Incident management is a crucial aspect of IT service delivery. Properly addressing and handling incidents can make the difference between a minor disruption and a significant outage. Here, we delve into the core components of the incident management process, breaking them down into triggers, inputs, outputs, and interfaces.

1. Triggers:

Triggers are the catalysts that initiate the incident management process. They can originate from various sources:

  • Users reaching out to the service desk via a call or a web form.
  • Automated alerts from event management tools.
  • Technical staff identifying potential issues.
  • Suppliers notifying the service desk of potential or actual problems.

2. Inputs:

The incident management process requires a series of inputs, some of which are:

  • Status and details about Configuration Items (CIs).
  • Information on known errors and possible workarounds.
  • Feedback and communication regarding incidents and their symptoms.
  • Updates on Request for Changes (RFCs) and releases, whether implemented or planned.
  • Event triggers from event management.
  • Operational and service level objectives.
  • Customer feedback on incident resolution and the overall incident management process.
  • Pre-defined criteria for incident prioritization and escalation.

3. Outputs:

After processing, the incident management cycle produces several outputs:

  • Resolved incidents along with actions taken for resolution.
  • Updated incident management records with a comprehensive incident history.
  • Improved incident classifications for proactive problem management.
  • Problem records for incidents without a known underlying cause.
  • Validation of non-recurrent incidents for resolved problems.
  • Feedback on incidents related to changes and releases.
  • Identified CIs associated with or affected by incidents.
  • Satisfaction feedback from affected customers.
  • Evaluative feedback on monitoring technologies and event management practices.
  • Detailed communication about incident and resolution histories to gauge service quality.

4. Interfaces:

Incident management interfaces with various other processes and departments throughout its lifecycle:

Service Design:

  • Service Level Management (SLM): SLM defines acceptable service levels, including incident response times, impact definitions, target fix times, and more. Incident management, in return, provides data to SLM for objective SLA reviews.
  • Information Security Management: This interface provides data on security-related incidents, essential for evaluating security measures’ overall effectiveness.
  • Capacity Management: Incident management acts as a trigger for performance monitoring and might develop workarounds for incidents.
  • Availability Management: Utilizes data from incident management to measure IT service availability and suggests improvements.

Service Transition:

  • Service Asset and Configuration Management: Provides data for identifying and processing incidents, determining faulty equipment, assessing impacts, and categorizing incidents.
  • Change Management: Required for implementing workarounds or resolutions. Incident management can also detect incidents resulting from failed changes.

Service Operation:

  • Problem Management: Collaborates with incident management to investigate and resolve underlying causes, providing known errors and workarounds for faster incident resolution.
  • Access Management: Incidents are raised when unauthorized access attempts are detected. A maintained incident history supports forensic investigations and resolves access breaches.

In conclusion, incident management is a complex yet vital process, ensuring smooth IT operations. By understanding its triggers, inputs, outputs, and interfaces, organizations can optimize the management of incidents, minimizing disruptions and maximizing service quality.

References: ITIL Service Operation, 2011 edition, ISBN 9780113313075