult to handle all types of incidents or may generate false alarms.
- Insufficient training for IT staff may result in a lack of knowledge and skills to handle incidents effectively.
- Inadequate testing and updating of incident management processes can lead to outdated or ineffective methods.
- Poor integration of incident management with other IT processes can cause inefficient and disjointed workflows.
- Neglecting to address the root causes of incidents can lead to recurring issues and increased risk over time.
- Failure to adapt to changing technologies or business needs can cause gaps in incident management coverage and effectiveness.
The IT Incident Management Process
The IT incident management process is a structured approach to addressing unexpected events that can impact service quality or service operations. The process involves the following steps:
Step 1: Incident logging
The first step is to log the incident by capturing all the relevant information about the incident, such as the time and date, location and nature of the problem.
Step 2: Incident categorisation
Once the incident is logged, it is categorised based on its severity and impact on the business. This allows for a more efficient and effective response to the incident.
Step 3: Incident prioritisation
Once the incident is categorised, it is prioritised based on the impact it has on the business. This ensures that the most critical incidents are dealt with first.
Step 4: Incident assignment
The incident is then assigned to the appropriate IT specialist or team who is responsible for resolving the incident.
Step 5: Task creation and management
Tasks are created and managed to ensure that the incident is resolved in a timely and efficient manner.
Step 6: SLA Management and escalation
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are established to ensure the incident is resolved within a certain timeframe. If the incident is not resolved within this timeframe, it is escalated to a higher-level support team.
Step 7: Incident resolution
The IT specialist or team works to resolve the incident by following established procedures and protocols.
Step 8: Incident closure
Once the incident is resolved, it is closed, and a report is created documenting the incident and its resolution. This report is used to identify opportunities for improvement in the incident management process.
The report can also be referenced if similar incidents occur in the future.
IT Incident Management Solutions
Xcession offers a range of IT service management solutions to help companies implement incident management processes. Here is a brief overview of some of the ITSM technologies that we offer.
iTop offers a powerful IT service management tool designed to help businesses manage multiple customers, contracts and SLAs. With iTop, companies can reduce costs, increase customer satisfaction and improve operational efficiency by creating a single repository shared by all teams.
iTop offers incident management features which allow companies to quickly and effectively respond to any IT incidents or changes, analysing their impact on various services and contracts.
Freshservice by Freshworks streamlines the incident management process with a ticketing dashboard to filter tickets based on incidents, service requests, properties and due dates.
The software includes great incident management features. With FreshService, you can collaborate with your team from a single screen and track who’s working on a ticket, its priority and its status. Freshservice allows you to link to a problem or change a record, view details about the requester and contact them directly through Google. You can also prioritise, categorise and assign tickets using ticketing rules.
Freshservice allows you to manage and track all your tickets in a single view from anywhere, monitor real-time changes in ticket status with the Freshservice mobile app, and enable enterprise-grade integrations with a marketplace approach built on an open and secure platform.
Jira Service Management
Jira Service Management is a powerful tool for businesses looking to streamline their IT incident management processes. It provides a comprehensive set of features that enable teams to collaborate effectively and deliver great service experiences across the board.
One of the standout features of Jira Service Management is its ability to connect dev, IT Ops and business teams on one platform. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and can work together to resolve incidents quickly.
By bringing teams together, Jira Service Management enables companies to rapidly identify, respond and resolve incidents, reducing MTTR and improving overall system reliability.
Whether you’re a small startup or a large enterprise, Jira Service Management is a versatile solution that can be tailored to your specific needs.
BMC Helix is an automated, ITIL-compliant incident management and problem management solution that helps IT organisations respond quickly and efficiently to conditions that disrupt critical services.
With a focus on getting users up and running after disruptions and determining the root cause of a problem, BMC Service Desk provides a single point of contact for user requests, user-submitted incidents and infrastructure-generated incidents.
ServiceNow provides an IT incident management solution that streamlines the process of restoring services and resolving issues quickly, ensuring that employees can easily contact support to track and fix issues, leading to increased productivity and a better experience.
With features such as major incident management integration, AI-powered agent portals, and a mobile app for agents, ServiceNow offers a comprehensive solution for incident management, enabling faster incident resolution with built-in machine learning and contextual help.
Example of IT Incident Management: Flight Centre
Flight Centre, a global travel business, was facing IT service management challenges due to relying on a basic service management system that had not been upgraded in years. The legacy technology led to inefficiencies and service disruptions, and many employees submitted incident requests via email, face-to-face or phone.
Flight Centre implemented ServiceNow’s IT Service Management (ITSM) and IT Operations Management (ITOM) solutions to replace its outdated legacy system. The implementation was done in two phases, and it took a total of 18 weeks to complete.
The first phase involved the deployment of ITSM, which included incident, problem and change management, as well as service catalogue and knowledge management. The second phase involved the deployment of ITOM, which included discovery, event management and service mapping.
One of the key benefits of the implementation was the reduction in the load of internal requests. Flight Centre was able to automate many of its IT service management processes, which reduced the number of calls to its service desk by 3,000 per month.
The company also gained better visibility into its IT operations and improved its reporting and analytics capabilities, which helped it make more informed decisions about resource allocation and service improvements.
Example of IT Incident Management: Zoom
Zoom experienced a massive surge in users due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with millions of people worldwide suddenly relying on the platform for remote work, education and socialising.
This increase in demand placed a significant strain on Zoom’s IT infrastructure, leading to several high-profile incidents, including security vulnerabilities and outages. In response, Zoom quickly implemented several improvements to its IT incident management processes.
Firstly, Zoom established a dedicated incident management team, which was responsible for responding to any issues that arose on the platform. This team consisted of representatives from various departments, including engineering, security and customer support, ensuring that incidents were addressed from all angles.
They also developed a formalised incident management process, which included clear procedures for identifying, escalating and resolving issues.
Zoom also invested heavily in infrastructure upgrades and network capacity to improve system stability and prevent outages. They worked closely with their cloud providers to optimise performance and minimise latency. They also implemented a bug bounty program to encourage security researchers to identify vulnerabilities in the platform proactively.
Zoom improved its communication and transparency with users during incidents, providing regular updates through its website and social media channels. They also established a status page that provided real-time information on the platform’s availability and any ongoing issues.
Zoom’s IT incident management response to the surge of users during COVID-19 was impressive, with the company quickly implementing improvements to ensure the platform’s stability and security.
By establishing a dedicated incident management team, investing in infrastructure upgrades and improving communication with users, Zoom was able to navigate the challenges of the pandemic successfully.
IT incident management is an essential process for businesses that rely heavily on IT services. By effectively managing incidents, businesses can minimise downtime, maintain service quality, increase efficiency and improve customer satisfaction.
Incident management is not without risks, and businesses should take proactive measures to mitigate these risks. By following a structured approach to incident management, businesses can respond more quickly and effectively to any issues that arise, thereby minimising downtime and reducing the impact on customers and the business as a whole.