How to minimize the impact of incidents on the delivery of IT services?

March 23 2017

A support service center is usually all about a varied number of tickets, incidents and requests service. At times, these daily activities become more complex and critical, significant or repeated incidents affect the efficiency of information systems. In response to this event, the goal of IT managers and employed is clear: minimize the impact of these incidents / problems in the delivery of IT services. Problem Management, an ITIL process framework, must therefore be achieved through the rapid access and availability of information covered. Here is a brief overview of the process and the need to measure the results in order to improve performance.

The Problem Management Process

Problem management is a proactive process that centralizes the resolution of interruptions by searching and correcting the root of the problem. Closely related to incident management, it retrieves the information collected at the level of incidents and centralizes the resolution.

Why Should we Measure?

To minimize the business effects of incidents and problems, and prevent the appearance in anticipating through corrective, predictive or proactive measures,. This audit can improve the quality of services and undoubtedly increase customer satisfaction. This measure is also used to improve teams motivation and generally reduces workload, eliminating recurring issues.

How to Measure?

To measure these different activities, some analysis are needed, here are some of them:

  • Current Incidents Analysis (reactive mode)
  • Statistical analysis of Incidents (proactive or preventative mode)
  • IT infrastructure analysis and problems database consultation (external)

What Tools to Choose?

In order to minimize the impact on the business units and users, some tools allow the generation of reports and useful to the audit documentation:

  • Knowledge Base
  • Documentation of new services (hardware, software, applications)
  • Periodic audits of processes.
  • Statistics and reports on the control of problems and errors.

What are the Preferred Metric?

The metrics used in the publication of reports are mainly generated from the history of interventions for the management of incidents and problems. They enable fairly detailed statistics about the service quality and the efficiency of the process.

As incident management, the indicators use information such as the number of problems and errors identified, the number of change requests expressed and corrections actually carried out and, if possible, an estimation of the gain in terms of availability of the information system and an estimate of costs.

Here are some performance indicators used in problem management:

Improving Service Quality

  • Reducing the number of incidents reported by the problem.
  • Reducing the number of incidents affecting services provided to clients.
  • Percentage of reduction of known errors and problems.
  • Improvement over time of production of management reports.
  • Improved response time (customer self-service) vis-à-vis the interruptions caused by incidents / problems

Minimizing the Impact of Problems on Business

  • Reducing troubleshooting time.
  • Improved implementation time to fix known errors.
  • Reduced time of problems diagnosic.
  • Reduction in the number of diagnosed problems.
  • Reducing the number of problems / pending known errors / pending resolution

Reducing the impact of problems on users

  • Limiting interruptions related to problems.
  • Reducing the number of escalated problems.
  • Budget optimization of IT projects management.
  • Increased number of proactive changes triggered by problem management, in this case by the reviews of incidents and major problems.

How these Measures Allow a Better Service Quality?

Ultimately, this analysis and these metrics will reduce the impact on the company and the users. It can be applied through three axes or impact fields. Here is an overview of these three axes, some implementation advantages and useful indicators, or KPIs.

IMPACT AREA # 1: Improved Quality of Service

Implementation Benefits:

  • Begins a cycle of rapid improvement in the quality of service
  • Good for users and production teams

IMPACT AREA # 2: Reduction of the volume of incidents and implementation of final solutions

Implementation Benefits:

  • Fewer interruptions in business operations
  • Progressive reduction in the number and impact of problems and known errors because those are solved permanently.

IMPACT AREA # 3: Improved Self-learning Capacity

Implementation Benefits:

  • Based on the concept of learning from experience passed through trend analysis and storage solutions
  • Best rate of immediate resolution by the service centre

Other Concrete Benefits

The implementation of a problem management process has many advantages:

  • Again and again the improvement of service quality.
  • In addition, through snowball effect, through the provision of permanent solutions, this improvement reduces the volume of incidents.
  • Best of all, these benefits also benefit the incident management and service desk allowing better incident resolution rate in the early interventions.
  • Finally, this type of management allows not to act urgently and allows to focus on the important events taking into account the company's needs and budget constraints.

The Importance of Continuous Service Improvement

Ensure that the metrics and key performance indicators continue to meet the objectives. To achieve this, it is important to monitor and compare the metrics continuously. The dashboard is an interesting tool for this work. This overview can take the form of a web page, an Excel spreadsheet or a report. A change in the results may indicate a problem that must be addressed through a revision process elements.

Appropriate Methods and Best Practices

  • Start small, stay focused: do not try to create problems for all incidents. Make sure the bridge or informational bridge between incidents and problems is well established.
  • Back to the source: it is the essence of management problems. Further investigation to identify the cause.
  • Understand the benefits and limitations of the reports / measurement tools: knowing that a report / tool provides information like / statistics.
  • Learning from success stories: give as references the history of those who have implemented effective problem management.
  • Measure, review and communicate: continuous improvement means that the processes and metrics in place are always subject to revision. It is also essential to communicate and involve the various stakeholders to unify the vision.

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