To really know if your business is heading on the right track, you have to watch how your customer is realizing business service value. Afterall, Peter Drucker says “The purpose of a business is to create a customer”. One of the most important keys to good service value realization is the ITIL processes. Incident management is probably the most adopted of all the ITIL processes. If getting service restored ASAP is one of your goals (hint: it should be), then the ITIL incident process is the way to go. This process enables a user to continue to be productive even if something goes wrong with a delivered service. Happy customers and users are the goal, and incident management can help you achieve it.
Logging, categorizing, and other activities support incident management, since they allow errors to be shared with the organization swiftly. The incident process is fueled by these activities, which helps organizations achieve customer value and efficient incident management. It’s very important to understand the order of activities, too. If they’re not followed correctly, the operational efficiency, performance or business outcome for your organization might not be what you’d like. If you skip logging and go straight to categorizing an error that a user is dealing with, for example, then the organization may find itself having an issue with operational efficiency. The diagram below is a good example of how to follow the activities. Notice that the activities used to record errors are also connected to a lot of other processes. This includes problem management, event management, functional teams, and more.
Your business should avoid creating unneeded complexity in this process with the use of technology and data. All that you need to do is record the user’s incident, then send it to the department that can handle it. Anything more complicated than that and you’re going about the process the wrong way. Adding extra steps can result in performance issues, leading to customer dissatisfaction with the service desk or the IT organization as a whole.
This title isn’t kidding. There are quite a lot, but they all are important. The major process activities are here. Please note that the order is extremely important if you want to process an incident correctly. Imagine a situation where a user is having a problem with your services. This is when these activities would kick in, one after the other:
- Detecting and Identifying
- Recording and Logging
- Investigating and Diagnosing
- Resolving and Recovering
Supporting activities are:
- Decisions for process exits
- Specific Roles and governance
- Goal and Objective
- Formal documentation
- Resources (Financial, People, Infrastructure, etc)
- Capabilities (Knowledge, People, etc)
Innovation opportunities with incident management can be related to emerging technologies and other best practices, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Those spicy topics will come up later…a blog post down the road, maybe?
Remember the diagram above? Get comfortable with it. Each activity or process on the diagram could present an opportunity for automation and/or maturity of your incident management processes. In all process designs, organizations should make the process “best” for the organization and its customers.
About Anthony Orr
With more than thirty years working in various IT strategy, managerial, consulting, executive advisory, marketing, and technical positions. Anthony is author of the ITIL v3 2011 publications and the ITIL MALC exam book, as well as a Sr. Examiner for the ITIL v2, v3 and Cyber-Resilience certification examinations. He has published numerous podcasts, videos, booklets, white papers and articles, including a white paper, Synergies between ITIL and DevOps, with AXELOS. Anthony has traveled to over 50 countries and lectured at universities around the world.
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