What is ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)?
ITIL® is one of the the most popular approaches to IT service management in the world and is used by many successful major organizations. ITIL allows the organization to establish a baseline from which it can plan, implement and measure future business strategy. ITIL is often used to demonstrate compliance and measure improvement.
ITIL began as a response of the British government to the growing use of IT in the 1980s. The British wanted a process and order surrounding the use of IT. The result of the British government’s efforts were a set of recommendations and standard practices for IT management.
To date, service operation has become the most essential element of ITIL. Service operations ensure that an agreed upon level of service and quality are achieved, thus laying the groundwork for excellence.
What is the ITIL Incident Management Process?
The ITIL incident management process is the actual adoption of ITIL into a practical framework. The ITIL Management process is a way to ensure effective IT service delivery by the organization to meet their client’s needs when an incident occurs. The process focuses solely on handling and escalating incidents as they occur to restore defined service levels. The process does not consider root cause analysis or resolving deeper issues. Instead, it focuses on process and issue resolution.
Once the ITIL incident management process has been established, it provides significant and consistent value for the company. It provides a framework that provides rapid resolution of issues. It allows incidents to be resolved in time-frames previously unseen. For most organizations, the process moves support from emailing back and forth to a formal ticketing system with prioritization, categorization and SLA requirements.
For example, prior to adopting the ITIL Management Process, businesses might use email to receive and resolve issues sent to their IT desk. Emails are not always threaded and responses can fall off.
However, once an ITIL process has been established, the organization will likely move toward a robust process of ticketing and alerting.
When incidents come in, a ticket will be created to establish a record and indicate that the help desk has received notice of the problem. If the IT deterioration is significant and critical, a prominent and persistent alert notification should be forwarded to the developer or operations person best able to resolve the issue.
How Does the ITIL Incident Management Process Work?
The ITIL incident management process revolves around a series of defined steps. The steps are as follows:
- The service provider and customer create a service level agreement (SLA) between them that defines the path for incident priorities, escalation paths and response times.
- An incident is identified and logged.
- Templates are used to categorize the issue.
- The issue is prioritized based on severity and impact on the business
- Initial diagnosis is made on the issue. Can the service desk agent resolve the issue?
- Issue is escalated if more technical expertise is required to resolve the issue
- Investigation and diagnosis of the issue
- Resolution and recovery. Issue is resolved and service levels are returned to expected levels of performance
- Incident closure.
- Customer survey or internal survey to determine user satisfaction. This step enables the virtuous process of improvement to continue.
Each of these steps is important in the creation of a clear incident management process. Skipping the steps in an attempt to resolve the issue more quickly can easily lead to overwhelming IT teams and hurting SLAs.
What are ITIL Incident Management Process Best Practices?
For the ITIL incident management process to work, there must be buy-in from key levels of the organization. There must be buy-in from executives, managers, programmers and IT support.
Ideally, there will be a manager whose role is to oversee the ITIL process and ensure the needs of the various sides are met. The manager will also be tasked with implementing updates along the way and keeping the service desk apprised of SLAs and their updates.
For the ITIL service manager to be effective, they should consider implementing the following best practices:
1) Understand Current Management Process
In order to change the process, it is important to have the original process mapped out and understood. In particular, the deficiencies of the current process should be highlighted and examined for improvement.
2) Establish a Vision for the ITIL Incident Management Process
The ITIL service manager should also establish the vision for what he or she desires the management process to look like. Ideally, the process will include a ticketing process to track when incidents arrive, are resolved and closed.
Additionally, incidents might require escalation. In the case of escalation, there should be an alerting process to make sure that the escalation is heard and attended to.
3) Gap Analysis
After establishing an understanding of the current management process and establishing a vision, the ITIL service manager should identify what needs to be adjusted in the current process, what technologies need to be brought on and what competencies need to be hired.
4) Create a Road map
Create a road map or project plan that will describe the timeline for getting from where the team is now to where it needs to go. Identify when key changes will take place and who will be impacted. Define actions or tasks and who is responsible for carrying it out and how long they will have.
5) Begin Project Implementation
After careful planning, it is time to begin project implementation. Keep track of where you are in the project and communicate successes along the way.
How Does an ITIL Incident Management Process Align With the Service Desk?
Depending on the organization where ITIL is implemented, a dedicated IT staff might be the first line of defense in managing IT issues. In many organizations, the service desk is tasked with this role. Service desks (also known as Tier 1 support) are often staffed 24×7 and are able to manage the majority of user problems and issues.
Issues that the service desk might handle are ones such as:
• Password resets
• Inability to access applications
• Error messages
• Common workflow failures
If the issue is more serious such as failure of a key API or a downed server, the ticket would be escalated to the next service level. A critical issue like an API failure should have escalation associated with critical alerting functionalities so that the issue is resolved in a quick manner and SLAs are respected.
How Does OnPage fit Into the ITIL Incident Management Process?
OnPage fosters team collaboration and automates the alerting process. OnPage’s Incident alert management platform serves IT teams by incorporating ITSM alerts and incident management protocols defined by ITIL into their existing ITSM ecosystems. OnPage aids with faster incident resolution and uses real-time reporting to gain insights into alert volume and incident responder workloads.