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Kick Start ITSM Automation to Resolve Incidents Faster

#Kick #Start #ITSM #Automation #Resolve #Incidents #Faster

Traditionally, ITSM (a set of policies and procedures to ensure IT services meet the needs of both the business and its users) has been a manual and time-consuming process, requiring labor and effort to carry out workflows for incident management, problem resolution, change management, and service request fulfillment. However, as technology advances, so does the need for more efficient and agile IT processes (hence the recent influx of digital transformations happening across every industry).  

Enter: ITSM Automation—the replacement of manual tasks with automated processes.  

In doing so, IT teams can focus on more complex, strategic initiatives to increase productivity and efficiency. One area within IT that can specifically benefit from automation is incident management, the investigation and resolution of IT service interruptions and outages. In this article, we’ll explore the ins-and-outs of ITSM incident automation, why it matters, its benefits, and how it is reshaping the IT landscape. 

Incident Management Automation 

Automation isn’t anything new for IT service management platforms—it’s part of every SaaS platform with the word ITSM next to it. Why? Because automation is the way of the future. It not only frees up people and departments to work on other tasks, but it also reduces the chance of errors occurring. Popular automation solutions for ITSM enterprise companies to have within their platforms are release automation, change management, and incident management.  

What is Incident Management?  

Incidents are disruptions to IT operations that lead to temporary downtime, and in turn, can contribute to the loss of data. Preventing this downtime and loss of data is crucial. Thus, where incident management comes into play—the process of investigating and resolving IT service interruptions and outages. Proper incident management will significantly impact your finances, customer satisfaction, and employee productivity—it’s only to your benefit to have the proper tools and processes in place. 

Common examples of incident management:  

  • Password resets when users forget their logins 
  • Monitoring alerts tiggering remediation actions without human intervention (e.g., restarting a server)

6 Benefits of ITSM Incident Automation 

The number one reason you should start using incident automation for your company?  

It makes your life easier.  

Doesn’t matter where you sit within the IT department, IT incident automation will benefit you. 

Ticket tracking. Data entry. Password support. Predicted server outages. 

You name it—you’ll be alerted.  

Plus, with these basic, manual tasks automated, you’ll be able to focus on more strategic initiatives. Here are the 6 biggest benefits of automating your incident management with an ITSM platform.  

Time and Cost Savings  

An immediate and tangible benefit of IT incident automation is saving time and money. With no longer having to perform routine tasks (e.g., tracking ticket progress), IT teams can reallocate their time to drive business growth and innovation.  

Consistency and Standardization 

Automation enforces consistency. The predefined processes and standards ensure that tasks are executed uniformly—this reduces the risk of errors. 

Enhanced Scalability 

IT departments get more and more complex as businesses grow. Incident automation makes it easier for companies that are (or are planning to) scaling to do so seamlessly, without overburdening the IT operations (people and systems included). 

Proactive Problem Management 

Proactively identify and resolve potential problems before they impact the business on a larger scale. And, if the problem can’t be one hundred percent solved, it will at least alert IT teams of the incident sooner than it would without an ITSM incident automation workflow. The shift from reactive to proactive problem management is a game-changer. 

Resource Optimization 

Optimize your IT resources by ensuring tasks are handled by the right people at the right time to prevent bottlenecks and maximize the efficiency of the IT department. 

Enhanced User Experience 

Using automation within your internal and external-facing IT tools for support agents makes it easier for end users to interact with the support team. This keeps end users happy and improves their digital experience through speed, reliability, and quality of service.  

IT Incident Management Process Flow 

In an ideal world, you want to both avoid incidents and accelerate the resolution of incidents…exactly why ITSM platforms are great investments. Predictive and proactive AIOps, and self-heal tools will allow you to anticipate incidents before they happen—stopping them from occurring in the first place. For incidents that can’t be avoided, they can be resolved faster with self-help functions, chatbots, workflow automations, and RPA tools. 

