The terminology of 'parent-child' applies well in an IT service support environment where support teams try to identify specific service requests as incident and problem tickets. While both incidents and problems are basically disruptions caused in IT service, in ITIL, these are defined and dealt with differently.


Problem management differs from incident management thus:

  • The principal purpose of problem management is to find and resolve the root cause of a problem and thus prevent further incidents.
  • The purpose of incident management is to return the service to normal level as soon as possible, with smallest possible business impact.


A service desk allows IT teams to tag the service requests as incidents and problems. Typically, there comes a situation when multiple incidents need to be linked to a single problem – especially when incidents raise problems. For example, when there is a server crash after office hours, it can be treated as an incident and just fixed to get the server running again. When there are multiple such incidents happening at various times, and that happens during business hours, it has a greater business impact. Now, this can be considered a problem ticket and needs to be investigated, root-cause analyzed, and solved quickly. When a service desk enables you to link incidents to problems, it becomes easier for further analysis and issue resolution. Also, when it comes to closing tickets, one can just close the problem ticket which will automatically close all its incident ticket subsets.


The importance of parent-child relationship is also seen in IT asset management (ITAM) where multiple child assets can be linked to a parent asset. For example, a computer can be the parent, and its hardware peripherals can be the child assets. This is specifically useful for inventory management and easier understanding of asset assignment to clients.


SolarWinds Web Help Desk® supports both these scenarios: parent-child relation for ticketing management and IT asset management. Learn more about Web Help Desk »