ITIL Incident Management benefits – Simple explanation for your top management

It’s hard to live and work with top management. Either they are in a good mood and willing to discuss every topic, or you had better avoid any communication. From my experience, you should invest more effort in preparing for the meeting with them. And, believe me, that’s not an easy job.

OK, you are starting implementation of the Incident Management process, ITIL is your chosen approach, and the meeting is scheduled. What do you tell them, how do you get their buy-in, how do you “get them on board”? Or, put it the other way around – What is the language they don’t understand, i.e., what should you avoid? Avoid explaining details and using highly technical vocabulary. Keep it simple and explain the benefits.

Actually, benefits are what they are mostly interested in – what the implementation brings. So, let’s try to explain the benefits of implementing the Incident Management process.

Tangible benefits – It’s easier to understand

No one is immune to the hard facts – something that you can see, like numbers, documents, reports, etc. Following that approach, your life will be much easier if you can show something tangible to your management:

SLA requirements – They can be confirmed by measurements. If you have, for example, defined in your SLA that incidents of priority level 3 should be resolved in 12 hours, then, at the end of the month you will have to prove that this was done. Otherwise, the customer can have the right to charge you penalties. And I’m sure that no one likes that. By having a managed Incident Management process, your chances of meeting SLA requirements are much higher compared to having an Incident Management process that is chaotic.

Customer satisfaction – This is proportional to the efficiency of the Incident Management process. I agree, customer satisfaction can be just their feeling or how they perceive you, but customer satisfaction could be measured in many different ways. Unsatisfied customers might pay their bills, but certainly not for long. The efficiency of your process and the organization behind Incident Management is continually monitored and measured by your customer. And, yes, they are the ones who will have the final word about your efficiency. And, keep in mind that customers pay your bills.

Financial costs – Every incident costs some money on both sides, customers as well as internal. This means that, once the incident exists, customers have to interrupt their work or degrade their efficiency. And that costs money. But, you can measure (or calculate, in this case) how much time you spent on an incident. Compare costs in managed and unmanaged Incident management processes, and there you have your savings.

Intangible benefits – Powerful, but hard to prove

Customer’s feelings – How a customer feels about your efficiency is just one way to express the intangible benefits of the Incident Management process implementation.

Motivated employees – Employee motivation is critical to any organization. If you have a chaotic Incident Management process, which is by its nature pretty dynamic, than you will have many frustrated employees. On the other hand, if the process is well set and implemented, your employees will not waste their time on anything other than the work for which they are paid. And, hopefully that motivates them. Such motivated employees are, actually, your prerequisite for an efficient Incident Management process.

Changing business environment – Once you set up your process, it does not end with the process management activities. Environments are changing, as are business, customers, markets, etc. So, once you finish the implementation, keep in mind that the process should not be set in stone – quite the contrary. Your process should be set in such a way that you can react to changing business requirements instantly. That will cause reduced downtime for the business and greater availability of the service. And all management likes to hear that IT is reacting to changes in the business environment. That will be hard to do if there is no managed Incident Management process.

This way or the other – You have to make it work

Once Incident Management is implemented – well, that’s when real life begins: fighting with daily issues, keeping customer satisfied, achieving company goals, fulfilling SLA requirements, etc. There is a significant difference whether you manage your Incident Management process or you leave it to be self-organized (i.e., the process is managing you). I’m sure you know your management’s preferences.

What management would like to see is that you are focused on:

  • Management of the process – because you are on the front line of the battlefield, and a managed process is your only chance to survive
  • Measurement – to know where you are and which turns to make to get to where you want to be
  • Improvement – because, everything can be done better

Believe it or not, your management’s expectations are in line with yours. To get a chance to prove that in real life, you have to deserve a chance to implement the Incident Management process. Management will give you that chance, but what you have to do is to find wording they will understand. Once they do, you have your needed ally. And, it’s then up to you not to disappoint them.

Use our free  ITIL Gap Analysis Tool to compare your implementation of the Incident Management process with the ITIL recommendations.

Advisera Branimir Valentic
Branimir Valentic
Branimir is an expert in IT service management (consultancy, training and tools), IT governance (training and consulting), project management and consultancy in IT and telecommunication. He holds the following certificates: ITIL Expert, ISO 20000, ISMS Lead Auditor and PRINCE2.