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