Introduction to Incident Management Plan
We have all heard the term incident management often used. But if we try to break down the meaning of the term incident management plan to the literal meaning, then it would come down to be known as the corrective actions undertaken by a company in case of a difficult situation and further prevent it from happening. There are usually special people assigned to the task of identifying and analyzing the situation before happening of the situation and prevent it from happening, but it might so happen that some people are appointed during the event to take the best risk management steps so that the company can be brought back to the normal course of action at the earliest possible.
An Incident management plan can come in quite handy at times of need. For example, you have launched a website for a company inviting people to book a particular product for a limited period of time. But due to a large number of people trying to book the product and due to the huge pressure on the website, the website crashes. In such a situation, you need to have an incident management plan and have special teams devised for such situations so that the website can be made running at the earliest possible and with the least possible loss to the company.
Importance of IT Incident Management Plan
The need or importance of undertaking an incident management plan is often under-emphasized or overlooked, but they are important to the organization, especially IT firms, more than they are given credit. It not only helps in the better management of the resources but also helps in better customer satisfaction and makes sure that the people understand what the technology is all about. It does not need to be driven and is more customers oriented than thought. The company needs to understand that the incident management plan cannot follow the cut-copy-paste from the textbook method; instead, the company needs to understand the needs of the organization and the customer base that it is serving and, in turn, customize the techniques accordingly.
There are a lot documented incident management plan which is quite good, the tired and tested method of the management, the ITIL books, the IT service management tool vendors and the like provide for a huge range of policies that can be adopted by the IT companies at the time of incident management plan. And there are a lot of entities that take the already defined course, the textbook course, but why not take the unconventional method. Why not make and follow your own incident management plan.
There are some easy steps that you have to follow in order to be able to formulate your own incident management plans or can even improvise the existing plan more suiting to your needs and organizational structure.
Steps to Formulate Incident Management Plan
The following are the steps that will help you to formulate the incident management plan:
Don’t just start following an incident management plan because it seems like a good plan
if you are adopting an incident management plan just because you think it is the right thing to do, then you probably should hold that thought. Your incident management plan should be more need is driven and less desire-driven. The needs in the IT sector, in any case, are more external than internal. There is a very slight chance that there will be any management discrepancy in the IT firm or there will be machinery break down in the firm, some of the major problems faced by its firm are related to the programs written by them or something which is more of consumer-related and less of an enterprise related.
Also, if the incident management plan is desire-driven instead of need-driven, then you won’t be able to provide the services with as good as you expected. It is like you are going to the restaurant where you had amazing food, and it had this amazing ambiance, but the service was just not good enough. So you wouldn’t go back to the restaurant no matter how great the food was. Hence, give a thought that whether you are organizing it because you want to or it is the right thing to do or because you need to take up an incident management plan because your organization needs it.
Realize the incident management plans that you are already following
Before taking up an incident management program, you need to evaluate the already incident management program going on in the organization. Most of the time, the IT company already has devised some of the plans in place like password reset in case of any infiltration or the steps to be undertaken at the time of hardware faults or system outages. Don’t just rip the already existent incident management system and adopt a new system just because it happens to be listed in a fancy IT management book. Instead, you should try and work your head around the existing plan. It might so happen that the techniques already in play might be able to better support the new technique that you want to implement. And who knows, the resultant technique might work out better than the textbook technique and is better suited for your organization.
Understand the real purpose behind the need for an incident management plan
You need to understand that you are taking up the task of the incident management process only because you think you need to fix the things that break when they break; then, I must insist on you to think about it again. You need to understand that the purpose of the incident management process is not just to fix whatever is broken; it is much more than that. You should understand the real purpose that the management technique solves. It is not about just fixing; it is more about supporting. The IT support professionals are not just supporting the IT but are also supporting the people in the IT firm.
Look at the service provided by incident management.
IT incident management plan is not just a process but a service in itself. If you look at it as an incident management process, then you will start an IT firm, as suggested by the textbook incident management process. You need to understand that the IT incident management plan is much more than that. It is a means through which you can better your service-providing system, your customer support system, and your support service. If you really look beyond the incident management process and focus on the fact that it is a service, then you will surprise at the number of activities and services that the technique can provide and how you can improve your customer base and customer satisfaction and also your employee satisfaction. And not only this, but you can also improve the services provided by you as a whole. After all, the problems faced by the IT firm are not limited to a faulty website or a faulty technology.
Watch our terminology
It is great that you want the people associated with your IT firm to know all about the incident management systems, and you want everything to crystal clear, but what is the fun of it if it does more harm than good. Before using the terminology, you first need to identify as to what kind of feeling or an event the people will associate with the word. For example, the word incident for non-IT people might not mean the same as it means to the IT personnel. It might not mean a virus attack to the computer to a non-IT professional as it does to the IT professional. So instead of scaring them off with the use of heavy jargon, you need to make them understand what the real problem is and how they can handle it.
Understand which side are you on, the supply-side or the demand-side
You should first realize that the incident management process adopted by you is for the consumer or for the stakeholder. The stakeholders will more often than not want the services more than they want to pay, but the real focus for the company’s technique should be the customer and customer-oriented services such as service level management and business relationship management. These services may come much later than expected, but this gives you a preview that IT management services should be customized to serve the customer more than the stakeholder. Incident management system response and service desk hours should be a few of the many variables that should more demand-driven and less supply-driven.
The incident management needs are not unique to your organization.
We are saying that it should not blindly be followed by you and should not be adopted because it seems like the right thing to do, but you also need to understand that the incident management system needs are not unique to any organization, i.e., all the companies face the same problems more or less. Hence you can, of course, take the already tired tested methods of the incident management plan, but you can take the points that are important to you and scrap the rest of it. The focus should be more on the outcomes of the management techniques and how they will help you better your services rather than what is written in the textbook about how you should do things. The basic point it takes whatever is suited to your organization without adopting too much bureaucracy or without conflicting with the already set rules and regulations of the company.
Think of the people before the organization
All through the above-mentioned points, the only thing that has been focused on is that the company needs to think of the people first and the stakeholders later on. It is easy for you to sell a bad or even average technology if the people supporting it are good and efficient. It is a shame that a good or even a wonderful technology will be considered wasted if the people supporting it are not the best in their field. So basically, the incident management program is more people-oriented than it is product-oriented. It is more of how you deliver the IT services than what you deliver in IT services.
Look at the bigger picture of an incident management plan.
It is not just limited to the user the information about ITSM activities from various sources such as the event, problem, configuration management, etc. but will also be giving you information about the various other functions that you need might need to perform in the future and makes you future-ready. And more than taking in and giving out information, it is about making people work together, and not just forcing them but creating a desire among them to work together so that they are able to better serve the needs of the people. Of course, there are many things that are beyond anybody’s control, but the incident management program makes sure that people are dedicated to meeting the target goals.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong with the incident management process adopted by the company, such as they might adopt something that is totally inconsistent with the rules and regulations of the organization, or they may adopt something that is more of company-oriented than customer-oriented, and it might result in underutilization of the resources and dissatisfaction among the consumers but there are few things that the company needs to keep in mind, and then they can adopt the incident management plan that is best suited to them, they might even be able to customize the already existing techniques and increase the consumer satisfaction.
This is a useful guide to the incident management plan. Here we have discussed the basic concept, importance and steps to formulate Incident Management Plan. You may look at the following articles to learn more –