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Incident tracking: How it works and why it matters for IT operations

Constantly juggling IT incidents can be exhausting as you try to track and resolve them before they escalate into disruptions. With each incident demanding prompt and precise attention, keeping up takes significant work. However, you can manage these challenges more efficiently and with less stress and less risk by optimizing your incident-tracking process.

This blog will explore the following:

  • What is incident tracking in IT operations?
  • How does incident tracking work?
  • Benefits of incident tracking
  • Best practices for incident tracking
  • Choosing the right incident tracking tools for your business

Discover how simplifying and automating your incident management system is the first step to effectively handling incidents and driving proactive incident management.

What is incident tracking in IT operations?

Incident tracking is the process of monitoring an IT incident from beginning to end. This process is tracked in an incident management or AIOps platform that records the incident lifecycle, consolidates incidents into a single view, and streamlines response team workflows and incident visibility.

Why is incident tracking important?

The importance of incident tracking lies in its ability to systematically document interruptions and degradations, revealing trends over time, and taking appropriate corrective actions. It prevents IT teams from overlooking critical steps in the incident management process, enables them to differentiate between isolated issues and persistent challenges.

Additionally, it provides a comprehensive view of the incident landscape for more effective decision-making and problem resolution. Software with incident tracking functionalities significantly streamlines this process, ensuring detailed documentation for major and minor incidents in a centralized repository.

How does the incident tracking process work?

Understanding the IT incident tracking process is key to swiftly identifying, diagnosing, and resolving issues, ensuring minimal disruption to your business operations and high service quality. Here’s a quick step-by-step rundown of a standard incident tracking process:

Step 1: Incident identification

Clearly define what qualifies as an incident within your organization to ensure consistency in identifying and addressing incidents. This could include various events, from system failures to security breaches. Additionally, set up multiple reporting tools and channels, such as automated monitoring systems, to facilitate the incident reporting process.

Step 2: Incident logging

Use standardized incident report templates to systematically capture crucial details like the date, time, location, and impact on systems. This structured documentation sets the foundation for the entire tracking process.

Step 3: Initial triage

Do a thorough assessment to figure out how big the incident is and what impact it might have. During this step, you can assign a priority level to decide better what actions to take next.

Step 4: Incident categorization and classification

Categorize incidents based on type, severity, and impact to prioritize response efforts effectively. You can also assign incidents to predefined categories to help IT teams quickly understand the nature of the issue and apply relevant expertise.

Step 5: Assignment and communication

Assign incidents to the relevant IT personnel based on their expertise and availability. Establish effective communication channels to notify stakeholders about incidents promptly. Regular updates on the incident’s status maintain transparency and manage stakeholders’ expectations throughout the resolution process.

Step 6: Tracking and documentation

Create a robust tracking system to monitor the status and progress of incidents. Be sure to record information such as actions taken, communication details, and any relevant findings for future analysis and improvement.

Step 7: Escalation

Set clear criteria to escalate critical incidents — or those beyond the scope of initial responders — to address them with the necessary level of urgency and expertise.

Step 8: Resolution and closure

Track the steps taken to resolve the incident and officially close the incident upon confirmation of the resolution. Closure finalizes the incident tracking process and allows a seamless transition back to normal operations.

Step 9: Post-incident review

Conduct a comprehensive post-incident review to analyze the incident tracking process. Identify areas for improvement, document lessons learned, and regularly refine procedures based on insights gained for ongoing adaptability and resilience in the face of challenges.

Benefits of incident tracking

Incident tracking in ITOps has several benefits that enhance your organization’s overall efficiency, response speed, and ability to adapt to evolving challenges.

  • Comprehensive visibility: Incident tracking provides a holistic view of correlated events throughout the IT infrastructure toolchain. Visibility facilitates quick identification of potential issues, dependencies, incident impact, and root causes.
  • Automated incident management: Incident tracking groups related alerts into a single incident and automates routing to the appropriate team members. This ensures swift notification and action. Simultaneously, incident tracking suppresses non-actionable alerts through event rules, reducing noise and enabling teams to focus on critical issues.
  • Knowledge centralization and consistency: Incident tracking centralizes information, promoting agile responses while ensuring consistency. It aggregates monitoring events, allowing controlled syncing to ticketing tools. Further, automation based on best practices enables teams to focus on high-value aspects, fostering independence with visibility and control.
  • Help with SLA compliance: Incident tracking emphasizes quick resolution to prevent service degradation and ensure SLA compliance. Providing context and leveraging automation aligns with DevOps best practices, minimizing human intervention and optimizing resolution speed for higher availability.

Best practices for tracking your incidents

Adhering to IT incident tracking best practices is vital for ensuring quick, consistent, and effective resolution of issues, reducing downtime, and enhancing overall system reliability. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Centralize incident tracking: The challenge of incident tracking is compounded when incident data is dispersed. Centralizing incident tracking is a strategic solution, consolidating all relevant information into a unified platform. It simplifies decision-making processes by offering a comprehensive view of incidents.
  • Optimize workflows for system reliability: Optimize ITOps workflows to gain efficiency, address bottlenecks and enable direct communication. Elevate system reliability with rapid incident response, teaching efficient IT issue reporting and automating communication through service desks. Optimize channels and tools for early warnings to ensure swift responses and increased uptime rates.
  • Conduct periodic incident reviews for trends: Leverage incident logs for valuable insights. Periodically review incidents to identify trends and patterns. Analyze the holistic view of incidents to pinpoint recurring problems, assess department-specific issues, and track the overall trend for strategic problem-solving.
  • Establish an incident retrospective: IT teams can gain valuable insights into the root causes of incidents using incident retrospectives, also known as postmortems. This post-incident documentation highlights how incidents occurred, empowering teams to implement systemic change and prevent the recurrence of similar future incidents. Adopting a blameless retrospective approach allows the focus to be on learning and improvement, potentially averting the repetition of the same issue.

Choosing the right incident tracking tools for your business

Good IT incident management tools share common features, no matter their purpose. These tools must be open, reliable, and adaptable.

  • Open: They’re open — everyone who needs them gets instant access to tools and info during high-pressure incidents. This transparency isn’t just for the responders but extends to company stakeholders who need to track response efforts.
  • Reliable: The only experience more stressful than dealing with an incident is doing so while having your key response tools crash. Ensure incident tracking reliability by choosing tools where developers actively work to prevent infrastructure issues for response tools you can trust.
  • Adaptable: Flexibility through integrations, workflows, add-ons, customization, and APIs is key. While starting with a standard configuration is acceptable, the best tools evolve with your practices, remaining flexible to meet changing needs as processes mature.

Use BigPanda Incident Intelligence for better incident management

BigPanda Incident Intelligence enhances ITOps incident tracking by automatically correlating and triaging interrelated incidents. It identifies patterns and relationships among alerts, providing actionable insights for rapid resolution. The platform bundles and correlates alerts from diverse IT components, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of interconnected incidents. With BigPanda, Incident Intelligence you can:

  • Automate alert correlation
  • Gain a holistic incident view
  • Improve incident classification and prioritization
  • Conduct AI-driven root cause analysis

Go beyond basic incident tracking with BigPanda and gain a holistic view of your incidents for faster classification, prioritization, and incident resolution. Sign up for a demo to see how BigPanda Incident Intelligence can convert the chaos of monitoring alerts into actionable incidents.