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Poor incident management? Time for automated notifications
August 18th, 2017

Poor incident management? Time for automated notifications

Ian Linton

On the IT helpdesk, response time is critical. So how can businesses ensure they keep response times down? They can use automated notifications.

On the IT helpdesk, response time is critical. When an application or service goes down, the IT team needs to act quickly to restore normal operations and minimize downtime.

Delays in response can be expensive, with the estimated cost of unplanned downtime at more than $8,600 per minute. Delays are also potentially damaging to user and customer confidence, company reputation and compliance. The risk is even higher if the incident is related to mission-critical or customer-facing applications and services.

However, despite the clear risks, average response time to an IT incident is 27 minutes, with some firms reporting a response time of almost two and a half hours. That’s according to a recent report by Everbridge, a firm specializing in unified critical communications.

Automation cuts response times

Clearly, incident management staff must keep delay to a minimum. Automation is helping to speed the process of both identification and response.

Automated monitoring and alert systems are available that help IT teams identify actual or potential problems quickly so they can initiate a response. These systems use documented processes and business rules to categorize and prioritize incidents and ensure that IT teams understand the type of response that is required. However, delays can occur when the helpdesk tries to notify the right response team.

Notification is the weak link

While automated monitoring can provide essential information to IT teams, the notification process can prove to be a weak link.

Traditional ticketing systems and phone calls remain the main method of alerting response teams. Although escalation systems ensure that response is monitored and managed, manual notification can cause further delay and increase downtime.

To overcome these problems, commentators recommend the use of automated notification solutions integrated with other monitoring and management tools. Automated notification can reduce or eliminate any delay in reaching the most suitable team member and speed up mean time to resolution.

Identify and notify

An automated notification system, like a CRM system) includes details of IT staff with their skills and experience in different incident categories. It incorporates updated information on staff status and ability, together with a set of different contact details by phone, email, mobile or text.

By linking the notification database to the monitoring and alert system, helpdesk staff can issue notifications automatically to the most suitable staff. The notifications provide incident details and priority, together with a reply mechanism that lets the incident management team know the technician is on the case. Some systems also incorporate features that allow the technician to provide status updates.

Solutions like VoIP incorporate notification features that enable helpdesk teams to communicate via different channels. Response teams can also use VoIP’s mobile conferencing features to improve collaboration and access to experts, which can speed resolution.

Make fast resolution a priority

Automated monitoring and notification tools are essential. In the Everbridge survey, 90 percent of respondents reported at least one major incident per year. By streamlining communications and notifications, automation can reduce the time needed to get the right people in place to respond. Resolving those issues quickly and efficiently is a priority.

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