Incident management is crucial while dealing with major incidents. They are the crises that have widespread impacts on your employees, disrupt your operations, and impact your ability to deliver on customer expectations.
While you may assume your company is prepared for when a major incident strikes, assuming is not a strategy for success when the stakes are this high. You need knowledgeable and trained staff members who know what must be done in a major incident management process. Equipped with the tools and resources to do their job effectively and efficiently.
Every company has a plan for a major incident management process. It may be as simple as “bring together a bunch of very smart people who can investigate and determine what is occurring” or it may be a sophisticated set of processes, decision structures, and protocols. If you don’t know your plan, then now is a good time to sit for a review.
Once a major incident starts, the focus of incident management is on acting, not planning, before you lose control of events. Here are five ways to implement a better and easier-to-execute incident management process improvement plan:
Understand your data and its accuracy
Having data available to aid in diagnostics and troubleshooting is critical when an IT major incident management situation arises. IT configuration data, support contacts, and up-to-date dependency data are essential.
You must understand what you have, not just what you think you have. The quality of your available data will determine how quickly you analyze the symptoms of the incident, identify the underlying cause, and determine actions required to restore service.
When a customer calls the help desk with an IT incident, it is important that the service desk operator can quickly identify the root cause of the problem and define its priority. With an advanced system like Virima’s asset management tool, all of the asset and relationship data contained within the CMDB can be fully leveraged by Virima’s IT Service Management (ITSM) processes. This allows service desk operators to have greater access to information so they can discern what is due to an existing issue and what requires escalation.
Pre-assemble the infrastructure data picture
IT ecosystems are complex. If your company uses many third-party and cloud services that involve suppliers, then putting the picture together may be more challenging.
Before the incident starts, assemble your infrastructure data to understand where the confusion is, locate the blind spots and where data may not be updated. When the time comes to put this data to use, you must be able to trust it.
Virima’s flexible tools allow you to define your own rules on how incidents are grouped, prioritized, and assigned based on severity or other business factors that matter most to your organization.
Capture periodic last-known-good configurations
Your IT environment is constantly evolving with every new user, new device acquired, and piece of software updated or deployed. Change is one of the biggest causes of outages and major incidents.
Unfortunately, once a change or changes are made and failures start to occur, it can be difficult to know the previous condition of the environment – your target state for restoration.
Periodically capturing last-known-good snapshots of your IT configuration data is a helpful method for a compare and contrast of conditions. During an incident assess impacts and root-cause for effective change and incident management.
Determine your communication plan
Major incident management relates to managing perceptions and providing confidence to users, management, and external stakeholders that the incident team controls the incident and is taking all necessary actions to restore service quickly.
Identifying impacted user groups, defining target audiences for incident communications, and preparing templates prior to an incident can significantly reduce the effort required to manage communications during the incident and reinforce the perception of control and organization. That means we must know how to improve the incident management process.
Update your IT asset and support contact information
Maintaining up-to-date and accurate IT asset and support information ensures if a failure occurs, then you will know who to contact to help fix it.
People are hired and/or change positions, support vendors change, and assets are replaced and/or added to your IT environment. Monitoring these changes and maintaining up-to-date records can help avoid confusion in the middle of a major incident.
Virima’s incident and problem management processes can be tied to specific assets and service owners so it’s easy to identify the correct next-level resources to respond.
For more details, view our webinar titled “Improve Incident Management: Be Ready for the 3am Call”.
Major incidents will happen. You won’t know when they occur. You won’t know what will cause them. You can take steps today, however, to improve your incident management plan.
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