Incident Management Vs Problem Management In ITSM

Incident ManagementITSMProblem Management

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Are you confused by the difference between IT incident management and IT problem management? While incidents or problems may sound semantic to some, in the world of ITIL they are not. In ITIL, the incidents do not become problems. However, problems cause incidents. Every time you come across some vulnerabilities, or issues while delivering a product or service, whether it’s software-based or hardware-based, or service actions done behind the scenes, these occurrences cause the incidents.

Incident Vs Problems In ITSM

In the world of ITIL, an incident is defined as any unplanned interruption, or degradation of quality, in a service or service component, whereas, a problem is defined as any actual or potential root cause of any one or more incidents. While ITIL incident management process is defined as the immediate restoration of service, ITIL problem management in ITSM is defined as a process of identifying the root cause of the incident.





Trigger Event

Ultimate Event

High Volume

Low Volume





Restore Service


Incident Management in ITSM

Incident management is highly tactical, and reactive and is a response to the failure of the service desk to provide help to the clients. MIRAT’s ITIL incident management process assists in reducing the frequency and volume of incidents. It also helps you avoid self-inflicting incidents by assisting you in making changes to systems that may be causing the incidents. incident management solution helps you in preventing incident recurrence and assists you in building user trust.

The main objective of ITIL incident management process is to restore normal service operations as soon as possible. Here the term ‘normal’ is referred to as defined by Service Level Agreement (SLA). Apart from this, incident management in ITSM has the following other objectives:

  • To log and track incidents wherever applicable
  • To deal with all incidents consistently
  • To assist problem management team as required
  • To assist the Service Desk team as required.

The purpose of incident management solution is to:

  • Restore normal service operations asap
  • Minimize adverse impacts on business operations and
  • Ensure the best possible levels of service quality and availability.

The scope of incident management solution is to manage any disruption or potential disruption to live IT services. It also includes events identified directly by users through service desk, identified through an interface between event management and incident management tools and those reported or logged by technical staff.

Incident management solution adds a lot of value to your business. It lowers business downtime, which in turn leads to higher availability of the services. It allows businesses to better identify priorities and dynamically allocate resources as required. It also increases the ability to identify potential improvements to services.

Problem Management in ITSM

ITSM problem management has very low visibility to business leaders because they have a difficult time separating it from incident management. Problems in an IT environment are preventive. Problem management process is investigative and works towards finding out ‘why’ something happened and how to remediate it? MIRAT’s ITIL problem management assists you in identifying improvements necessary in the system and implementing changes. Problems can be incident driven and therefore, ITSM problem management work toward preventing future incidents.

The main objective of ITIL problem management is to identify problems and resolve problems as soon as possible. Apart from this, MIRAT’s ITIL problem management module aims

  • To eliminate recurring incidents and
  • To minimize the impact of incidents or problems that cannot be prevented.

To be successful in problem management process, you need to avoid focusing on success or failures during service disruptions as it would lead to finger pointing. In problem management, it is essential to learn to discover the ‘why’ of the event and focus on the goal of resolving it and preventing it from future occurrences. It is also essential to prepare reports on what went wrong and why as this information will become an addition your knowledge base.

In ITSM problem management, the objective is always prevention rather than creating excessive metrics. If too many problems are being analysed, problem management process will not work. When there is a lack of information or lack of information sharing and there are no well defined processes, the process will also collapse. MIRAT provides, numerous methodologies you can use to structure problem management. In problem management the priority is set from – people, process and tools, from most important to least important.

Most problem management systems fail because they are missing the most important aspect – a senior leader. To succeed at effective problem management, it is essential to know that the process of investigation takes time. This is because you need to follow through your mitigation plan and document the findings after a detailed root cause analysis. To ensure the process consumes less time, filtering and categorization of incidents is beneficial.

Root Cause In ITSM

The root cause in ITSM is the reason for the occurrence of an incident or a problem. In IT service management, a problem root cause is different from an incident root cause. This is because an incident’s root cause tends to be more system-oriented or technology-oriented. However, a problem root cause tends to be more people-oriented.

Incidents have a trigger event having an immediate impact and the question asked in such situations is ‘what triggered the event’? Meanwhile, a problem is an ultimate event, which is also the source of the impact and the question that arises in such events is ‘why the disruption occurred’?

To find the root cause of a problem in ITSM, a technique called – 5 Whys, is used. To understand the process lets assume a scenario in which your company’s website is down.

Why did it happen

It ran out of memory.


Because It was incorrectly configured.


Because the site administrator made a mistake.


Because the development team had not provided adequate information.


Because they assumed it was obvious.

After finding the root cause of the problem what is the solution?

Cause 1: The website ran out of memory

Countermeasure: Get the site up and running ASAP

Cause 2: Incorrect Configuration

Countermeasure: Create a SOP to verify configuration before every update.

Cause 3: Site admin made a mistake

Countermeasure: Make sure site admin knows how to run the new verification.

Cause 4: Development team hadn’t provided adequate instructions

Countermeasure: Train development team to provide sufficient instructions

Cause 5: Assumed it was obvious

Countermeasure: Have a word with development team manager.

Advantages of Root Cause Analysis

  • Allows you to identify the cause of your problem and not just its symptoms.
  • Its simple and easy to use.
  • Helps you avoid taking immediate action without considering the root cause of the problem.

Disadvantages of Root Cause Analysis

  • Different people may get different answers as to the cause of the same problem
  • It is only as good as the knowledge and experience of the people using it.
  • You may not dive deep enough to uncover the root cause of the problem entirely.

Operationalizing Incidents Vs Problems

When you operationalize incident management, you need to focus on service delivery rather than focus on failure recovery. It is essential to make sure, the service delivery as continuous as possible. The quality of the incidents tickets are also critical. Benchmarking your performance and making reports is also important to learn about the areas your business is improving and the areas it is not.

Apart from this, considering the role of the person responsible for incident management is also critical. You will need a professional who has the ability and the right kind of communication with all stakeholders. You will also need a person who functions efficiently in a high pressure environment.

While operationalizing problem management, you need to have that senior leader by your side that is committed to the process of problem management. Similar to incident management, it is essential to consider the role of the person responsible for performing the problem management. Problem management requires collaborative decision making and it is very thought and intellectually oriented. Similar to incident management, it also essential to benchmark and report the entire event apart from filtering and focusing on the goal.

Managing incidents and problems effectively is crucial for the success of an organization. MIRAT understands this and presents you with right tools necessary for incident management and problem management. This makes the process easier and smoother.

To learn more about MIRAT’s incident management and problem management modules schedule a trial/demo with us today and discuss with our IT experts’s IT Infrastructure Management and its benefits.’s IT service management framework is Affordable & Easy to use! Get your Dashboard ready in only 5 minutes. Contact us now!

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