IT Service Desks are increasingly expected to deliver more with less despite increasing pressure to better contribute to the company’s bottom line, reduce incident levels and address rising complexity resulting from emerging technologies. These challenges require IT organizations to proactively develop automated solutions, so some are looking at emerging technologies such as Smart Computing to cost-effectively develop them. Smart Computing, often termed intelligent analytics, is all about leveraging today’s significant computing power to convert large amounts of data streams into meaningful, actionable intelligence to optimize business decisions. Let’s take a closer look at how this emerging technology can be used to enhance Service Desk performance by improving Incident and Problem Management.
The goal of Incident Management is to resolve issues before they cause service disruptions, while Problem Management attempts to determine the root cause of incidents after they have occurred. Proactive Problem Management takes it a step further by using Predictive Analytics tools to analyze trends and patterns to prevent incidents from occurring in the first place. The potential benefits are significant (reduced incidents, improved user satisfaction), but many organizations have still not yet adopted mature Problem Management solutions. As indicated in a recent Gartner report, Improving IT Service Support With Incident and Problem Management Integration, 80% of surveyed organizations do not have Incident and Problem Management well integrated from a people, process, and technology perspective.
As I mentioned in a prior blog post, Smartening Up Your End-User Solutions, to cost-effectively reduce incident levels analytic tools collect information from various sources to detect patterns or trends, which provide insight needed to identify and resolve issues before they are noticed by end-users. But to effectively implement a sustainable solution, Incident and Problem Management need to be integrated at the people, process, and technology levels. Armed with known errors, fixes, and workarounds developed by Problem Management, the Service Desk team can more efficiently execute processes to resolve end-user issues. Data produced by the Incident Management (Service Desk) team provides valuable data that helps a separate Problem Management team prioritize workloads and develop fixes that reduce the frequency and impact of incidents. By adopting Analytics tools to identify trends and potential issues early in the process, both Incident and Problem teams will have data needed to prevent incidents rather than react after they have occurred and already impacted business services.
Organizations that successfully mature their Problem Management processes and develop proactive capabilities will recognize benefits including increased customer satisfaction, lower incident levels, improved knowledge management, and improved end-user and analyst productivity. To move forward with proactive Problem Management initiatives, it will be important for IT organizations to clearly justify and link requested investments in people, process, and technology with resulting business benefits. A well formulated business case will help IT communicate the business value of applying Smart Computing to the organization’s senior managers and business leaders.
Unisys has taken a proactive Problem Management approach to delivering services by incorporating use of monitoring, analytics, and resolution optimization in its c-RIM offerings to reduce incident levels, lower costs, and achieve enhanced customer satisfaction for our clients.