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ITIL :: View topic - Three employees Service Desk needs problem management
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Three employees Service Desk needs problem management

 
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Tapani
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:49 pm    Post subject: Three employees Service Desk needs problem management Reply with quote

First post here and already asking stupid questions Smile .

Some background:

We have working incident management but no data is being re-used. So every new incident which is being resolved won't be documented (in odd situation someone might have inspiration for that. And that is odd if I might add.)

No problem management is being utilized at the moment. All incidents are resolved with clear "bang your head to wall until you resolve it" -process. And because we take almost any kind of incidents from windows to equipment there's many aspects to check for in a new case.

No known error database, problem database or any other working databases used. We have a network drive with some word documents but those are not well managed and searching from there is quite a job.

And I am obligated to make this process better. Poor me Wink .

As the schedule is being used hour cheduling. All the cases get one hour (maybe two if the resolution might take time) to get completed or else they will be postponed to another time when the resolution is done to the end.

At the moment we have two employees who work 6 hours 8.00 am - 14.00 pm and the next couple works for 6 hours to 20.00 pm. At the moment both are working as incident management analysts and no problem management.

Soon we'll get third player to the team and we have been planning some kind of problem management utilization for incidents which re-occur (like ad-aware, viruses etc.) or cannot be removed with common tools.

The question(s):

First I thought that employee whose turn it is to be in problem management has his own schedule and incidents which escalate to problem management will be scheduled to have 3 hours resolve time. In this time problem should be investigated, resolved and fully document the resolution for later use in incident management.

And when problem management has time he can take normal line calls from incident management.

For this solution I found few set back: How to be sure how long problem resolving takes? If its been done in 5 mins there's 2 hours and 55 minutes free time for problem management in worst case. And work culture isn't the best possible for this kind of "free will" job.

Second thought was that we'll make the problem management more like ITIL one. Incidents can escalate to problem management if they occur more than ones or there is no resolution for problem yet found. So problem management has some 3 hours jobs to resolve. But he can also check for normal incidents which have not been resolved and see if there's anything what he might do for it and then write a note to that case for employee who next works with it. In peak-times he can also take call from the line.

Those are only thoughts and I would appreciate any criticism what so ever. Hope there's enough back story. Razz
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eisbergsk
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Location: Sask, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:52 am    Post subject: much to ponder Reply with quote

hej suomi! There is a lot to think about in your situation. At the moment, all I can think of is the adage about the best way to eat an elephant: One bite at a time.

I think you may need to standardize your incident management processes first....

For example, I love Problem Management, but it is very hard to implement when Incident management processes are not clearly defined. They don't have to be totally mature processes, but each element (as defined in ITIL) should have it's steps defined. Also, as Problem Analyst, I don't get incidents escalated to me to resolve if there is no resolution in a specific period of time. Incident escalation should be to someone with the knowledge or power to get the customer back in service, which is different than solving the 'problem'.

Don't know if that helps, but here's a totally different suggestion: have you tried Google desktop to search the documents on your shared network drive?

Good luck. Keep the forum posted on your progress.
/Sharon E.
(p.s. I have a friend who's middle name is Tapani. very Finnish Smile )
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Fabien
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey,

I have a couple of thoughts too.

1. First off, I think Sharon's right. Streamlining the incident mgt process would seem to me a priority. Establishing a recording policy is what I would do first and foremost. That policy should include:

a) What to record (which is everything, but you have to convince the team that it's a good idea)
b) What information need to be included in your incident records (make sure you get info that can be used to measure incidents impact on the business as to give you a better sense of priority)
c) When to record and update your users.

Based on this recording policy, you will start to gather factual information about the services you provide. You cannot start Prb mgt without those records.

2. It concerns me that you give your incidents 1 hour and then they have to take the back seat until someone has time to tackle them. It is in a small team that setting priorities is the most important because you cannot physically do otherwise. Of course, I don't know how many users you're serving and how many calls you're getting so it may be a little harsh for me to say that, but in a small team, you need to pick up the incident as priority #1, and then you need to fix the ones with the highest priority and get it done no matter how long it takes. Then maybe you split your team in 1 person picking up incidents and the 2nd working on solving cases, thus implementing a small 2nd level support in your team.

3. You don't actually "escalate" to problem management. Escalation is when the 1st level support cannot solve an incident. It then passes on to a 2nd level (functional) and may notify managers (hierarchical).

You send (or mark) an incident for review by Problem Mgt as soon as you cannot find the root cause of an incident. example: your e-mail system is down (incident). you don't know what causes it but you work around by recommending everyone uses the fax maxhine until solved. The incident is solved as far as IM is concerned. IM's objective is to re-establish the service asap, even is it has to be degraded. Because of the importance of the fault, you will then transfer it to the Problem Mgt process who will coordinate the resolution of the problem as a "major incident".

