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Problem Management Software

Problem Management Software

Problem management is the process responsible for managing the lifecycle of all problems that happen or could happen in an IT service. The primary objectives of problem management are to prevent problems and resulting incidents from happening, to eliminate recurring incidents, and to minimize the impact of incidents that cannot be prevented. The Information Technology Infrastructure Library defines a problem as the cause of one or more incidents.

Problem Management includes the activities required to diagnose the root cause of incidents identified through the Incident Management process, and to determine the resolution to those problems. It is also responsible for ensuring that the resolution is implemented through the appropriate control procedures, especially Change Management and Release Management.

Problem Management will also maintain information about problems and the appropriate workarounds and resolutions so that the organization is able to reduce the number and impact of incidents over time. In this respect, Problem Management has a strong interface with Knowledge Management, and tools such as the Known Error Database will be used for both. Although Incident Management and Problem Management are separate processes, they are closely related and will typically use the same tools, and may use similar categorization, impact, and priority coding systems. This will ensure effective communication when dealing with related incidents and problems.

Problem Management works together with Incident Management and Change Management to ensure that IT service availability and quality are increased. When incidents are resolved, information about the resolution is recorded. Over time, this information is used to speed up the resolution time and identify permanent solutions, reducing the number and resolution time of incidents. This results in less downtime and less disruption to business-critical systems.

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IBM CONTROL Desk
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F.A.Q about Problem Management Software

What is Problem Management?

Problem management is the set of processes and activities responsible for managing the lifecycle of all problems that could happen in an IT service. Its main goal is to prevent problems and their resulting incidents from happening. For those incidents that have already occurred, problem management seeks to prevent them from happening again or if they are unavoidable, minimize the impact on the business. To understand problem management, it is first helpful to define what a problem is. ITIL defines a problem as the cause of one or more incidents. Another way to look at it is – a problem is an underlying condition that could have negative impacts on the service and therefore needs to be addressed. Problems have a lifecycle that starts when the problem is created (often by a change in the environment), includes identification and the stages of diagnosis and remediation, and ends when the problem is resolved either through some action being taken or the underlying situation going away.

Problem management is both a transactional process of managing the lifecycle of an individual problem as well as a portfolio management process of making decisions about what problems should be addressed, the resources applied to them and the risks that problems present to the organization. Problem management includes activities required to diagnose the root cause of incidents and determine the appropriate resolution steps that should be taken. It is also responsible for ensuring that any resolutions are implemented safely and effectively in accordance with change management and release management policies and procedures.

The portfolio part of problem management is responsible for maintaining information about problems that exist in the environment, any workarounds that have been developed and the resolution options that have been identified. This information enables leaders to make decisions that will reduce the number and impact of incidents.

What are the goals of Problem Management?

  • Identify and remove the underlying causes of Incidents.
  • Incident and Problem prevention.
  • Improve organizational efficiency by ensuring that Problems are prioritized correctly according to impact, urgency, and severity.

What are the benefits of Problem Management?

  • Greater service availability by eliminating recurring Incidents.
  • Incidents are contained before they impact other systems.
  • Elimination of incidents before they impact services through proactive problem management.
  • Prevention of known errors recurring or occurring elsewhere across the system.
  • Improved First Call Resolution rate.

How does Problem Management differ from Incident Management?

  • The purpose of Incident Management is to restore normal service as quickly as possible and minimize adverse impacts on business operations. Incident Management is used to manage any event that disrupts or has the potential to disrupt any IT service and associated processes.
  • The purpose of Problem Management is to eliminate the root cause of Incidents, prevent them from recurring or happening in the first place, and to minimize the impact of Incidents that cannot be prevented. Problem Management includes activities to diagnose and discover the resolution to the underlying cause of Incidents, ensure that the resolution is implemented (often through Change Management), and eliminate errors before they result in Incidents.
  • One of the outcomes of the problem management process is a known error record.
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