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Incident Management in Practice

Incident Management is a core concept of ITIL® (Information Technology Infrastructure Library®), but how well does this translate into actual IT delivery?

Regardless of whether an organization has adopted ITIL, Incident Management of some kind will be present; the organization may call it something else or treat it as a normal support team duty, but Incident Management will be there.

When Incident Management is implemented utilizing ITIL, the key differences seen are:

  • Increased awareness of business impact
  • Concise, targeted communications
  • Increased collaboration
  • Speedier, prioritized resolution
  • Greater overall efficiency

‘Incidents,’ as described by ITIL, are issues that affect the delivery of services to customers. Categories of severity / priority are determined, agreed with customers and documented in Service Level Agreements.

Support teams become aware of Incidents through various sources: directly from users, ad hoc discovery during maintenance activities, or via monitoring tools.

ITIL promotes the management of Incidents from a business goal perspective, in that, returning normal service to customers as quickly as possible, or at least within agreed timeframes, is the desired outcome.

ITIL enables these benefits, by embracing the development of well thought-out, continually improved processes. This, in turn, promotes engagement and a greater understanding of what is required.

Often when people hear the term ‘Incident Management,’ high profile issues affecting large amounts of users come to mind. Whilst major issue management is a key component, Incident Management takes a holistic view of service availability, regardless of the severity of impact.

Recently, especially in larger organizations, the role of ‘Incident Manager’ has been replaced by ‘Incident Process Manager.’ This change recognizes the acceptance of Incident Management as a value adding function, rather than simply a person who manages major outages.

Effective Incident Management software is invaluable during ITIL adoption, particularly where tracking and reporting are concerned. The available data can also be used to identify reoccurring issues, for handover to Problem Management and process improvement resources.

Occasionally when implementing ITIL, some of the described definitions and terms, particularly concerning Incident / Problem Management, are altered to suit an organization’s perspective. While this can be a contentious subject, ITIL can accommodate such changes, as long as the fundamental concepts are not affected.

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About this author:

Jon Francum

Jon is the Director of Training at Ashford Global IT.

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