Incident Management: The Case for Automation

Order a taxi service, a pizza, even a hotel room with just a few swipes across the screen of your smartphone. Customers have never been so wired to their wants, and service providers have never moved so quickly to serve them.

However, occasionally wires get crossed, digital plumbing breaks (or was it poorly fitted in the first place?) and the whole experience crumbles, leaving customers scratching their heads.

Just recently, I made an online hotel room booking, and weeks later presented myself at the hotel reception, only to find my ‘booking’ was a mirage.

Despite taking my money and providing confirmation online, the hotel’s website wasn’t synchronized with a real-time inventory of available rooms. I had booked a room that was already taken – only the hotel systems didn’t know it. It was false advertising of the worst kind.

No problem, I thought. Another room would suffice. Alas, the hotel was fully booked. To their credit, the hotelier paid for a more expensive room down the road and sent me on my way. It was a good recovery, but the lasting impression of my experience was mixed.

Hotels aren’t the only ones to present their best face online only for critical missing connections to torpedo customer experience. I see it in my industry, too. Ticketing systems that rely on people to enter and update incident information fished from emails and other ad-hoc communication.

Everything works fine when people are present and primed to capture and enter all the incident details as they come to hand. But those people go home, call in sick, and on occasion go AWOL.

In the meantime, alarms tell engineers trouble is brewing, prompting swift action and fast fixes. All good so far. But it’s not until service desk team members are back at their desks, back from the weekend, back from holiday, that they’re able to sift the flurry of weekend emails to find and enter details of incidents missed in their absence.

It might not be the end of the world, but it’s pretty poor form. Because incident management systems are the source of all reporting. Sometimes these systems even have windows through which customers can gaze at dashboards purporting to display real-time information of incidents related to their systems and how they’re being managed. The picture is misleading, the reports untruthful.

It’s a problem easily solved with automation.

On this front, Virsae Service Management (VSM) does great work, synchronizing incident management with text and email communication. So, for example, when an engineer receives an alarm via a text message, their response automatically generates a ticket in the incident management system. Suddenly people and the disconnected systems are out of the equation.

Virsae partner Integration Partners uses VSM to synchronize a standalone UC monitoring tool with ServiceNow to match alarms with incident management, in the process screening unwanted noise from their service desk.

Click here to read more about VSM’s good work at Integration Partners.

When the world works in real-time, reporting must follow suit. Anything less could end up sending customers down the road.