4. The times you mention seem to be constraints on your operations. you need to use actual data to verify both that they are the right amounts and that you are actually meeting them. Not all sorts of incidents can be solved within 3 hours. You can use an SLA to determine which services need to be fixed within certain timeframes.


.... I hope this helps.....
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Fabien Papleux

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Tapani
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for mind buzzling replies.

We have about 50 incidents in a week and two employees have been working 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Now we are waiting the weekly count to rise and third employee is scheduled to have soon.

For some reason I just couldn't image splitting Incident management to two groups. Two employees working with incidents which have been scheduled and one taking new incidents and making appointments when to call to the customers.

The google desktop search was briliant idea. I have tried it ones but never thought it would be this good. Also I installed MantisBT bug tracking database program for test usage. My idea here was that when two employees are working with incidents and they have no idea what to do after the one hour is up, they make a new record to MantisBT DB.

Normal time to call back a customer is in 2 days or more, whenever the customer has time. We have atleast 2 days time to investigate problem and see for workaround or repair solution. The employee who takes new incidents should have time to look at the MantisBT records and look for solutions. If this is not done, we have to look for workarounds and solutions when calling to the customer. This will make a breach in 5 days resolution time which we have in our "informal" SLA. Of course there's breaches here, because sometimes it is a must to re-install windows and not always the customer is able to do this alone or even with support.

So the plan here is make incident management process more exact and try to add some depth to incident investigation between calls.

For more ideas please feel free to post.

Ps. I'll try to make up the incident management process this week and post it here. Anyone who likes to go in deep swamp may try to copy it. Did I say that this is my Bachelor's project? Of course I'll add these posts to the bibliography Very Happy
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Fabien
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey,

I'm not sure I expressed that clearly but I did not mean to split your 2 resources permanently to implement a 1st and 2nd level.

What you often find is that taking new incidents is an interrupt-driven activity and, therefore, it normally prevents you from concentrating on solving more complicated issues. So my suggestion is that when you have one of those, take a person off the phone and allow him/her to concentrate on it while the other one focuses on customer contacts.

In my company, we have a lot of "smaller" locations around the globe where we only have 1-2 IT people. I recently found out that some locations are using a pretty successful method: arrange a specific spot in the office where the service desk person is sitting and where customers are welcome. The person is not there all day and customers have then 2 possibilities: (1) posting their request by e-mail or (2) contact an emergency phone number. This way, we allow the support person to close the door and fix more difficult issues, or work on projects.
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Fabien Papleux

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RobRoy47
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:40 pm    Post subject: Alligators Reply with quote

There is an old adage that goes, “When you are up to you’re a** in alligators, it is hard to remember that your original intention was to drain the swamp!” The alligators are incident management, and the swamp drainer is problem management. I would put your problem person to work on setting up a system to record incidents for analysis. Once you have the data, then you can find the incidents that stem from the same problem, or are reoccurring. The problem person then can look to finding the cause so that these can be prevented in the future. If a customer’s issue cannot be resolved by the incident people, problem management is not the escalation point. For example, Suzi’s PC is having intermittent crashes. Incident cannot resolve it. Incident should re-image the machine. If that does not fix it, get another machine. The chances of another machine having the same issue are slim at best. Don’t spend troubleshooting time on single issues.
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Tapani
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you guys for the tips.

I have been going through different ways of making problem management but now it infact looks like I need second level incident management like Fabien said.

I might have written wrong or just a misunderstanding that I would split my resources two. That is something what I try to avoid because the team is small and complicated cases are not that usual.

Also I realized that there is no need for ITIL-way of problem management because it handles incidents which cannot be solved by incident handling (IT infrastructure CI problems etc.). And we have no tools for IT infrastructure, only way for incident is to hierarchly escalate it to other place when we are sure that the problem isn't on the computer or external equipment at the customer. (that's problem management for us.).

Now I'm looking forward to make better process definitions for incident management (both first and second level incident management) and looking for better tools to use in the processes.

Now we use Outlook 2000 as a sheduler and network drive for "knowledge database". Have been trying to get the outlook use new template which would have information fields for information such "Symptoms", "Category", "Unique reference number" and so on. The main focus here is to make the process more defined and to get it work smoothier.
Code:

| customer call|
           |
           |
| incident detection and recording |
           |
           |
| Classification and initial support |
           |
           |
| Investigation and Diag. | --------------------
           |                                   |
           |                    | Second level support |
           |                                   |
           |                                   |
| Callback if the problem has reoccured | ------
           |
           |
| Close incident |

If investigation cannot resolve problem in defined time, incident will functionally escalate to second level support. Callback is for keeping the quality high. Incidents like virus, malware, adware and such have quite irritating way to re-occur and our business is to keep the customer happy Wink.

