How to turn IT incident response management into an opportunity

Posted by Mike Vizard on May 28, 2015 3:53:00 PM

Zobmie Response Team CarFor all the great things that IT enables, the one inevitably all IT organizations need to contend with is that at some point a crucial piece of software or IT infrastructure is going to fail. The simple truth is that the complexity of most IT environments has reached a level of scale that is impossible for the average IT administrator to comprehend, much less actually manage.

In fact, a recent survey of 100 business and IT professionals conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of PagerDuty, a provider of IT incident management software, found that more than half of the respondents said their own organization experiences significant disruption of IT services at least once a week. Worse yet, half the time the IT organization doesn’t discover the issue until they are notified by internal employees or external customers.

The reason this occurs so much is that many IT organizations are trying to making sense of six or more IT management toolsall of which address a specific tactical issue. Correlating all that information into something that resembles actionable intelligence is next to impossible.

Therein lies an opportunity for IT service providers. Most organizations don’t have much in the way of a formal IT incident response process. Every application crash or IT infrastructure failure creates a chaotic event that over time takes its toll on both the IT department and the rest of organization. After all, most businesses are more dependent on IT than ever. And every IT event is not only experienced by internal employees, but more often than not customers and business partners feel the pain as well.

Have a clear IT incident response process

Rather than making promises about availability that can’t really be fulfilled, IT service providers should educate customers about the need to create an IT incident response process that clearly spells out all the steps that need to be taken in the event of a major IT outage. From the specific steps required to mitigate the technical problem to the information that needs to be shared with key stakeholders, the entire IT incident response process should be something that is second nature to everyone involved.

IT organizations tend to be organized around silos of technologies. Plus, the teams within those organizations are usually focused on exonerating the piece of technology they manage as the source of any problem, rather than trying to resolve the actual issue at hand, which just complicates matters further.

Rise to the challenge

Fortunately, as a function of their business, IT service providers tend to be a lot more disciplined when it comes to IT incident response management. After all, the success of their business is often determined by how well the IT service provider prevents IT issues from occurring and then responds to the inevitable disruption. In an ideal world, all IT problems would be fixed before they impact the business. In reality, how well that inevitable disruption actually gets managed speaks volumes about how the IT organization is rising to the challenge.

Put that all together, and there is an opportunity for IT service firms to extend their incident response processes out to their customers in a way that creates additional training revenue opportunities and results in the customer looking to the IT service provider for leadership in a time of real crisis. This will be viewed as being nothing short of priceless.

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Photo Credit: Jamie McCaffrey on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0 license. 

Topics: Growing Your MSP Business, IT Services Trends

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