What is Incident Management Software?
Effective incident management is defined as the quick return to normal operations of a system or operation after a disruptive event such as server downtime, a failed API or failed technology. Incident management software is the necessary technology required to lead a team through the process of incident management. These are typically defined as the steps involved in the ITSM practices which lie at the core of proper incident management.
The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Separates Incident Management Into the Following Categories:
- Logging the incident
- Prioritizing the incident
- Diagnosing the incident
- Escalating the issue if necessary
- Investigating the issue
- Resolving the issue
- Incident closure
Incident management software ensures that proper attention is paid to each of these components. If left unattended, incidents could cause the loss or disruption of an organization’s operations. Additionally, IMS enables the success of subsequent reports, responses, remediation and incident prevention.
The goal of an IMS platform is typically to improve an organization’s service desk and improve users’ ability to communicate with IT. If the service desk does not properly manage these incidents, then they have the potential to escalate into emergency situations. Hence, the software, by providing tickets to incidents enables improved management. IMS also enables engineers to categorize tickets based on level of severity.
Once installed, effective incident management software enables IT teams to see recurring value for the business. Teams have the ability to quickly resolve incidents and achieve levels of rapid resolution that were previously unattainable.
Who Does it Help?
Incident management software is used by engineers managing the IT infrastructure, managed services, NOC or help desks. The software allows the IT or ITOps team the ability to improve management of tickets and simplify service request times.
Additionally, using an effective incident management software will allow IT teams to automate the process of discovering incidents, alert on high-priority issues, update SLAs and centralize the process of incident management.
IMS and SLAs
Service level agreements (SLAs) define the level of service quality that the help or service desk typically needs to maintain in order to meet management’s expectations. Incident management software helps in achieving SLAs because it helps keep track of the time until a ticket is in process and resolved.
The breach of a service level is itself an incident and can trigger an incident in the incident management software. Teams might determine that based on violation of an SLA, escalation of the ticket might be required.
What are the Components of an Effective Incident Management Software?
For an Incident Management Software to be effective, it needs several components. The list starts with establishing a clear process prior to the time an incident ever happens and ends with a post-mortem after an incident is resolved.
Incident management software doesn’t simply start and end with just the technology. Rather, for the technology to do its job and ensure a rapid detection and response to incidents, teams need to develop a process for how they will become apprised of incidents, who will be responsible for resolving the incident and what happens once the incident is resolved. Without strong choreography, incident management software will be a wasted investment.
These formal processes do take time for teams to develop but once in place ensure that better outcomes will result for IT, users and management.
Ticketing – IMS needs a method through which it can create tickets. Tickets are at the core of successfully creating and managing incidents. Without the ability to create tickets and establish a timeline of events, incident management will quickly become a chaotic endeavor.
Incident prioritization is important for achieving SLAs. An incident’s priority is determined by the significance of its impact on users and on the business and its urgency.
Escalation Policy – An escalation policy makes sure that if an incident ticket is not acknowledged by the on-call engineer, it will be escalated to the next person in the on-call line-up. Escalation policies ensure that a ticket is attended to and managed effectively. This ensures customer and internal incidents are not dropped.
Alerting – Alerting is an important integration for incident management software as it ensures that when a high-priority ticket is created, the ticket is not ignored by the on-call team. Typically, when tickets are created they are designed to automatically send an email to the right on-call team. However, if the incident is a high-priority issue then sending an email is not ideal as email can easily bury the incident under low-priority emails.
For most organizations, the process of installing an incident Alert management software platform enables organizations to move from emailing back and forth to a formal ticketing system with alerting based on priorities of the incident.
Ticket Updates – Effective incident alert management software also requires the ability to update any ticket that it creates. Without this capability, a manager seeing the ticket will not be able to view the ticket status or know who the ticket was assigned to.
IMS not only updates incidents as they are happening, they also aggregate data along the way that can be used after the incident is resolved to improve processes going forward. This data is often used in a post-mortem to further define SLAs or review existing processes.
Incident management software provides visibility of incident management and makes it simple for management to rely on numbers instead of suppositions.
Why IMS is Important for IT Teams
As the goal of an IMS platform is ensuring that the help or service desk of IT and managed service teams achieve their maximum efficiency, it is important for them to have access to an IMS platform that enables them to prioritize and resolve tickets.
IMS Systems Benefits the Organization as a Whole Because They Enable:
- Maintenance of more continuous service levels
- Meeting requirements for IT service availability
- Higher efficiency and productivity throughout the organization
- Better end user satisfaction
- Documentation of IT service management value to the enterprise