Like them or loathe them, all employees will need, at some point, to interact with the support services offered by the IT department. In this series of short articles, we uncover some of the secret workings of the IT department, finding out what is jargon and what is just common sense that can apply to all of us, regardless of our role, work, or profession.
Crisis, what crisis? The art of managing incidents
Incident management isn’t just industry jargon; it’s an essential process that aids organisations of all sizes swiftly and efficiently resolving unexpected issues. Picture it as the hospital A&E department for any problems that crop up, from glitches in a computer network to a broken kettle in the staff room.
What is an incident?
Simply put, an incident is an unexpected interruption or a decline in the quality of a service or process. Incidents can vary from minor inconveniences to major disruptions, impacting anything from your home Wi-Fi to a multinational firm’s data centre.
Why incident management matters
Employing a structured approach to incident management ensures that any issues are rectified in the fastest, least intrusive way possible. This not only pleases customers or employees but also preserves the organisation’s reputation while conserving time and resources.
The incident management life cycle
The life cycle of incident management typically consists of four stages:
- Identification – spotting the issue
- Classification and prioritisation – assessing its impact and urgency
- Investigation and diagnosis – finding out what’s wrong
- Response and recovery – fixing the problem and restoring normal service.
Example: The broken kettle
Picture arriving at your workplace only to discover the kettle isn’t working. In incident management, this is categorised as a low-priority incident, and someone gets tasked to sort it out.
Example: The inaccessible company website
Next, imagine if your company’s website crashes. This is a high-priority incident as without it, your company’s customers cannot buy new insurance policies or administer existing ones. A team would be hastily assembled to diagnose and remedy the problem, minimising the outage duration.
The benefits of doing this well
Implementing a top-notch incident management strategy yields many advantages:
- Rapid recovery – effective incident management ensures that disruptions are contained quickly, limiting any negative impact on business operations.
- Customer retention – swift resolution of issues enhances customer experience and contributes to customer loyalty.
- Streamlined communication – a well-defined incident management process improves internal and external communication, providing timely stakeholder updates.
- Regulatory compliance – many industries have standards for incident response times; efficient incident management helps you meet these regulations and avoid penalties.
- Data-driven improvements – analysing past incidents can offer actionable insights that drive ongoing improvements in the IT environment and broader organisational strategy.
With excellent incident management, organisations can maintain high service quality, even when things go awry, building trust and long-term success.
Now that you’re acquainted with the fundamentals of incident management, we’re eager to hear your views. Have you ever had to manage an incident in your workplace? What approach did you take?
Does this small secret from your IT department make what they do make more sense? Does it explain why you have a good or bad impression of your IT department when you contact them for support? What do they do well? What infuriates you?