Understanding Service Delivery Problems and Incidents with ITIL

In IT service industry, the two terms “problem” and “incident” are often used interchangeably and are further confused with “issue”, if used to address a critical situation. ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), a holistic framework ensuring efficient IT service management clearly defines and differentiates between an incident and a problem. ITIL outlines the entire process involved in the incident management, that is highly essential to address and fix the hurdles to the smooth service operations and delivery well in time.

What is the difference between the incident and problem as per ITIL?
As ITIL foundation course lays down the definition of an incident, it refers to an unplanned disturbance in the service. Any issue or problem that doesn’t cause any hurdles to the service operations and delivery, it cannot be regarded as an incident, even though if it is unplanned or unexpected. 

A problem refers to the cause that leads to the occurrence of an incident. For instance, an internet outage during the working hours is an incident as the work and service get disrupted and hampered but this occurrence is unplanned. If this outage occurs in the non-working hours, then it is surely not an incident as no disruption of service is caused. But, if the internet crashes repeatedly during the non-working hours, it can be termed as a problem, as it might lead to an incident anytime.

How to manage incidents and problems?

The primary objective of Incident Management is to resolve the incident at the earliest ensuring quick restoration of service operations. The IT service teams with core knowledge of ITIL foundation and Intermediate certification courses, understand the importance of addressing the incidents on an immediate basis. Even a minor incident may hugely impact the service delivery and therefore, it becomes essential for the managers to follow the relevant process to address incidents timely that includes:
·         Incident identification and logging
·         Incident categorization and prioritization
·         Initial diagnosis and escalation
·         Incident resolution
·         Incident closure
·         Incident documentation and communication

While, Problem Management revolves around identifying the reasons for the occurrence of the incident, problems can be identified based on multiple incidents encountered by the service team. This leads to the initiation of problem management process that includes the following steps:

·         Problem detection and logging
·         Problem categorization and prioritization
·         Detailed investigation and diagnosis
·         Creating an error record
·         Problem resolution and closure
·         Review

Which offers more value to the business?
Incident management offers greater visibility and enhances IT service operations by addressing the critical situations immediately. This makes it the primary process to get initiated in service management projects to reduce business-process downtime and identify improvements to the IT service management and delivery. 


Having a clear understanding of the thin line of difference between incident and problem management helps IT managers to identify and fix the issues by following the ITIL best practices.
You can strengthen your ITIL fundamentals and concepts with ITIL foundation certification training course and advance your expert understanding of diverse domains with ITIL intermediate certification mapped training at NetCom Learning. Our certified experts instill a thorough understanding of the ITIL framework, guided processes, and best practices. The diverse training modes and custom learning schedules offer you seamless flexibility to acquire ITIL courses suiting your convenience. 

NetCom Learning is a Licensed Affiliate of ITpreneurs, which is a PeopleCert ® Accredited Training Organization (ATO) for the ITIL ® Course.
ITIL® is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. The Swirl logo™ is a trademark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.


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