Priorities

A few weeks ago I was working away in the office when I heard some roaring laughter coming from the other side of the room. It isn’t unknown for IT to have fun, but usually this is towards the latter part of the week and not on a cold wet Wednesday.

I walked over and found that somebody had accidentally found out how to raise a single user high priority incident within our ITSM tool, sending alert emails flying to mid-level managers. A recent system change had caused certain classes of caller to have their incidents automatically elevated to 'nearly God' status.

This was easily sorted with a few clicks mouse clicks and some training, but it got me thinking... do we really understand the impact of the issues we manage?

A few years ago I encountered an issue with a mailbox, which failed so that external senders would have their emails immediately bounced back and not received within the organisation. Not normally a big issue but this mailbox was used by a corporate accounts team to receive notification of inbound payments for goods and services provided.

The issue was initially logged as low priority because it was classed as having low impact to the organisation, but the disruption to the finance team that used it was massive. The reason for this was that they were unable to reconcile the payments to invoices, and then could not formally use the funds within the organisation. Fortunately this was quickly identified and the issue resolved via an escalation.

Whilst we always ask the caller to describe the impact to them, their team and the organisation of the issue in order to judge its priority, it is always worth taking a moment to use your background knowledge and intuition to double-check this. Frequently, callers will impress upon you the priority of their issue, but this isn't always correct - both up and down.

* Grateful thanks to GBH for his help with this blog

Ian Connelly

Ian ConnellyIan is the IT Environments Manager at a London-based specialist insurer with an experienced track record of leading and transforming the performance of service desks, technical and operational IT functions. As Chairman to the BCS Service Management Specialist Group, Ian also provides an official conduit between the specialist group committee, BCS HQ and group members for all formal communication.

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IT service management is about delivering, supporting and managing IT services in an effective and efficient way. This blog provides a platform for experts across a variety of ITSM roles to share their insight and best practice for people to embrace new ideas to improve processes and performance.

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