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Incident Management And Its Impact

By Robert Hall, Support Analyst, Marval


ITIL defines an incident as an unplanned interruption to or quality reduction of an IT service; in other words, a disruption to normal service delivery. These disruptions can (and do) happen all the time, and in most cases they are dealt with easily, without resulting to any harm for the customer or the organisation. A Service Desk can receive hundreds of requests every day through various streams, like phone calls, email or their self-service portal. Depending on the responsiveness and effectiveness of the Service Desk, and of course the criticality or urgency of the incident itself, these disruptions can occasionally bear a negative impact for the enterprise, and affect critical business metrics, such as customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and sales revenue.

Most incidents can be managed rapidly and efficiently at first call, by Service Desk Analysts who follow a proven process and have access to the right tools. All incidents are methodically recorded, though, together with information about the incident, the customer and the potential impact.

So, you are a Service Manager or an ITSM software user, and your team diligently records incidents on the Service Desk; they process the necessary tasks or actions and everybody is happy. That’s why you bought the software in the first place, right?

Take a step back and consider what happened over the last month, 3 months or year. Have a look at the customer that had the highest number of incidents recorded over a period of time. What can you learn from the data being held? How can you use this information for the benefit of your team, your organisation or the customer?

Well, an important approach to take is to consider the accuracy and content of the data – have there been erroneous additions of a vendor name for example? Dell, DELL, DeLL, D E L L  are not the same as each other in terms of consistency and equality; this kind of error can be very misleading, and if your Service Desk software permits this you can guarantee it will have happened. Tidy up the data, emphasise the importance of accuracy to the team and try to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Secondly you can make more frequent and smaller checks on the incident details so that you can be sure the correct classifications are being used and team members are not just using ‘Unknown’ or ‘Not Listed’ (because the correct classifications do not exist or they don’t know better).

Lastly consider how you will review the incidents. Whom will the summary be seen by, how do they best understand the figures? Graphs, Pivot Tables, Columns of data?

Any incident recorded in the system can have crucial bits of information which, if used properly, can help the Service Desk (and the organisation as a whole) improve their performance, facilitate decisions, boost customer satisfaction and drive revenue from their existing customer service. Incidents are disruptions and can bear an impact to the enterprise; but this impact doesn’t have to be negative! With the right technology, we can make it a positive one.


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