A guide to ITIL incident and problem management

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Virima provides top IT Problem Management

There are tasks being done that pertain to problem management at every type and size of business. But it turns out many if not most of those tasks fall short of the accepted definition of true, proactive problem management.

IT problem management: what it is and is not

The IT Process Wiki says, “Problem Management aims to manage the lifecycle of all problems. The primary objectives of this ITIL process are to prevent incidents from happening, and to minimize the impact of incidents that cannot be prevented. Proactive problem management’ analyzes incident records, and uses data collected by other IT service management processes to identify trends or significant problems.”

(See, “Our take on making modifications to the ITIL® v4”)

Unfortunately, at too many organizations, there’s insufficient clarity about the things that distinguish problems from incidents. This confusion has been a challenge to IT managers and support providers since before there was an ITIL. According to the folks at leading IT training provider Global Knowledge, the distinction remains challenging today. Here’s how they attempt to sort it out.

Incident

According to ITIL 4, the latest version of the ITIL best practices guidelines, an incident “is an unplanned interruption to a service, or reduction in the quality of a service. In layman’s terms, an incident is the representation of an outage.

Problem

A problem, as defined in ITIL 4, “is a cause, or potential cause, of one or more incidents. In layman’s terms, a problem is the representation of the cause or potential cause of one or more outages.”

In other words, incident management is to problem management what firefighting is to fireproofing. Closing an incident is no more problem management than putting out a fire is fireproofing a building.

The goal of management, especially proactive problem management, is not just to resolve an incident. It is instead to identify and resolve each incident’s root cause, and to learn from the experience to reduce occurrence and recurrence of incidents and problems.

Proactive problem management: an elusive goal

Clearly, every IT estate can benefit from truly proactive management of problems. However, achieving that goal can be daunting, if not impossible for some IT teams. For any of a multitude of reasons, you and your team may just be too busy putting out fires to devote efforts and resources to fireproofing your environment.

Common obstacles can include a shortage or lack of skilled, experienced people, broken processes, inadequate or improperly implemented technologies, or combinations or any or all of these.

Ironically, the more difficult proactive management of problems is to achieve and maintain, the more needed it is likely to be. If your team is consumed by reactively dealing with incidents and problems, proactive problem management may seem unattainable.

Fortunately, there are specific things you and your team can do to move closer to that important goal, starting as soon as today.

Virima participated in a webinar titled “The problems with your IT problem management – and how to solve them” where this topic was discussed in more detail. Follow the link to the webinar and learn how to ensure your IT people, processes, and technologies are adequately prepared to deliver proactive problem management.

Virima: your partner for comprehensive IT management

Virima can help to improve IT incident and problem management, as well as IT asset management (ITAM), IT service management (ITSM), and IT operations management (ITOM), across your organization’s entire IT estate.

Virima solutions can automatically discover and map your critical IT resources and the interconnections that link them to one another, your applications and services, and your users. They also produce useful, actionable reports about your IT environment, reports that can help you identify and resolve incidents before they become disruptive problems.

Virima is here to help. To get started, contact us today to schedule a demo and explore the possibilities!

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

More to Explore

IT Operations Management (ITOM) refers to the administration of technology and application requirements within an IT organization. Under the ITIL framework, ITOM’s objective is to monitor, control, and execute the routine tasks necessary to support an organization’s IT infrastructure.(Also, see…

CMDB service maps are visual depictions of hierarchical relationships among business services (sometimes also major applications) and their supporting Configuration Items (CIs). Because service maps can provide an instant bird’s eye view of critical dependencies and relationships, their utility lies…

Understanding the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) and its core functions is a critical aspect of service management. The CMDB forms the hub of numerous service management practices and provides a means of correlation needed to deliver business services successfully.   The…

Introduction  IT asset management (ITAM) and inventory management are both useful practices that can benefit any organization using IT. Both of these practices are concerned with the management of IT assets but focus on different things. Inventory management can exist…

IT asset management (ITAM) and configuration management are both useful practices that can benefit any organization using IT. Both of these practices are concerned with the management of IT assets, but focus on different things.Configuration management can exist without IT…

Some people think that an IT service desk is the same thing as an IT help desk. It isn't, as I'm going to explain. Sure, there are some similarities, but there are also many differences. Let's start by exploring what…

To understand the business value of service mapping, it’s important to shift to a service delivery mindset, rather than thinking about delivering infrastructure, equipment, software, and applications. Defining services is relatively simple if thought of as the commoditization of what’s…

Business service mapping – the area of configuration management that perplexes so many IT professionals, yet that which provides the highest value in configuration management database (CMDB) projects. There are several major reasons IT gets stopped when it comes to…

The world of ITSM has changed as technology has shifted from providing tools for administrative support to being fully embedded in the delivery of the business’ core function.  There’s a world of difference between using an accounts payable system to…

The Configuration Management Database (CMDB) provides a single database that contains information about the enterprise’s assets, both logical and physical. In modern service management platforms, it provides core functionality that is referenced by all of the service management practices, including…