Helpdesk Software and ITIL – a Brief Overview
Helpdesk software like Allegra has to cover the following areas according to the ITIL process framework:
- Incident management
- Problem management
- Change management
Some people like to connect asset management with help desk functionality, mostly to support IT infrastructure. Let us have a look at each of these areas.
According to the ITIL definition, an incident is an unplanned disruption or degradation of service, caused by a “problem“. To become an incident, the service outage must affect the operation it supports; thus outages outside of operation hours or scheduled maintenance would not be considered as incidents.
An incident usually needs to be resolved immediately, for example through a permanent fix, a temporary fix, or a workaround.
According to the ITIL definition, a problem is the cause for one or more incidents. Not every problem becomes an incident, however. A server crash after office hours is a problem, but it onl becomes an incident if it hasn’t been fixed by the next morning when people return to the office. An incident can raise a problem, which would have gone undetected if there had been no service interruption or degradation. When picking up a problem you can refer to the incident that raised it. The following options are available for handling a problem:
- You don’t do anything, for example if the cost of fixing a problem exceeds the benefits, or if your business isn’t really affected by this problem
- You create a work around, in case searching for the root cause costs more than the benefits you would get
- You get to the root cause and fix the problem
According to ITIL change management is a part of “Service Transition”. Transitioning a service means moving a newly developed service from the service design phase to service operation. To make this process as efficient as possible change management enforces using standardized methods and procedures to handle all changes.
Changes are typically planned and approved by the management, while incidents just happen.