Integrating Event/incident And Problem Management

Change, Change, Change. What needs to change as IT organizations move towards sophisticated virtualized infrastructure? Event/Incident and Problem Management integration of course!

We have been conducting polls of our customers and of IT professionals at technology trade shows for the past two years and the results are in: Pulling together all of the management pieces and processes is even more crucial in a virtualized environment.

So what does this mean for you? You will need to refine your incident and problem management processes with new technologies in order to reduce downtime and maintain end user performance. But of course even the most basic technologies are not well integrated even in today’s world.

I recently participated in a Gartner Conference and watched to my amazement a real-time electronic survey of the audience. To my disbelief, the audience, filled with 300+ people from Fortune 2000 companies provided real-time responses to the question:

What level of integration does your IT org have between event management and service desk applications?None: 10%. Manual Phone call from IT ops to IT service desk staff member: 46%. Manual click button on event manager to open trouble ticket: 20%. Automated event management system automatically opens trouble ticket without requiring human oversight or approval: 24%.

Unbelievable – still very few of the survey respondents have yet to formalize problem management systems with event management systems. For 56% of the audience the process is still manual!

Another interesting real-time survey question at the Gartner Conference was: Who in your organization is responsible for critical problem processes and resolution? IT Service Desk 13%. IT Operations 49%. Process Team 12%. Other 9%. Responsibility not formalized 17%.

Virtualization adoption and the speed with which things change in a virtualized environment require automation and will transform Incident and Problem Management. Clearly with this new technology we are required to re-think Organizational, Behavioral and Cultural Challenges required to take advantage of the opportunities that virtualization provides.

Incident and problem management processes and metrics must bridge organizational silos that have been the norm within IT. With virtualization, people have to work more closely together in the different silos than ever before. IT leaders need to break down the walls between the technology-centric silo mentalities.

Business Imperative Action Plan:
What can you do today? Understand the impact of virtualization on incident and problem mgt. workload, provide technology training for helpdesk/service desk staff.

What can you do in the next 12 months? Formalize problem management processes, metrics and personnel.
Invest in tools and processes for systems on virtualized servers. Long term: On the Radar Screen!Instill teamwork into all groups responsible for the virtualized environment service and support. Map components and configuration items directly to end user services.

Final Thoughts: Know the management pieces and ensure that they fit together. It’s great to buy new technology, but be demanding to ensure that your vendors show you have they will help to link all these pieces together – Change, Inventory, Incident, Problem, Server, Capacity, Performance, Configuration, Event, and Integrated Workflow.