Finding and solving problems is something we, as human beings, must constantly do. In the business environment the situation is no different, the appearance of errors and failures is common within each of the departments that make up an organization. This is why the Problem Management process is so important for companies.
Knowing how to respond appropriately when problems arise is vital to ensure the continuity of any business. That is why today we have decided to talk to you about this important ITIL process.
If you still do not implement it in your company or feel that you have not given them the relevance you wanted, it is a good time to start. Take a look at these best practices and successfully implement problem management within your company.
Problem Management and Incident Management
In order to clearly define what problem management is, it is necessary to differentiate it from another process, incident management.
Incident management focuses on the recovery of interrupted service. It consists of a reactive approach to an incident reported to the support centre.
Problem management is a proactive approach; rather, it is carried out by experts who must focus on diagnostic and investigative aspects to ensure that incidents do not occur in the future.
To make it simpler, problem management intervenes when there is a problem of course. In this context we can define a problem as a succession of incidents that are repeated without a definitive solution being found.
We can state that problem management is a proactive approach because it focuses not only on investigating the causes of incidents, but also on finding definitive solutions. These resolutions must also be documented to avoid further incidents.
Main Problem Management activities
The main problem management activities are:
- Problem control.
- Error control.
- Problem prevention
- Trend identification.
- Management information production for the service center,
- And major problem review meetings.
Let’s see what three of the most important activities are about:
Problem control corresponds to the step of identifying and recording the problem, classifying it (type, priority, etc.), and then looking for the cause of the malfunction. This is the evolution of the problem into the known error.
For error control, errors are identified, recorded, evaluated and resolved. It also initiates a communication of the solution to the service center to be able to enter the details in the CMDB knowledge base.
Problem prevention is a consequence of previous problem-solving investigations, trend analysis, proactive alert tools that indicate the possibility of equipment failure, and analysis of the information system architecture and, in particular, information about hardware, software, architecture and services.
Advantages that Problem Management can provide to businesses
- Optimization of IT services
- Decrease in the volume of recurring incidents (failures stop repeating themselves, consequently, the need for users to contact the support service decreases, so the Service Desk will now have to handle fewer tickets).
- Implementation of permanent solutions.
- Better communication between IT teams, in particular through the creation of the knowledge base.
- Increased rate of problem solving, thanks to this knowledge base, which is updated regularly.
Possible causes of ineffective problem solving
If your company has gone through the same situation of constantly having to face the same trouble, it means that most likely you are not dealing with it the right way. Some causes may be as follows:
- You did not define the problem well.
- As a result, you rushed to apply solutions that were ineffective.
- When you detected the problem, you and your team wasted time and energy looking for culprits.
- You stopped the analysis too soon.
- You and your team looked for a single “root cause”.
Best Practices for Better Problem Management
#1 Define the problem correctly
This stage of problem management, while vital, tends to be underestimated by some IT experts. Don’t make this mistake. Take a reasonable amount of time to define precisely what the problem has been. For this you can start by asking yourself some questions.
When did the problem begin to manifest?
Where was it first manifested?
What has been its impact?
With this you will have a basis to be able to identify the root of the problem and solve it definitively.
#2 Always calculate the value of the problem
Combine the concepts of urgency and impact to determine the sequence of the problems you need to solve. This is the ideal criterion to validate whether a problem should be addressed or not, and to establish whether it is economically justifiable to request a change.
This reasoning makes it possible to avoid focusing on a problem with a reduced impact on the company at the expense of a problem with fewer incidents but more costly.
#3 Turn metrics into your allies
Metrics allow you to obtain quite detailed statistics on the quality of service and the efficiency of your company’s processes, use them in your favor to identify the root of a problem.
# 4 Have a Problem Manager
The function of the Problem Manager is to develop the problem management process, optimizing its efficiency, as well as proposing possible changes to improve its operation. This makes him an important figure for the effective resolution of problems in your company.
#5 Use the right tools
Your team will perform better as it has the right tools to respond as quickly and effectively as possible. So invest in solutions that allow them to be more proactive.
Use software such as those offered by ServiceNow, for example, this way you will be able to automate tasks and easily carry out processes based on ITIL best practices.
These are some of our tips. Don’t forget that problems can be great improvement opportunities for your business. Take advantage of them through the right strategies and the right technology.
Do you want to start improving your Problem Management process now? Contact us. In GB Advisors we have for you the best tools and a team of professionals willing to assist you whenever you need it.