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Incident Management Best Practices

Step by Step
ITIL

A Step-by-Step Guide

ITIL Incident Management aims to minimize disruption to the business by restoring service operation to agreed levels as quickly as possible. Incident Management is often the rst process instigated when introducing the ITIL quality framework to a Service Desk, and it oers the most immediate and highly visible cost reduction and quality gains.

Step 1: Choose the Right Tool


Getting the process and the dened roles correct for your objectives is the main goal. Automating those processes makes it all easier, faster, more eective and ecient. The software used to handle Incident Managment should include all of the following features: 1. Ability to manage an incident through the entire lifecycle 2. Enforcement of standardized methods and procedures ensuring ecient and prompt handling of all incidents 3. An automatic escalation system that prioritizes and routes incidents according to your specic requirements including Service Level Agreements 4. Ability to classify incidents 5. Ability to report on high level or down to the detail on every incident real-time 6. Ability to allow any user to request and track incident status 7. An integrated and searchable knowledgebase that can be populated with common solutions and work-arounds to known problems 8. Ability to manage and report on Key Process Indicators (KPIs) such as number of incidents by category, priority, resolution, service level agreement, etc.

Sample Incident Management Process


New TechExcel ServiceWise includes a graphical workow editor. With this editor, organizations may draw their process into place. To the left is an example of how an organization might choose to implement the incident mangement process.

Tip: Items to include on an Incident Form


- Incident Owner - Date submitted -- Incident Classication - Priority - Description of the incident - Resolution Details

Submit New Incident Incident Review Tie r1

Pick up Work in Progress Tier 1 Need More Info

Additional Info Requested

Need More Info

Escalate to Tier 2 Work in Progress Tier 2

Notify Customer Resolved Notify Customer Resolved Resolved Closed

Every IT organization should seek to automate processes whenever possible, and the Incident Management process is no exception. Automation is important because it minimizes processing errors, facilitates faster response times, and helps to ensure process compliance. There are countless options for automating the processes related to Incident Management, ranging from email notications to escalation alerts to knowledgebases with artical intelligence. What is critical is selecting and using automation wisely. Buy and use the automation tools that make sense for your organization those that help you manage incidents more eciently and eectively.

Step 2: Automate

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Incident Management Best Practices


A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 3: Share Information
Giving the Incident Management process access to information greatly improves its capability to resolve incidents quickly and eciently. Information stores such as knowledgebases play a key role. Properly congured and updated knowledgebases will help analysts identify known problems, recommend xes and workarounds, and alert analysts of potential issues. Integrating Incident Management with a knowledgebase that is customer facing also empowers customers to nd answers to their own problems and, assuming a web-based system, is available to them 24/7.

To realize the true benets of a formalized process, executive buy-in and support is foundational. To sell formalized Incident Management as well as any other ITIL process in the organization, proponents must communicate the benets in terms everyone will understand. Many of the potential benets--more ecient use of IT resources, Integrated knowledge search within Incident Management elimination of redundant work, enhanced projects, greater reliability and availability of IT services--will apply to many facets of the business. Proponents need to educate managers about how these benets will apply to the organization, how they will be measured, and the downside of not using best practices in managing IT services.

Step 4: Gain Support of the Executives

Closely linking Incident Management processes with Conguration and Problem Management will improve your ability to share information and manage incidents proactively. Problem Management processes allow your organization to eliminate the pesky root causes of incidents. Close ties to Conguration Management will allow potential conguration problems to be identied and resolved prior to the occurrence of incidents.

Step 5: Integrate With other IT processes

One of the major benets, if not THE benet of process orientated approaches to managing IT services and infrastructure is that it enables continuous improvement. An organization is never totally satised with the current state of aairs and always wants to improve its service oerings. ITIL enables continuous improvement by allowing organizations to start measuring everything in IT. That is why it is so important to record everything. Technical people normally avoid documentation, they resist to documenting everything they do while they have more important tasks to complete like xing a critical server. The benet of having everything recorded outweighs the hassle of recording it by far. However, take note, it usually takes some eort to realize these benets, which makes it even more dicult to get the techies recording their work. Tip: Map out the roles and responsibilities and associated service levels for Incident Management. At a minimum, the
processes should include: Call logging, Call assignment, Call resolution, Call documentation and knowledge transfer, and Call closure.

Step 6: Strive for Continuous Improvement

While Incident Management can be a thankless job, its a core process that every IT sta needs to master. Incident Management is the linchpin that connects the community of IT services users to the resources for resolving incidents that exist within IT shops. Incident Management identies, classies, and manages the resolution of incidents while minimizing their impact to the business. This role is critical in ensuring that the impact of IT incidents on the business is managed eectively, and it oers the hope that future incidents can be mitigated as Incident Management programs become more proactive.

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