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Establishing Incident Management for Your Service

What is Incident Management (IM)?

Incident Management (IM) is the process for returning a service to functionality after a disruption or when it fails to meet promised performance levels. The Incident Management process is owned by the Service Desk. Their role is to attempt to fix the issue or escalate with other service support tiers as needed.

There are two sub-categories of incidents, each with very different response processes:

  • Incident: An incident that follows established processes and resolution times, with a small impact footprint.
  • Major Incident: An incident that causes a significant impact to the business, whose urgency requires more time to resolve than a normal incident, and impacts numerous users.

Why do I need Incident Management?

Incident Management has these benefits:

  • It provides a framework to analyze past incidents in order to create service improvements.
  • It allows proactive ticket management by setting announcements and notifications.
  • It facilitates the creation of knowledge articles with information about incident resolution, thereby decreasing the time to resolve similar incidents in the future.

How do I establish and support Incident Management for my services?

Incident Management is established when the service is added to the ServiceNow Configuration Management Database (CMDB). Information specific to Incident Management and submitted as part of the Configuration Item is as follows:

  • Assignment Group - Members of the Assignment Group are support staff who will receive and manage service tickets. The assignment group may already exist, if not, you will need to request its creation
  • Assignment Tiers are the path an incident will take as it works its way to resolution 
  • Service Criticality defines how quickly your service will be restored to availability in the event of an outage
  • The Maintenance Schedule is the established schedule for non-emergency work
  • On-Call instructions provide after-hours support staff with a roadmap for addressing incidents that occur outside of normal business hours. This typically includes explicit troubleshooting instructions and contact information.

While not part of the Configuration Item, creating Knowledge-base (KB) articles is both best practice and required prior to the service launch. There are two types of KB articles that should be created:

  • Internally facing KB articles that are available only to support staff. These provide information on troubleshooting techniques and can speed the incident resolution.
  • Client facing KB articles that provide simple instructions on resolving common issues. These articles can help to reduce the number of incidents.

Maintenance of information in the CMDB:

  • Frequent review and update of the information in the Configuration Item are necessary in order to ensure the freshness of the data
  • Update assignment group members whenever staff leave or change roles
I want to: Here’s how: When: Who is responsible?
Manage the members of my assignment groups  Submit a request When staff leave or new staff are hired Assignment group manager

Learn more about Incident Management:

Last modified January 10, 2022