In some cases I believe that the reason that we have a challenge in showing the value of what problem management is capable of is that it attempts to improve the experience where the value realization may not be as visible.
Think about it in these terms. Incident management always has a high level of visibility. Also take into account that despite the fact that they are working with something that is broken we tend to have a culture of hero worship (I think we have all come to agree with that) and we celebrate them and support teams when they restore service. The trouble is that Problem Management may not be as visible and as such their value may not be as clear.
Here’s an example:
At organization “Random co” the problem management team is actively looking at 5 problems which over the past few months has generated several incidents each. To be fair, these are important, however when your leadership team looks at the results from problem management there is no “wow” factor with their results.
In a tightened economy you really need to position problem to be as visible in some capacity as their Incident counterparts. To be completely fair Incident and Problem are not really even comparable, however when the accountants open the books they compare cost for each person equally. To compensate Problem needs to do something to demonstrate their value, particularly when they are not resolving problems with as much regularity as the Incident team.
What if the Problem Manager from Random co looked at the top 10 escalations which are coming into their service desk. While they may not be incidents or considered critical you are getting the same things over and over, much like a problem.
Take the password reset for instance, not everyone has an automated or self-serve styled password reset functionality built in. This task can eat up a considerable amount of service desk resources, remember I mentioned we were in a tight economy? Reducing or eliminating these would improve the workload on the Service Desk, improve the customer experience since it would have a domino effect with regards to time spent on other activities. After all if we aren’t spending time on resetting a password we could apply it to other issues further improving turnaround time on those escalations.
So the question is why aren’t these looked at by the Problem Management function?
Here are a couple of possibilities in my opinion.
If random co has a Problem Management team or role, they simply never looked at these before because that wasn’t the way they did things, which put them in the potential loop for always looking for ways to justify their function to leadership teams who always see Incident as the valuable one. We all know that Incidents do not add value; they only appear to because of our hero worship.
The other possibility is that Random co doesn’t have this function. This could stem from the fact that they either did and it was removed because it could not demonstrate its value or, they were not able to establish a problem management function for the same reason.
My guess is that if you were able to address the top call drivers for the service desk this would demonstrate a great deal of value. Look at how you’re your organization addresses the top calls. Who is managing them and moving them in the right direction. Maybe it could be a Problem manager.
Feel free to let me know what you think and what your organization does.