Also so wil make more clear processes to investigation and diagnostics for different kinds of procedures (virus & adware removal, equipment failures and unknown incident).

Please be free to tell your opinions about this plan.
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Fabien
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds great...
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Fabien Papleux

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carlitocabana
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

may I ask which helpdesk application you use now?
with a good helpdesk application and issue categories and a big database you can tackle the "bang against the wall'' principle.
Your setup is a good idea but my thoughts are if you got a lot of customers/clients the time taken per ticket will be very great.
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:30 pm    Post subject: Re: much to ponder Reply with quote

Hi Sharon,

eisbergsk wrote:

Don't know if that helps, but here's a totally different suggestion: have you tried Google desktop to search the documents on your shared network drive?


I have a number of acquaintances, spread throughout some of the larger financial institutions that have tried this as a form of Knowledge Management and in the end they have never been happy with it. Some issues they experienced:

1) If you have thousands of documents on your infrastructure, crawling them will return a lot of spam.
2) All of the results will be uncategorized and very inconsistent.
3) The time that it takes to put your knowledge in traditional documents is longer than it takes to simply open up a web form and fill in what you need to (especially if you can clone the new entry off of an older one)
4) Putting your data in documents makes it virtually impossible to get metrics.

In the end, they always opt for web-based forms layered over a database that they can query from and/or create reports from. The big issue, here, is that they all built out their ITIL solutions the traditional way, which is to implement one process at a time, one tool at a time. The end result is a lot of tools that don't connect their data together, naturally.

I hope this helps.

Regards,
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Guerino1
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

carlitocabana wrote:
may I ask which helpdesk application you use now?
with a good helpdesk application and issue categories and a big database you can tackle the "bang against the wall'' principle.
Your setup is a good idea but my thoughts are if you got a lot of customers/clients the time taken per ticket will be very great.


Hello all,

I'm interested in this, too. Our company is about to bring a new ITIL compliant platform to market that merges many of the ITIL domains into one solution. One of the many advantages, to Carlito's point, is that since all of the data is in one place it acts as a natural Knowledge Management solution.

Regards,
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Tapani
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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again,

been working on the incident management and knowledge base lately and because we dont really have budget to use I have made some modifications to normal Outlook 2000 which we are using as scheduling system. I have been reading Service Support for a while and have added up fields which are good for incident solving template form. There are such fields as topic, symptoms, basic diagnosis, used time, categorization, priority and more information where you write what you have done to solve the problem.

There's also fields for case number, phone number and such to duplicate important information so we dont rely on one system. The main ticket system have been down few times over 2 hours so better to duplicate important information Very Happy.

All this is in outlook 2000 scheduling template so important information should be found from one place. We have the real case tracking system too but it has only "more information" fields which have to be opened differently. The case tracking system is kept updated but its not user friendly for cases which have been processed a lot.

The best part of Outlook 2000 is NOTES part. For smaller service desks or help desks its just enough for a knowledge base. You can save your solutions there and if you are using exchange server or some other way to use the same account for many people, everyone can find the solutions instantly. And theres good tool to seek out the answer for you. Behind tools theres advanced find where you can look for words and other things from your notes. Just remember to start making the solutions with some kind of form. Later its easier to convert to more professional knowledge base if theres already classifications and categorization in the notes.

Thats what I have managed to do with Outlook. Now I'm working how to record the time used for a case but it seems that we'll have to put our workers to write it up to the templates 'coz I haven't found any easy solution to the problem. We have CTI which will record calling times, but the log is not in the reach of us Smile.

Will update about the progress later.
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ozz
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have other options ..

Liberum is an open source help desk app that has a KB and it runs fine on mysql /IIS MS platfrom

Helpcore is another.. Helpcore has great potential for income limited companies to start incident management / CMDB on the cheap so to speak.
MS and Linux.

It would be cool the work on helpcore to extend its capabilities to become close to the ITIL framework ..


oz
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Tapani
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks ozz,

that HelpCORE seemed to be excellent program when tried out the demo version of it. It had quite nice KB and it had all the other needed add-ons in it. The service which we are currently giving might some day change from this company to other so the HelpCORE is more than good. If we start to use it in near future it should be working great, in the time we might change the company for any reasons.

At the moment we are using incident database of our partner but if we would start using HelpCORE we shouldnt be too attached to our employer. That tool is more than valuable and I think I'll try to start installing it to my own linux and see how it works.

Thank you very much for this tip ozz. Very Happy
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