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What is Incident Management in ITIL?


October 28, 2020 | Emerging Technologies, Service Management, Technology

ITIL or the Information Technology Infrastructure Library certification has been ranked as one of the highest paying IT certification repeatedly for many years now. Newer versions of the library have been released from time-to-time, with the latest version being ITIL 4 which was released in early 2019. An ITIL V4 training and certification is highly sought after by IT professionals and can prove to be a game-changer for your career.

One of the most important parts of ITIL is Incident Management. In this blog, we will discuss what is Incident Management in ITIL.

What is an IT Incident?

When a service is disrupted or it fails to deliver the promised results during normal service hours, it becomes essential to restore the service to its promised performance as soon as possible. Any disruption to an organization’s IT services that affects anything from a single user to an entire business is an IT Incident. Simply put, anything (IT-related, of course!) that interrupts business continuity is an IT Incident.

What is IT Incident Management?

The process of managing IT incidents is IT Incident Management. It involves managing the service disruptions and restoring services within the agreed SLAs or Service-Level Agreements. The process begins when a user reports an incident and ends when a service desk team member has resolved the issue. It would also involve situations that have the potential to result in a breach or major disruption but can be nipped in the bud by acting in time on the smaller event preceding it. These are the prime objectives of ITIL Incident Management.

Incident management, thus, is closely aligned with the service desk as the service desk is generally the single point of contact for all users to communicate with the IT functions.

What is Level 1 Support for Incident Management?

The service desk professionals are identified as the Level 1 Support team for ITIL Incident Management. Their responsibilities in this regard involve –

  • Incident identification
  • Incident logging
  • Incident categorization
  • Incident prioritization
  • Initial diagnosis
  • Escalation to Level 2, if required
  • Incident resolution
  • Incident closure
  • Communication with the users through the life of the incident

It is important to note here that ITIL Incident Management usually does not involve performing a root-cause analysis or an in-depth brainstorming on why the particular IT Incident occurred or even how it can be prevented from occurring the next time. The focus of ITIL Incident Management is to resolve the incident and restore normal services as soon as possible to minimize the impact of the disruption. This could even mean giving a temporary fix or a temporary workaround. The analysis and discovery process would be a function of the problem management team.

However, for most users, when they think of the IT team, it is the incident management team that they most commonly think of though they may not be aware of the same. This is because their interactions with the IT team are often confined to reporting incidents and seeking a resolution, while they may not usually be involved in the other functions and processes.

What are the tools used for Incident Management?

One of the most common tools used by the Incident Management team is KEDB or Known Error Database. This database is maintained by the Problem Management team. KEDB is a database of known problems and errors that have caused incidents in the past along with the identified workarounds. This helps the incident management team as a ready-reference that they can cross-check with the reported incident to offer the solution to the user based on available information from past incidents.

Another tool commonly used by the Incident Management team is the Incident Model. It works on the principle that new incidents would be often similar to incidents that have been reported in the past. Incident models help streamline the process and reduce the risk. The Incident Model thus defines the following:

  • The sequence of steps to be taken to handle an incident
  • Precautions to be taken before resolving the incident
  • Timescales for resolution
  • Escalation procedures
  • Evidence preservation

What is Incident Management Process?

The incident management process involves the following steps. This process provides for efficient incident management and ensures continual service uptime.

  • Incident identification
  • Incident logging
  • Incident categorization
  • Incident prioritization
  • Incident response
    • Initial diagnosis
    • Incident escalation
    • Investigation and diagnosis
    • Resolution and recovery
    • Incident closure

Incident Management is dependent on what other service processes?

Incident management cannot be performed in isolation and needs collaboration as well as support from other service processes, including:

Change management: In case a resolution requires raising a change request. It has been observed that a large majority of incidents are caused by the implementation of changes so the change management process is integral to incident management. The number of incidents reported is often a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) metric for change implementation.

Problem management: Incident Management relies on the problem management function for compiling and getting access to the KEDB as mentioned in the section above. Besides, Problem management functions also rely on the incident management functions for accurate collection of data so they can carry out their diagnostic responsibilities.

Service asset and configuration management:  One of the important tools used by the incident management team is the Configuration Management System or the CMS. The CMS identifies the relationship among different service components and provides integration of the configuration data with incident & problem data.

Service level management: The breach of a service level also counts as an incident. This in turn triggers the service level management process. Service level management is actively involved in defining the service level agreements or the SLAs which include the timelines and escalation procedures for different types of incidents.

Why is effective incident management important?

Effective incident management provides recurring value for the business. This enables incidents to be resolved in defined timeframes. Be it reporting incidents via email and then communicating further again via email for a resolution to a formal ticket system with parameters for prioritization, categorization, SLA requirements, etc. incident management is important either way. However, having a formal ticketing structure yields better outcomes and value for users, support staff, as well as the business. The data from incident management helps bring about effective problem management and consequent better business decision making.

Incident Management is a critical part of the ITIL V4 training along with the other service management processes. Cognixia – the world’s leading digital talent transformation company is an Authorized Training Organization (ATO) with AXELOS (The trademark owner of ITIL®) and offers the complete portfolio of ITIL 4 training beginning from ITIL 4 Foundation up to the highest level of ITIL V4 certification. It also offers ITIL transition modules for individuals willing to transition from their previous version of ITIL credentials to the latest ITIL 4 credentials. Our ITIL 4 Foundation training is covered by a 100% moneyback guarantee, ensuring that you clear the      exam in your very first attempt. To date, our ITIL 4 Foundation training has seen a 100% pass rate for all its schedules. Our ITIL 4 training is taught by some of the best and most experienced ITIL trainers and is commended the world over. To know more about our ITIL training, visit here.

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