Real-Time Incident Management with Ticketing System

Business disruptions are costly to both the supplier and the customer of the service. Business as usual must resume as soon as possible to minimize disruption and maybe even to save lives. Disruption is not always defined as downtime of a system, but may also be a service incapable of functioning normally. This could indicate performance issues related to accessing and utilizing the service.

Speed and performance of incident resolution have always been a priority for many organizations, so they can serve their customers better. To be more effective at this task, incident management capabilities must be moved from the service desk analyst and closer to supporting the customers of the service. Many organizations and customers usually start this journey trying to improve the performance of service level agreements (SLA) for critical services.

ITIL’s definition of the incident management process is “restore normal service operation as quickly as possible and to minimize the impact on business operations, thus ensuring that the best possible levels of service quality and availability are maintained.” With the best possible levels of service quality and availability in mind, the fulfillment of the goal requires moving incident management capabilities closer and faster to the discovery of the incident for resolution. Basic self-service capabilities were the first efforts in this area. Now, real-time incident management improves self-service capabilities for the restoration of service to normal levels. 

Real-time incident management helps reduce the lag when responding to a performance issue and improves the resolution time of a service not working. The customer and the supplier of the service benefit significantly from the overall experience when the distance from a performance perspective to the affected service and the capabilities used to restore the service to normal is shorter and leaner. Real-time incident management can be defined as an immediate, actionable response to an incident without the delay in complicated backend processing, which may be mostly enabled with manual resources and activities. Real-time incident management should also be more intuitive and customer-friendly to enable an exceptional experience for the user.

Some benefits of having real-time incident management capabilities are: 

  • Moving resolution capabilities closer to the customer.
  • Reduce business impact with agile, quick responses.

Applications of real-time incident management


Medical error is one of the top causes of death in hospitals. Many of these errors or incidents can be corrected just in time to avoid the death of the patient. Medical process and/or system defects are the underpinning of these errors. Defects are not only in the healthcare industry, but also many others. Defects can be detected using technology with the capability to execute real-time incident management. Discovering or detecting the error/defect in patient care using intelligent automation, machine learning and other emerging technologies can help stop or send timely alerts to avoid a catastrophe. A patient can initiate the alert or the automated monitoring systems can trigger the real-time incident resolution. Human error can be avoided or minimized with real-time incident management. Many pharmacies use real-time incident management capabilities when warning customers about new medications that could harmfully interact with other medications they may be taking.


Oil or gas production

Imagine working on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean and an incident occurs for which you need an immediate response. In many cases, you would start recovery procedures and/or call the service desk. Each minute matters, for any downtime stops the supply chain of oil and has an economic impact and maybe a safety impact on the company and the customers being served. Real-time incident management gives the person on the oil rig the service desk capability to respond and provide immediate support.


Intelligent smart cities

Cities are becoming more and more intelligent, with the use of emerging technologies, such as smart devices, cameras and other IoT (Internet of Things) sensors located in various parts of the city. Smart cities are monitoring city utilities, traffic and other city infrastructure and services, with the goal of improving life experiences, the economy and responses to incidents. When an incident occurs, intelligent monitoring can immediately respond without human intervention. Digital technology and big-data analytics combined with real-time incident management capabilities can improve incident response time to save lives and improve the overall city living experience.


Real-time incident management is enabled with:

  1. Incident Management System – Remember, you are still managing incidents and the discipline of incident management still applies, but you can enhance this capability.
  2. Discovery capabilities with health checks – Discovery helps with automation rule creation, the technical understanding of what’s normal and abnormal and insights about how to manage incident situations holistically with the appropriate priorities to maintain service health.
  3. CMDB/CMS/SKMS – (Configuration management database/Content management system/Service knowledge management system).  These technologies enable knowledge management. The data and information architectures help support overall strategy, tactics and operational decisions for real-time incident management and related practice/process areas.
  4. Emerging technologies, machine learning (ML), big data and artificial intelligence (AI) – These enable real-time incident management. Technology should not be thought of as a replacement for real-time incident management, but as an enhancement to the quality and performance of the practice.
  5. Internet of things (IoT) connectivity – Sensors and connecting the enterprise using technology significantly outperform manual checks and create agility for real-time incident management practices.
  6. Big data and intelligent metrics for response time – Analytics can help with predictive incident management, enabling faster incident responses and more efficient and effective support for the customer.
  7. Surveys for customer satisfaction and improvement needs – Besides all the digital methods to collect data for improvement, the voice of the customer is very important. When combined with digital data, customer surveys can help organizations make better-informed decisions for continual improvement of real-time incident management.


In Summary

Organizations have an opportunity to improve on ITIL guidance to make real-time incident management a best practice for them. Benefitting from this improvement requires the following steps:

  • Pay attention to and analyze feedback from process users and from the customer perspective to enable agility.
  • Practice and visualize processes with your staff, using technology-use cases. This helps to improve performance when real-time incident management is needed.
  • Practice using the technology in a self-help manner from the customer perspective to understand the customer experience.
  • Formally define process, procedures and work instructions and add a knowledge base for easy access. Many organizations do not do this, which results in questions that may require just-in-time decision-making. Failing to do this also contributes to inconsistent actions related to real-time incident management.
  • Invest in emerging technology to support the goals of incident management, which will lead to real-time incident management capabilities.

To learn more about ITIL incident management best practices, click here.

Real-time incident management isn’t required just for emergency responses. This is the next evolution of incident management and it will become the norm for incident management expectations, service levels and experience levels. Organizations that invest in these capabilities early could gain an advantage over their competitors that don’t. After all, the customer is king because he or she expects excellent service support and the best product isn’t always the winner if the customer is frustrated.

Looking for an incident management ticketing system to delight your customers? Try Freshservice

Cover Image by Swetha Kanithi