Problem management is a crucial part of IT service management that requires support teams to diagnose the ‘root cause of incidents’ (identified as problems), and determine the resolution to these problems. This is not an easy task, and specifically for mid-size to large organizations, where the number of incidents logged is considerably high, it becomes harder to handle this process. Typically problem management has been reactive in nature, i.e. getting into inspection mode after an incident has occurred. While incident management will help restoring the service temporarily, problem management comes afterwards, and ensures there is a permanent fix making sure the incident will not recur.
It is also important to look at problem management from a proactive behavioral standpoint. Here, IT pros analyze past incidents, extrapolate trends and investigate whether any specific conditions in the IT framework will cause problems to occur. Proactive problem management overlaps with risk management as we have to constantly keep studying the IT infrastructure, identify risks and mitigate them before they turn into problems and affect service delivery.
The help desk plays a vital role in both types of problem management.
- In reactive problem management, a help desk ensures incidents are recorded properly and easily tied to problems, while also supporting customizable workflows to handle incident and problem tickets. Help desk integration with remote control tools work to the advantage of speeding up reactive problem management, and allowing admins to quickly and remotely solve end-user desktop issues causing problems.
- In proactive problem management, a help desk provides data about various entities of the service management model (operations, infrastructure, people, process, and service requests), and helps you get better at understanding and identifying risks. If your help desk could integrate with IT infrastructure management tools like network and server monitoring to associate network, application & server issues with incident tickets, it’ll help you identify trends for problems related to infrastructure causing problem ticket.
It is important for IT departments to decide and plan in advance a feasible problem management methodology that can be applied to known problems easily, and is also flexible to adjust and apply to new problems. Instead of siding with reactive or proactive approach, IT should strategize both and be prepared to fix problems fast.
Share with us how you handle problems as part of your IT service support process.