The Cost of Bad Problem Management Initiatives

No matter the number of steps your organization has taken to try and avoid incidents, they still happen. While taking the preventative steps is important, a dedicated focus on proper problem management should also be a key goal. This is much more than simply helping customers to get an issue resolved. Problem management addresses the causes of the incidents to try and reduce the impact on the business and hopefully, prevent the problem from occurring again in the future.

Problem Management Aims

In reality, problem management from a service management point of view should be all about preventative measures. You can’t simply lump it into preventative practices, however, as you will then limit yourself when incidents do occur. Yes, problem management can help to prevent problems from happening again, but only after they have happened once. Therefore, you need to have robust problem management initiatives in place.

Side Effects of Bad Problem Management

Problem management that aims to simply satisfy a customer or respond to an inquiry isn’t really a step in service management. If you take this approach, you will quickly see the associated costs skyrocket. Incident management focuses on returning service to normal; problem management will identify what caused the incident in the first place. If you fail to follow up on the problem management step of the process, you will see a repeat of the problem and waste both time and money to try and solve it once again.

Problem Management: Known and Unknown

Effective service managers divide problem management into two categories: problems with causes that are known and problems with causes that are unknown. In both categories, there are incidents that need to be resolved. When the cause is unknown, the focus for the service management team is to identify the incident and the cause of the incident. When the cause is known, your service management department can immediately start to work on a resolution. Known errors are worked on until they are eliminated and unknown errors are investigated until identified. In both cases, problems are documented for classification and recall later. A failure to document the problem is sure to result in the problem occurring again in the future, and the same process has to be completed to identify the cause and eliminate the problem.

The Importance of Communication in Problem Management

Problem identification and resolution are only part of your focus in effective problem management. Once you have documented the problem, resolution and process, it is important to create a report for your service management desk. As a result, if a customer calls, the customer can be advised as to what the incident was, how it was identified and the proper steps for resolution. A failure to take this important step can degrade your ability to properly serve the customer and deliver the problem management they expect.

In the service management space, problem management should focus on delivering the optimal incident prevention. A failure to do so will cost your customers time, money and frustration. How to implement service level management agreements profitably should focus on increasing customer satisfaction, and proper problem management must be your priority.