In IT Service Management (ITSM) it is critical that we empower teams to minimize the potential impact of incidents and problems. If problem management is a reactive function, how can organizations get ahead of service operation issues and instead focused on continual service improvement?

Using ITIL problem management processes, service teams can improve their troubleshooting skills. They can also reduce the quantity and impact of incidents when they occur. 

A Tale of Two Banks: Preventing incidents and improving efficiency 

When organizations place focus on improving problem management processes, they can see measurable and immediate results. The service desk can resolve problems faster through consistent root cause analysis and fewer problems are logged. Here are two examples.

We worked with two of the world's leading global banks after they came to us to address problem management concerns. The first bank, Deutsche Bank, has more than 78,000 employees, more than 2,700 branches in 70 countries and assets of almost $2 trillion. Deutche had teams of problem managers at multiple locations across the globe. Each group of problem managers used different root cause analysis and incident management tools to address client incidents at a local level. They couldn’t seem to reduce the number of incidents or the time required to solve them.

Following a major problem review, we determined that implementing consistent global processes for root cause analysis and incident management was needed. The results were significant. The bank saw a 50% reduction in client-facing incidents in the first year and another 20% the next year. 

The other global financial institution with over 50,000 employees in 36 countries manages the largest portfolio of client assets in the world. All of the problem management teams operated from a single location. However, they were designated as “problem administrators” and not “problem managers.” They did not lead every client incident, but were relegated to the end of the root cause analysis (RCA) process. They were assessing and documenting each incident, addressing lingering actions, and completing other incomplete steps in the process. In addition, their assessments, documentation and follow-up were not always accurate and complete. This was because they were not the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs.)

By transforming “problem administrators” into “problem managers” while making them leaders of the RCA process, this organization had successful results. Priority 1 incidents were reduced by 67% and they saw a significant reduction of backlogged overdue investigations.

Organizations can become much more efficient and effective when service desk employees are trained in incident management and problem solving. Backlogs are cleared, incidents are reduced, and satisfaction dramatically improves.

Learn more about successfully managing problems. Download our Problem Management toolkit.

When Problems Happen: How to minimize the impact

In a technology-driven world, it is virtually impossible in an organization to not have problems. They may arise through an issue during the release management process or could be the result of a recent change request. 

While problems are inevitable, there are ways to keep them from derailing your mission. Organizations that are willing to prioritize problem management process improvement could achieve the following objectives:

·       Reduce volume and severity of IT incidents

·       Drive IT stability

·       Reduce outage costs

·       Resolve customer service issues quickly

·       Minimize service disruptions

·       Reduce costs associated with service disruptions

·       Improve IT customer support and service

·       Increase quality of Change Management

By applying consistent processes through root cause analysis or situation appraisal, teams can become more effective and future incidents are also less likely to happen. 

Solving ITIL Process Problems with KT Resolve

Kepner-Tregoe IT problem management consulting is an excellent way for an organization to reduce costs while increasing IT customer service quality. Heralded as best practice for support organizations, the KT Resolve solution brings quality and consistency to organizations who struggle with problem management. 

Teams learn a structured, critical thinking approach to analyze problems. Team members get to the root cause of problems and select the best fix or workaround to proactively avoid future issues. They learn to clearly describe a problem and gather the most relevant data. Lastly, they learn effective stakeholder communication and resource management throughout the problem or problem life-cycle.

Kepner-Tregoe utilizes a number of high impact processes to deliver results:

·       Reactive Problem Management through high-quality root cause analysis processes;

·       Proactive Problem Management through rigorous situation appraisal; and

·       Pre-emptive Problem Management through facilitated potential problem management


As businesses have become more reliant on the dependability of their IT services, preventing service disruptions by using Kepner-Tregoe methods is highly beneficial. From performing root causes analysis to identifying and resolving problems quickly, organizations can build efficiency and competitive advantage. 

Download our Problem Management toolkit to learn more.