Minimize the impact of critical incidents with Freshservice On-Call Management
“Service outage! Help!” These words (or their variations), have preceded notable losses of millions and billions of dollars in the 21st century. From large corporations to SMBs, no one is immune to the effects of downtime – whether planned or unplanned. However, the earlier an issue is noticed, the faster it is acted upon and resolved, resulting in little or no customer impact. Freshservice On-Call Management makes this possible by enabling IT teams to immediately respond to critical incidents. By kickstarting collaboration between IT and DevOps teams it prevents service outages.
Why do organizations need on-call management?
When a critical incident occurs, IT operations spend valuable minutes determining:
- Which team should the ticket be routed to?
- Who would be available on that day and at that hour?
- How should they be contacted?
- If they do not respond the first time, how soon should one contact them again?
- If they are not available, who should be contacted next?
- How many times should they be notified before reaching out to the next expert?
- If even that person is unavailable, who should one reach out to next?
Freshservice On-Call Management eliminates all such ambiguities by allowing IT and Devops teams to configure agent availability schedules and specify escalation policies/channels to accelerate incident response and resolution. By minimizing the Mean Time To Acknowledge (MTTA) i.e. the time taken for an issue to be noticed by the concerned agent or subject matter expert, it accelerates incident resolution and reduces the impact of critical incidents on the business.
The five pillars of Freshservice On-Call Management
Highly customizable to suit each organization’s unique requirements, Freshservice On-Call Management streamlines incident resolution. It maps suitable agents and subject matter experts to each service, creating 24*7 availability plans across weekdays, weekends, holidays and time zones. It details the frequency at which agents must be notified using the notification channels of their choice and the escalation path in case an agent is unavailable. It facilitates planning, nurtures accountability, distributes the responsibility for maintaining uptime, while keeping burnout at bay.
These capabilities could be better understood by categorizing the capabilities of Freshservice On-Call Management as follows:
- On-call schedules
- On-call rotations
- Escalation paths
- Notification channels and rules
- On-call calendar
On-call schedules: A 24*7 agent availability plan for each service
An on-call schedule is an availability plan that ensures that the most suitable person is always available – whether day or night, weekday, weekend, or on a holiday – to address critical incidents. On-call management for an organization could have multiple on-call schedules, each mapped to a service and the associated agent group. A schedule comprises shifts i.e. availability plans for specific hours such as weekdays or weekends, or time zones such as APAC or EMEA.
On-call rotation: Rotate shift work across team members
On-call rotation is the process of distributing work across all team members to ensure everybody gets to contribute, learn, and is held accountable. Each shift is mapped to a roster of on-call agents categorised as primary, secondary, and tertiary as per their experience and availability. Shifts could be rotated by day, week, month, or custom time periods to equally distribute ‘work’ during off-work hours, weekends, and holidays.
Escalation paths: Notify agents in the right order
An escalation path is the order in which on-call rosters (primary, secondary, tertiary) are notified about an incident. It could also feature individuals that do not belong to an agent group, but are subject matter experts. An escalation path consists of levels. If the incident remains unacknowledged or unresolved even after agents across all the levels have been contacted, the same escalation path is repeated. Escalation ends when an incident is acknowledged or resolved. The module also makes it possible to inform specific stakeholders when an incident is assigned to an agent.
Notification Channels & Rules: Reach out until you get a response
Notification channels are the means of communication used to intimate agents and stakeholders. In Freshservice, notifications can be sent over phone, SMS, email, etc. Notification Rules are the conditions for intimating agents and stakeholders until someone acknowledges the incident. These include the agents to be intimated at each escalation level, the channels of communication for each level of agents, setting the time gaps for triggering successive channels of communication, and the number of times agents at a particular level must be notified before escalating the issue to the next level.
On-call calendar: Get a bird’s eye view of agent availability
An on-call calendar provides a bird’s eye view of the availability of agents and the schedules they are associated with. The calendar can be viewed by day, week, or month for a specific schedule. It can be exported and viewed from any device of the user’s choice. This calendar makes it possible for users to check who all are the on-call members of any group at any time.
Guarantee 24*7 agent availability with Freshservice On-Call Management
Downtime hurts. Each second your business isn’t serving your customers, it’s losing not just money, but brand appeal. But organizations that figure out how to minimize downtime, are able to contain its business impact.
Freshservice On-Call Management, housed on the Freshservice ITSM platform with AI enhanced alert and incident management, enables organizations to deal with critical incidents efficiently. The time saved in chasing the right individual to address an incident is better invested in debugging the root cause and resolving the issue instead. This, in turn, paves the way for higher quality long term fixes, thereby safeguarding the business from critical incidents.
Freshservice On-Call Management is currently available as beta to select customers in UA and AU pods. The EU and APAC will follow soon. Sign up here if you are interested in trying it out!
Cover image: Naveen Nagar
Gif: Nidhi Shah & Partha Biswas