Problem Mgt.

Service Mgt. problem management helps you identify problems and find out underlying causes to prevent future issues. Its structured workflow for diagnosing root causes and fixing problems helps eliminate recurring incidents and minimize the impact of unexpected disruptions. Problem Management makes it possible to identify the root cause of service-affecting problems, and can likewise help prevent future issues before they occur.

Service Mgt. supports the following problem management process steps:

Problem detection: Problems can be detected in a variety of ways, including as the result of an Incident report, ongoing Incident analysis, and automated detection by an event management tool, or supplier notification. A problem is commonly detected when the cause of one or more Incidents reported to the service desk is unknown. It is possible that the service desk has resolved the Incident and it may occur again, but they are unsure of the underlying root cause and therefore create a problem record. In other cases, it may be clear to the service desk that a reported Incident is associated with a Problem. This problem may have already been recorded – Known Problem – and the Incident can be linked to the existing problem record. If the problem hasn’t been recorded, then a problem record should be immediately created to assure service performance.

Problem logging: In order to maintain a complete historical record, all problems, regardless of the method used to identify and report to the service desk, must be logged with all relevant details, including date/time, user information, description, related configuration items associated Incidents, resolution details and closure information.

Categorization: Once the problems are logged, all appropriate categories must be selected to properly assign, escalate and monitor frequencies and problem trends.

Prioritization: Assigning priority is critical in determining how and when the problem will be handled by staff. It is determined by the impact and the number of associated Incidents which can provide insight into the number of affected users or its impact on the business. In addition, the urgency of the Problem - how quickly resolution is required is taken into account to define the priority.

Investigation and diagnosis: An investigation into the root cause of the problem will take place based on the impact, severity and urgency of the problem in question. Common investigation techniques include reviewing the historical error database in an effort to find matching Problems and resolutions and/or recreating the failure to determine the cause.

Workaround: In some situations, it is possible to provide a temporary workaround to the user experiencing the incident related to the problem. The merit of the workaround is that it can be available faster than the permanent resolution. However, it’s still important to seek a permanent resolution even when a work-around is provided.

Create a known error record: Once the investigation and diagnosis is complete, it’s important to create a known error record. If future problems arise, the investigating service desk technician will identify and provide resolution more quickly using the historical error database and associated workarounds.

Resolution: Once the problem is resolved, the solution can be implemented using the standard change procedure and tested to confirm service recovery. However, if a normal change was required, an associated change request will be raised and approved before a resolution is applied to the problem.

Closure: Following confirmation that the error has been resolved, the problem and any associated Incidents can be closed. The service desk technician should ensure that the initial classification details are accurate for future reference and reporting.

Proper implementation of Service Mgt. problem management would yield the following benefits:

Continuous service improvement: Taking the time to fix a problem can prevent low-level performance and further problems that can interrupt services in the future. Seamless integration between problems and all other processes enables organizations to proactively mitigate issues and eliminate recurring incidents.

Avoid costly incidents: Incidents as a result of problems can cost an organization a lot of time and money if not properly managed. However, reducing incidents using effective problem management can save organizations significant amounts, and eliminate major issues before they can damage services, products, or business reputation.

Increased productivity: A company can be more productive if they don’t spend time and resources responding to problems that can be prevented.

Decreased time to resolution: Best practices surrounding problem analysis will help teams more quickly and accurately respond to service interruptions and prevent any downtime. Use structured problem analysis to correlate problems and coordinate workflows to find the fastest way to the root cause.

Learn from underlying causes: Teams can consistently learn from incidents when they effectively practice problem management.

Increase customer and employee satisfaction: Customers and employees are more satisfied when there are fewer problems along the way. Patience can run thin if there are problems. especially if the problems are consistently the same.

Speed up service restoration: Services can benefit when there is visibility into known errors and established workarounds for IT staff.

Minimize service disruptions: Teams can detect problems before they evolve into something more critical, which prevents downtime and service interruptions.

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