Success Factors in Incident Management

I’ve posted here, here and here some introductory information about Incident Management. This post will be on the subject of success, and success factors, if you are introducing Incident Management into your Helpdesk or Service Desk. I’m going to assume you are moving from a 'zero' position, starting to embrace ITSM.

  1. Culture. Culture is really important, and being specific I mean the culture of work and service present in your helpdesk or service desk. I’ll state straight away that ITSM is, in my view, not about ‘making the life of IT staff easier’ particularly at the start. The focus is on improved customer and business service, and about higher standards generally in IT service delivery.

As an example, I’ve heard objections to Incident Management such as ‘I don’t have time to log all Incidents’, ‘Choosing a priority and category takes too long, I just want to capture a description’ or ‘This data is of no use anyway’. I'd take these as signs of gentle resistance.

If you are reading this, and you are the IT manager, or Service Delivery Manager, you certainly have a significant role to play in changing this culture (though it’s beyond the scope of this post to discuss strategies for doing this).

  1. A Knowledgebase. I know I said I was discussing this from the perspective of the 'zero' position, but it’s usually possible to make a start on writing down your most common problems and their solutions, and in doing so you’ll make a significant contribution to productivity. There are also a number of very good commercially available sources of knowledgebase content you can use (though choose wisely, and don't overwhelm staff with irrelevant content).

Make development part of your Incident Management process by encouraging engineers to suggest articles. If you are a Serio user, you can include ‘nomination’ to knowledgebase content as part of your resolution process. 

  1. A Configuration Management Database (CMDB). Yes, I know – if you are in the 'zero' position you won’t have one. They really do help and are important, so view the period whilst your processes mature as an interim period until you have a CMDB at your disposal. Whilst you are in this interim period, sometimes using network-based tools such as the Serio Inventory Agent/Workstation explorer can help.
  2. You need an ITSM tool, and you need to have a reasonable idea of how to use it. I have seen people trying to use spreadsheets and it never works in my opinion.
  3. If you are a manager, set yourself some real, tangible, possible (i.e., deliverable) objectives for the first few months of your Incident Management process. It might be ‘reduce Incident resolution times by 20% over 3 months’ or more simply ‘reduce Incident numbers by 10%’ or ‘improve measured customer satisfaction over the period’. Whatever it is, set yourself some goals.