If you are an IT service provider or work in your company's IT department, you need your processes to run smoothly and without interruptions. Incidents are, however, inevitable and often unique in nature—which makes it important to track when they occur and report them to the concerned personnel.
This is precisely where incident management software can help. These tools provide all the features necessary to accurately record and report IT-related incidents, ranging from security threats and breaches to bug defects in operations. Using incident management software, you can easily monitor multiple systems and processes simultaneously, and address any incidents that arise right away.
There are a lot of software applications out there for incident management, however, and it's important to know which one suits your business best. Some of them are loaded with core reporting features while others are more geared towards managing security threat incidents. Your business will have unique needs, so choosing the correct software is imperative—and we can help.
Here's what we'll cover:
What is incident management software?
Incident reporting dashboard from PagerDuty (Source)
Incident management software helps IT service companies or internal IT teams of businesses track, record, and report irregularities in their IT processes or software systems. It forms a part of IT services management.
Incident management tools in particular also store a repository of past incidents and analyses in order to draw out larger picture patterns in the future via detailed incident reporting and case investigations. Additionally, it collects real-time data on incidents, which helps IT personnel to triage on the exact time, location and systems affected by the incident.
Common features of incident management software
While most incident management tools will offer a unique set of features, here's what you can expect in most systems you come across:
|Real time monitoring and alerts
||Allows IT teams to continuously and remotely monitor systems and processes for any incidents or security threats. Also helps to accurately locate the incident site or system, while providing necessary engineers and support staff real-time information on the incident.
|Configurable forms and reports
||Allows users to customize incident reports and relevant response and analysis forms to match the requirements of the business.
||Automatically escalate the incident report to a higher authority within the organization or business if the first tier of personnel do not respond to the incident on time. Ensures no incidents go unreported, even if first level staff is unavailable or unable to resolve the incident.
||Provides a single dashboard for incident reporting and provides a bird's eye view of the various attributes of incidents that have been reported in the past.
||Provides a common platform through chat applets, mobile apps, and email between IT teams in order to collaboratively on resolve incidents. Particularly useful for remote IT teams and those working at different sites in large enterprises.
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Before you evaluate which incident management software is right for your business or IT team, you should understand what category of buyer you are. This will provide you with an accurate idea of the features you need and ensure that you select the right tool for your business.
Most buyers of incident management software fall into one of the categories below:
- Small IT service providers: Small IT service providers usually have fewer clients and operate out of a single location with limited staff. They usually aim to deploy a single incident management software solution with the basic functionalities of monitoring and alerts, without the need for large scale collaboration or customizable analytics dashboards.
- Midsize IT service providers: Midsize IT service providers serve multiple clients from either a single location or multiple locations and usually require continuous monitoring and alert features with configurable forms and reports. Some of them may also require integrated reporting dashboards, but typically do not need large scale multi-device collaborative tools.
- Large IT service providers: Large IT service providers typically have many moving parts, serving multiple clients in multiple locations—and some even across borders. In addition to basic monitoring and alerts, they typically need multi-device collaborative tools and centralized dashboard features to respond to incidents on time. They also need automatic escalation features in case the first response teams in any location are unavailable.
Benefits of incident management software
The benefits of incident management software in a successful IT service operation are immense. Here are a few significant ones:
- Real-time notifications: Real-time notifications to the responsible personnel ensure fast resolutions to incidents. This helps prevent incidents from affecting end-users, and thereby improves the service quality from the provider. An indirect benefit is greater customer trust in the service provider's capabilities.
- Collaboration between teams: Collaboration between teams, either in single or in multiple locations, ensures that the best and most capable team members are able to provide their input for faster resolutions of incidents. The knowledge sharing capabilities inherent in collaboration features also help defend IT systems and processes against repeated incidents of the same nature.
- Streamlined operations: Unified dashboards and multi-device compatibility helps reduce response times to incidents and streamline operations with ease. As a result, IT service teams can more consistently handle incidents via clear, established protocols that are implicitly followed by teams of any size.
- Integration with third-party apps: Most IT service teams use multiple applications for customer service. If you fall in this category, you need to consider that the incident response software you are considering can integrate with other tools that your business is currently using.
- Cloud or on-premise deployment: As a software buyer you need to be certain of your deployment preferences and check the deployment options that your vendors offer. Many buyers in this case prefer cloud-based solutions because of pricing flexibility and easy deployment. However, you need to consider your unique requirements and may want to opt for a full-scale, on-premise license.