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Interview: Incident Management

Incident and Problem Management : two different ITIL roles


21/03/2014

Ichraf graduated in 2008 from ENSEIRB-Matméca and first joined a company working on trading of commodities as a Support Engineer. She then became Team Leader within a service desk dedicated to Incident and Problem Management.

 

What is Incident Management? And what is Problem Management?

Incident and Problem Management are ITIL (IT best practice) roles. It’s important to distinguish the two because they don’t have the same objective. Incident Management is aimed to resolve incidents as soon as practicable. An incident can be an interruption or a degradation of a production service. As for Problem Management, the objective is to identify and correct root causes, to prevent recurrence of incidents. According to the ITIL definition, a problem can be the cause of one or several incidents.

My team is responsible for major incidents monitoring and for problems creation and monitoring. We resolve major incidents with the different operational teams involved, and manage the communication at different levels to heads of both IT and Business teams. We identify problems for the recurring incidents and we implement action plans to identify and resolve the root causes.

What are your daily tasks as an Incident Manager?

There is no specific task or project. Inside my team, each person deals with major incidents from his scope and monitor the progress of action plans for his assigned problems. We are responsible for the incident and problem management process and for its progression.

We have a coordinator and facilitator role. But we also ensure the highest possible quality of service to the business teams, thanks to an efficient incident management and the good performance of the IT continuous improvement cycle through problem management.

Who are your privileged interlocutors?

Because we are in charge of the Incident and Problem Management in cross-functional scopes, we work with different IT teams. We ensure the communication to the heads of IT Departments but also to the heads of business Departments such as Trading or Operational Risk.

We also attend to Key Performance Indicators for Problems and Incidents consistent with Service Level Agreement. Therefore, we organize weekly meetings with the heads of IT teams to present them the incidents and problems of the week and discuss about different possible action plans to implement, in order to ensure the continuous improvement of the service. We provide official reportings on production incidents and problems and on the actions to implement to comply with our KPIs.

What are the prerequisites to become an Incident Manager?

In general, after working in a support team, becoming an Incident Manager appears like a logical evolution. But it’s not the only way. A consultant who has a first experience in project management and is used to plan and monitor KPIs could totally thrive in Incident Management. But it’s necessary to have excellent knowledge in Finance and/or IT.

What’s the difference between Support and Incident Management?

Support and Incident Management are two totally different things. My team deals with major business impact incidents. Incident Management monitors problem solutions, communicates and provides guidelines depending on the priority of the incident. Support deals with operational incidents such as restarting a tool.

Today, you’re a Team Leader. What was your job before that?

Since my first day at Margo, I have been working for the same client. I entered in an application support team. The advantage is that it’s a very diversified job. It allowed me to better understand the challenges of market risk, market access and the back, middle and front office processes.

After several experiences with Front and Back teams, I was the first one to be an Incident Manager. This position had been created when the IT System Department implemented the ITIL methodology. Then, when the client planed to open a service desk dedicated to Incident and Problem Management, I seized the opportunity! Therefore, I became Team Leader of a 3-people team created with Margo.

If you had to recruit a new team member, what would be your selection criteria?

It’s very important to comply with the ITIL methodology, to have an excellent tolerance for stress, to have good coordination capacities and to be able to step back. Moreover, a good team member should be able to communicate to various interlocutors.

For you, what’s the future of Incident Management?

Like the Agile methodology, ITIL is spreading in all IT System Departments and becomes essential. Challenges about Change Management, Release Management, Incident Management and Service Delivery Management are reaching significance.

Incident Management is a notion of the ITIL methodology, it’s not only applying to the Financial Markets. This is a useful tool for every stakeholder implied in the IT System Department. It allows them to work together and to adopt a vocabulary that is explicit for all. For example, I often work with Incident Managers from external companies, and we are able to communicate together thanks to our common ITIL language.

 

 

Gilles is graduated from Centrale Paris. He is Chief Operating Officer at Margo and is in charge of the management of Margo’s service desk.

 

Why is it necessary to have a service desk?

Having a service desk allows us to get exclusivity on certain topics. This choice emanates from our clients. This means that we will be the only service company positioned on the specific issue. Today, we work on challenges about studies and development Engineering, application support and risk and Incident Management.

For a client, this kind of intervention ensures a qualitative service because we commit in terms of operational results. For example, we implement KPIs and make sure our new consultants rapidly develop skills.

How does Margo manage its service desk?

We moved from an obligation of means to an obligation of performance. In order to ensure optimal quality of service, we organize regular meetings with the client. It allows us to enhance the performance and the results of the team, and to implement a continuous improvement process: identifying waste, future recruitment. Concretely, the service desk team is managed by a Team Leader. He supervises the consultants and makes sure of the good results of the team.

What is the value for Margo to imply in topics such as Incident Management?

Incident Management is a high value added subject for our clients because of its important methodological aspect and the fact that it’s dealing with critical topics. Therefore, it’s interesting for our consultants and for Margo.


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Incident Management
Incident Managment
ITIL
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