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By Colin Bartram, Director of Technology, Vector Networks (Page 2 of 4)

ITIL concepts of Incident and Problem Management

Customers frequently purchase a Vector's HelpDesk or Issue Tracker solution with an initial focus on streamlining, managing and reporting on the resolution of issues reported by end users; in ITIL terms this is ‘Incident Management’. This is where monthly service desk metrics such as resolution times are important. Our customers have access to a suite of reports covering issue resolution characteristics, designed to help them monitor and improve service desk performance down to the level of individual team members. The out-of-the-box report set includes –

  • Resolved Issues – Average Age and Time Spent
  • Resolved Issues – Average Age, by Owner
  • Resolved Issues – Average Age, by Priority
  • Resolved Issues – Average Age, by Problem Area
  • Resolved Issues – Average Time in Queue, by Priority
  • Resolved Issues – Average Time in Queue, by Problem Area
  • Resolved Issues – Average Time Spent, by Owner
  • Resolved Issues – Average Time Spent, by Priority
  • Resolved Issues – Average Time Spent, by Problem Area

But issue resolution may be by a workaround that gets the user active again in the short term, leaving the root problem unsolved, and potentially capable of causing the organization more and more lost time. In ITIL terms, dealing with the root cause of an incident is labelled as Problem Management. Resolving a problem may involve very different processes and skills from those used in resolving the incident. For example, it may be necessary to enlist support from the NOC team or to contact a hardware or software supplier to find what caused the Incident.

The configurability of our products easily allows customers to identify an issue as a simple Incident, or representative of a more significant underlying Problem, and these categories of issue can be segregated before reports are run. Whereas users need to be returned to full productivity in minutes or hours, an underlying Problem can take days, weeks or even months to resolve.

Incident Types

Reporting by type of incident (using MS Word, connecting to email, accessing Web reports, etc ) can help indicate where there may be an underlying problem. A mismatch between user familiarity and application complexity is a common problem – which could sometimes be dealt with simply with user training. And while the support service team cannot be expected to double as a training resource, the shared objective is a reduction in the number of incidents received and enhanced user productivity.

Next page: ITIL, the Service Catalog and Service Level Agreements »

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