ITIL Incident Management: Managing Technical Chaos

Incident Management: Managing the technical chaos

So what is an Incident Management? ITIL Library states an Incident “is any event which is not part of the standard operation of the service and which causes, or may cause, an interruption or a reduction of the quality of the service.” The goal of ITIL Incident Management is to return normal functionality to the customer quickly while minimizing the impact to the business. Incident Management is also focused on fixing the customer’s issue. The Help Desk is charged with resolving the incident quickly to reduce the impact to the business. If the Help Desk is unable to resolve the incident, they escalate the ticket to a resolver group. The resolver groups have to be efficient and be able to implement a fix or at least a temporary workaround. Once the customer is working, the Help Desk can figure out what the root cause was with problem management. Incident Management processes include creating an incident record, assigning a priority, assign to appropriate resolver groups, and follow up with the customer before closing the Help Desk Incident ticket.

Creating an incident management ticket or record

How does a call center or help desk keep track of all of the requests for help from customers? You can keep track of all the requests for help and incident management support interactions with a ticket tracking system or application. Having an IT Help Desk ticket tracking system to record your incident management support interactions are important. Some of the most popular IT Help Desk ticketing systems are BMC Remedy, Zendesk, ServiceNow, CA Technologies, Hornbill, and Cherwell. Creating an incident ticket is a permanent record while support is provided to the customer. The ticket is the official record for when the issue occurred, the exact support steps provided and how it was resolved.

Assigning a priority

Incident Management Priority Matrix
Incident Management Priority Matrix

When you have hundreds or thousands of incident calls or emails from customers requesting help, you need a way to prioritize. The industry standard method of determining incident priority is to use a priority matrix. ITIL defines Incident priority by identifying the Incident’s impact and urgency. Incident impact is usually related to a number of users affected by the incident. Urgency is a measurement of the speed required to resolve the incident based on the customer and business needs. Together a Priority can be determined. I Priority 1 Incident is the most critical and usually an outage of a mission critical service for the company.

Incident assignment to appropriate resolver groups

When the Help Desk incident management is unable to resolve an incident they needed to send the Help Desk ticket to a resolver group, which are specialized groups that have the knowledge and skill to solve the incident. Examples of resolver groups are Network, Database, Windows, Desktop Support and Telecommunication teams.When the resolver group is able to resolve the incident they then update the ticket with the specific resolution activities performed. The Help Desk Incident ticket is then reassigned back to the Help Desk.

Customer follow up and Help Desk ticket closure

Once the IT Help Desk receives the reassigned Help Desk Incident ticket is a resolved status, then the Help Desk must confirm the resolution with the customer that the Incident is resolved before closing the Help Desk Incident ticket. The follow up activity must be recorded into the Help Desk Incident ticket. If the customer is unavailable, the IT Help Desk should have rules to follow to have a minimum amount of attempts to reach the customer before closing the ticket. Wayne Schlicht, a 20 year veteran IT Help Desk Manager, provides some insight. Wayne states;

“The IT Help Desk agent should make three attempts to confirm resolution with the customer with two different methods such as email and voice in a five day period before closing the IT Help Desk Incident ticket.”

If the customer calls back into the IT Help Desk to report the Incident is not resolved after the ticket has been closed, then the Help Desk should not reopen the ticket.The IT Help Desk should open a new Help Desk Incident ticket and relate it to the closed incident and then continue the resolution activities.



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