An effective problem management process minimizes the adverse impact of incidents and problems on the business. It seeks to quickly resolve the business impact of one or more incidents and to proactively prevent the recurrence of incidents or to provide workarounds for known errors so critical functionality is available to the business and they can achieve their objectives.
Many IT organizations have some form of reactive problem management process but proactive problem management processes do not exist. Depending on the size and complexity of the IT environment, formal problem management processes will usually fund themselves in savings to the IT department, end user productivity gains, or other business related savings but it may be difficult for IT to formulate the justification without assistance.
How can the IT organization make progress with proactive problem management without adding resources or making a substantial investment?
· Evaluate the category and number of calls taken by the Service Desk. The Service Desk is a great resource for trending data.
· Ask second and third tier support teams for data regarding the volume and category of escalated incidents and follow up with a question about the volume and types of event related alarms.
· If end users are able to search for solutions to their support related questions, look at the number of times knowledge articles or web pages are accessed. This information will provide an idea of where the end users are experiencing challenges.
· Conduct a focus group or survey end users regarding their technology pain points.
Each of the above suggestions requires some work however, if the team indicates they are too busy, offer a small incentive. Their response may surprise you.
The application and infrastructure teams will need to address issues that are identified. A process is needed to review and appropriately respond to the information gathered. It does not need to be complex. The suggestions above are meant to allow the organization to take a step toward problem management. The suggestions outlined above can be completed one time or on a routine basis.
As the organization starts to make progress and one or more problems are resolved, it becomes easier to justify the investment in a formal problem management process. Compare costs associated with incidents and the end user productivity impact against the cost of the solution to the problem. How much money was saved by resolving the underlying problem associated with the incidents? This cost information provides a starting point for justifying a formal problem management process.