Incident management is one of the most commonly adopted practices in IT service management. This is because it formalises the highest demand a business has on its frontline IT support functions, which is ‘resolving’ things when they don’t do what a business user wants or expects them to do.
I say resolving rather than fixing, because fixing is suggestive that your technology has in some way broken. However, in reality there are always a myriad of reasons as to why a person might not be getting what they need or expect from their technology. And, for every buggy application that just needs ‘ending’ and starting again, there is another problem occurring between ‘the chair and keyboard’, which often needs a more delicate and person-centred approach to solving!
At the risk of confusing Incident and Problem management, IT are a people of problem solvers. And so for as long as the complexities of technology present problems for the people using them, there will always be a great demand for incident management.
What does high functioning incident management look like?
Great incident management is about promptly, professionally and proactively restoring otherwise unavailable services. By increasing the means of IT discovering when services, break or become unavailable, they can also increase the opportunities to restore and resolve, in ways that avoid or minimise disruption to business. Some of these means can be through making it easier and simpler for people around the business to report issues as they find them. In more modern times this has looked like the implementation of live chat, bots and social/collaboration tools.
More proactive and automated practices are also always growing in use, from the more traditional techniques like event management and service monitoring to more modern and innovative methods such as using machine learning tools, to observe and amend services based on the behaviour and language of users.
What happens when you introduce more than one service desk?
In larger organisations, we often see the introduction of multiple service desks in the IT ecosystem as a result of bringing on suppliers or connecting services between different departments around the business.
Combining services and creating integrations between multiple service desks is a hugely valuable and beneficial activity. It allows you to offer far more centralised and joined up services to your employees, users and customers. It also provides a wide range of opportunities for bettering managing the service teams’ use of tools, data, processes and information.
When integration service management and service desk practices align and integrate well with your supplier’s, you significantly increase your ability to drive far greater ROI from that supplier investment and improve the outcomes you can gain from their service. This is because a high performing service integration will reduce the friction in communication, minimise the complexities of sharing data and drive much better usage of the various service management tools each party has in place.
What are the biggest challenges?
As with all technology-based challenges, the core aspects can be easily broken down to three pillars; people, process and tools. When we look at these three areas through the lens of incident management and the combining of multiple service desks, we begin to uncover some unique and conversation worthy obstacles!
When bringing together multiple teams of people around subjects such as incident management, a few things (quite consistently) happen. The first thing is that people initially want to seek some solid ground for understanding their relevance within this new mix of people and teams. Further to that, they will also want everyone else involved to understand and know why they are relevant. The other side of this coin is that they will be taking a good hard look at the other newly introduced people, then trying to work out how ‘important’ and relevant they are.
The big risk here is people not understanding where the power lies. Because then they don’t know they create false hierarchies, structures and power struggles in their heads. So, providing some clarity around who own’s which bit of a service, what each person can expect from another and how indecision and conflict should be approached and resolved, is all very important.
When rethinking roles and responsibilities for people, you also need to respect how the processes they are used to using are affected by the changes you are making. At an incident management level, you will likely find that the various teams and service desks you are integrating together, will have processes, SLAs and methods of working, which don’t currently match. One team may say the respond in 24 hours to every new incident, but then another might say 5 days… So, considering and planning how you enable these teams to work together in a way that both enables more positive customer outcomes, but also does not overly disrupt how people have chosen to work is a vital part of the journey.
Much like with their processes, each person and team is going to have their own chosen and preferred tools. A common mistake made at this juncture is to look to move every service desk over to one shared tool. This is a high-risk and high-cost strategy and often ends in frustrated support staff and a loss of trusted and reliable technology. Another common mistake is hand-code integrations. Despite this being a widely accepted approach in some industries, for today’s businesses it is a slow, fragile and unscalable solution. We instead encourage service desks to implement Integration Hubs. When multiple service desk come together to collaborate over areas such as incident management, having the integrations in place to ensure service tickets have real-time visibility across the full ecosystem of teams and tools is a huge advantage.
For example: if your internal Service Desk is using Zendesk to receive and manage incidents and tickets. However, the supplier you are working with to resolve each ticket is using ServiceNow, having to rely on manual communication to log, monitor and update each ticket is not going to be efficient. Using an Integration Hub to automate the passing of information, data and actions across those two systems is the only way of ensuring each team and ticket has access to the most accurate and up-to-date information at any given time. This not only provides an easier experience for the support staff, but also a far better outcome for the end customer.
If you are working towards improving incident management, service request or any service management function across your multiple service desk environment, our expert team of service integration specialists would be delighted to speak with you.
You can also learn more about how ONEiO our Global Integration Hub can support you in connecting up the wide variety of service management, customer support and business software you have in your ecosystem.
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