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Managing IT related issues

What kind of process or procedures govern the issues and problems identified within the IT infrastructure?  I'm vaguely aware of problem management and incident management  but I'm not sure if what I am thinking of fits in to either one of these categories.

For example, an IT technician installs a new server and puts on the required business application. Afterwards he notices that backups cannot be taken for this application. How does he go about formally logging this so that it is not just forgotten about about and left unresolved?  I keep coming back to problem management but I'm not sure.  Should it just be raised with the service desk and given a ticket and tracked that way or is there some other service management solution that would work better in this case?
3 Solutions
Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2ndCommented:
Depends very much on the size of the company. I think if he is a conciencuous technician and has noticed that backups are failing he would contact the backup technician directly and try to resolve the problem. The onsite tech will be able to make any necessary configurations on the machine while the backup guy is attempting reruns.
If you notice something and you care about it the company structure should allow you to follow it through to a fix.
jdc1944Author Commented:
It's a fairy large company but not a massive team so the problem isn't a lack of care it's not having the time to deal with the issue right away or passing it over to someone else who doesn't have the time just yet and before you know it, the original problem which might not be a simple or quick fix is forgotten about unintentionally.

I think we need a process where we can formally log these types of problems so that they can be owned and monitored.  Looking at some ITIL stuff, it doesn't fit the requirements for incident management, nor problem management and my understanding of the service/help desk was that this is a way of dealing with service requests and incidents from the end users rather than the IT dept. themselves.

We have had major incidents in the past that have resulted in known issues being left unresolved by the IT dept. because they hadn't be owned by anyone and before long just forgotten about and inevitable, something much bigger happens as a result.

Not coming from an IT management role I was just wondering the best way to manage this, is it something that should fall into one of the above processes or is there something else I'm not aware of yet to deal with them?
Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2ndCommented:
I'm coming from a more practical hands-on background than a management role. I'd be  the guy who noticed it.
I think it still can be raised along with any other end user report. Hopefully that system is managed and things can't drop out of site.
If the service desk are made aware that engineering reports are always high priority then it should be picked up quickly, and if the normal incident raising process  flags anything still outstanding after certain times then it shouldn't get lost.
A failed backup on a user machine won't be as high priority as a server, or some of the other failures that can occur, but if it has a report number and is causing the engineer extra work each day identifying that it's still failing then he can escalate it if necessary.
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Bryant SchaperCommented:
If you are just looking for balls not to get dropped, then a service desk ticket is the way to go in my opinion.  When you start to look into change management and ITIL, the whole process becomes complex, as it basically becomes a little project and you and you have to plan for failure, impact and rollback.  While important, it does not sound like that is a concern, and you are just seeing things get forgotten because they are low priority at the time.

Then just have your techs open ticket for themselves, we use a similar model and I open tickets and assign them to my techs all the time.

Another option would be to use something like Wrike for task management, we use this as well, we can create quick tasks and assign and track progress.

If you have Office 365 you could look at Planner too.
I agree with Bryant, that while ITIL tries to spell this out, trying to do the ITIL way can become overly complex sometimes.  Just remember ITIL is a framework based on years of experiences and in turn best practices.  So as long as you implement the idea, you're good.

Here is my take on it.  I've worked operations and development side of IT and tickets are the way to go.  Someone MUST be the owner, and in this case that is mgmt.  If they are unwilling to take ownership, that is not the engineer's fault.

Engineers are to identify problems (and personally I would rate this as a Problem exposed possibly via continuous improvement) and mgmt is to prioritize addressing those problems.  However, you can't prioritize what isn't identified and recorded.  Record it in a help desk ticket (yes, there are systems more dedicated to separating incident vs problem tickets, but they're for the most part the same) and ensure that the ticket says what is the problem, what is the risk associated with not addressing it and who can potentially affect (especially the business stakeholders that can be impacted).  With that information mgmt can properly prioritize.

For example, I don't have any of my app servers backed up or even the DB they depend on.  Why? Because after the system is rebuilt, I can be good again in under 3 hrs.  For the business importance of this app, that is totally acceptable.  However, there is another system my team has that if we had to rebuild it would take more than a day and its too important to business to go that long, so we do backups.
jdc1944Author Commented:
Thanks, I appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

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