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Incident, Problem and Change Defined

Whiteboard Wednesday Episode 22: Incident, Problem, Change

Welcome to Whiteboard Wednesday, this week, incident, problem, change. What do these terms mean and what’s the impact for ITAM?

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Incident, Problem and Change are terms from a field called IT Service Management (ITSM), a close ally and partner of ITAM alongside Information Security. These three disciplines make up the IT management field and they are multi billion dollar industries by themselves, but also close allies. 

The Lifecycle:

ITAM is obviously managing the asset throughout its lifecycle. ITSM is regarding the service, delivering service to customers and the availability of those services and making sure customers are happy. Then Info security is around the integrity of the network and security of data, and so on. But ITSM is a close partner of ITAM and Incident, Problem and Change are like the workhorse, the engine room of the service management discipline.

So let’s take a scenario in your company, some service, like your CRM, your access to your customer records has gone down. There are calls coming in about this issue, this might be an email, it might be phone calls, these days, it’s likely to be some sort of app or portal. And they’re coming into a Central Bureau or desk, we’ll call it the Service Desk. Don’t get too caught up in the names, this might be called different things in your company IT support, IT help desk, service desk, Genius Bar, sometimes you might have a drop in centre, whatever you might call this, it’s the place we go, when I need to log in thoughts, or I need to request help. It also might not be exclusively for IT, it might be also for HR, I want to register a holiday or I want to request some equipment or whatever it might be, but it’s a bureau to cover helping your employees across the organisation.  

Incident Management Process: 

All of these requests coming in, in ITSM world are called incidents. Incident management is the process of prioritising these, it’s the triage of understanding what’s important, what’s not, and identify. Helping the customer and responding to the customer as quickly as possible, and keeping them happy. Once all of these incidents have been logged, it’s then a case of saying, ‘Okay, let’s look at the underlying problems of this issue’. What’s caused that problem if indeed is a problem and working through that problem throughout its lifecycle, letting the customer know, we’re updating it and so on.  

Final part – Change Management Process

The final part of this trilogy of Incident, Problem and Change is the change management process. The point of the change management process is to reduce risk. We don’t want to create even more havoc and more incidents by trying to fix it than we’ve got already. So change management is often governed by a CAB, a change advisory board, that’s a panel of people that oversee all the changes and make sure that the risk is mitigated for the company. Ideally ITAM would be involved in that change management process to oversee things. So Incident, Problem and Change are important terms and good to know when we’re working with our service management allies. 

About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource for worldwide ITAM professionals. The ITAM Review is best known for its weekly newsletter of all the latest industry updates, LISA training platform, Excellence Awards and conferences in UK, USA and Australia.

Martin is also the founder of ITAM Forum, a not-for-profit trade body for the ITAM industry created to raise the profile of the profession and bring an organisational certification to market. On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

He is also the author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management. In addition, Martin developed the PITAM training course and certification.

Prior to founding the ITAM Review in 2008 Martin worked for Centennial Software (Ivanti), Silicon Graphics, CA Technologies and Computer 2000 (Tech Data).

When not working, Martin likes to Ski, Hike, Motorbike and spend time with his young family.

Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.

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