If you can’t have both the avoidance of incidents and quick incident resolution (alas, we can’t have everything, can we?!), just focusing on accelerating the time-to-resolution for incidents is the best place to start. 

If you know issues are going to arise (as is the nature of life), then it would be great to prepare your business for these instances. Not every potential IT issue requires the same type of remediation, but by creating a consistent internal process for identifying and resolving IT incidents, your company will benefit significantly.  

  1. Incident logging – Store relevant phone calls, emails, video calls related to the situation. These records can then be used in other stages of the resolution process. 
  2. Awareness (get notified and escalate if needed) –  Create a ticket in your ITSM ticketing system.  
  3. Classification – Label incidents by categories and sub-categories for the area of IT the issue occurs (server, network, hardware), or the business area impacted (HR, Marketing, Sales).  
  4. Prioritization – Is this a low, medium, or high-level incident? Determine the incident’s priority by its impact and urgency. Questions to consider when deciding urgency include: how many people will the incident impact, how much money could it potentially cost, and what are the large-scale implications of not addressing this now? 
  5. Investigation & Diagnosis – An incident is considered resolved when the technician has provided a successful temporary workaround or a permanent solution for the issue. 
  6. Resolution and ticket closure – When an issue has been solved completely or a temporary workaround has been found, and the user is satisfied, the ticket can be closed.

Important Incident Management Tools 

Regardless of the scale of an incident, there are some important tools every team could benefit from using, or having access to, that will increase the success and speed of incident ticket resolution.  

  • Chat rooms – Make sure team members can communicate with each other over secure channels and internet connections. This is especially important given the rise of remote and hybrid work environments where employees aren’t physically in the same location—people need to be on the same page about what’s going on and when things change.  
  • Alerting systems – Your company needs to be aware of what’s going on. To help, alerting systems can notify the people needed when issues could potentially arise (like a server going out because of a failed connection) or when one’s currently going on (a user forgot their password and can’t access their account). 
  • AIOps – With AIOps, you can spot trends, detect anomalies, predict future behaviors, and cut through the guesswork.  
  • Incident Tracking – Identify and record incidents in a centralized location to catalog where they’re happening and why. When you do so, you’ll be able to pinpoint common issues and provide workarounds (knowledge base articles) or update your product to ensure the issues stop happening.

How to use IT Automation to resolve incidents quickly 

Self-Help & Self-Service Portals: 

  • Use tools like knowledge bases, FAQs, and step-by-step guides. Prebuilt forms for certain incident types can fast-track end user ticket submission 
  • Automate simple tasks like password resets, account unlocks, software installations, hardware and accessory requests. Reduce authorization requirements to auto-approve low-risk and low-cost items. 

Chatbots & Virtual Assistants: 

  • Provide 24/7 support for basic inquiries and troubleshooting. 
  • Collect accurate and consistent data submissions—gather the right information and pre-qualify tickets before routing them to technicians. 
  • Take advantage of more natural ways for users to find knowledge articles and self-resolve problems. 

Workflow Automations: 

  • Provide prebuilt forms for common request and incident types 
  • Auto-triage tickets based on severity, urgency, and keywords. 
  • Route tickets to the most qualified technician or team for faster resolution (AI can be used to identify SME’s). 
  • Implement pre-written scripts to handle known issues like network connectivity problems or service outages. These can be configured into executable workflows.

AI-powered Incident Analysis: 

  • Leverage AI to more quickly identify patterns and trends across past incidents. 
  • Detect similar incidents in real-time and recommend solutions based on historical data. 

Auto-Remediation:

  • Alerts from monitoring tools trigger action (rebooting a server) 

In conclusion, ITSM incident automation is a strategic imperative for organizations looking to thrive in the digital age. The benefits of efficiency, cost savings, and improved service quality are too significant to ignore. As businesses continue to navigate the complexities of the IT landscape, the integration of incident automation will be a key differentiator between those that merely survive and those that truly thrive in this new, ever-changing landscape.