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4 steps to minimize MTTR

Any seasoned IT professional will tell you that one of the biggest challenges they face in their day to day job is reducing mean time to resolution (MTTR), or the amount of time it takes to get key systems back up and running after an incident. Down time in any industry can have a significant impact on both internal operations and external service levels. And the longer it takes to get things resolved, the worse the problems can become. Intelligent automation can make minimizing MTTR even easier and more effective.

Managing mean time to resolution involves 4 main steps:

  • Identifying the problem
  • Uncovering the root cause of the problem
  • Correcting the problem
  • Testing to verify that the problem as successfully been resolved

How quickly you can achieve the first step will ultimately depend on the quality of the monitoring system you have in place. Having a basic system can only get you so far and leaves a lot of room for costly error. Depending on how many incoming alerts your organization fields, staying on top of them can be too much for a small IT department. That means serious issues could slip through the cracks and cause major problems down the road. Enhancing your system with intelligent automation can create a highly effective, closed-loop solution, ensuring that all critical incidents requiring attention are prioritized and addressed accordingly.

Once an incident is identified, the next step is determining its root cause. This is the costliest part of the MTTR equation because it takes time, resources and manpower. Obviously, the more serious the issue, the more quickly it needs to be addressed. It may require “all hands on deck” to help uncover the cause so it can be corrected. It’s also important to maintain visibility and accountability at all times throughout the process. Who is handling the problem? What steps have been taken so far to get to the bottom of it? Has anything been missed? Again, automation can address this by providing real-time status of incidents, ownership, severity and priority in one central dashboard.

As soon as the problem has been properly diagnosed, the third step is taking the necessary actions to resolve it as quickly and effectively as possible. With most incidents, time is of the essence, so developing a solution is critical. One of the biggest benefits of integrating intelligent automation into your incident management process is that it can actually predict MTTR based on historic events. This can provide a guideline for the resolution process and alleviate some of the stress that naturally arises during a downtime. The IT team will be able to work quickly and efficiently to implement a solution that will get systems back up and running fast, limiting the negative effects on the company.

The final step in the MTTR process is testing to ensure that the problem is, indeed, resolved. It’s also important to assess each process to identify areas that can be improved. Being proactive and leveraging artificial intelligence can help to determine the best way to deal with similar incidents and can even help to avoid them completely.

In conclusion, managing the mean time to resolution process involves careful monitoring and the right tools, specifically intelligent automation. This can provide the most timely and effective response and a faster overall turnaround, thereby reducing or even eliminating impact on the business.

If your current incident response strategy isn’t producing these results or you’d like to learn more about how IA can dramatically reduce your MTTR, take Ayehu for a test drive or download a free 30 day trial.

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Want to improve your MTTR? Try a different incentive.

Want to improve your MTTR? Try a different incentive.Are your IT personnel currently being rewarded for accelerated incident resolutions? If not, this could be a way to significantly improve your mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR), by including rewards that incentivize your Level 1and 2 technicians to quickly response and resolve issues. Once MTTR becomes established as a benchmark metric for your team, additional improvements can be achieved via IT process automation.

Why is MTTR so important? Consider for a moment that 86% of companies suffer some type of system outage each year. Furthermore, a recent survey conducted by Acronis and the Ponemon Institute revealed that such an outage can cost a business an average of over $366k annually. Managing such an outage and bringing critical systems back up as quickly as possible is fundamental in how it will impact the future success of the business.

In order to improve MTTR, IT managers must find a way to drive home the importance of quick response and timely incident resolution to front line employees. What’s the best way to do this? Incentivize. Here are a few of the ways you can motivate your team:

  • Set key performance indicators (KPIs) at both the team level and the individual level that are clear, specific and measurable.
  • Offer varying rewards that include a mixture of cash incentives as well gifts and other non-monetary perks. Different people are driven by different things, so add some variety.
  • Don’t discount the value of flexibility itself as a reward. The ability to work from home or on flexible schedules can often be enough incentive to improve performance.
  • Keep the entire process transparent and conduct regular performance reviews. The IT industry in and of itself is defined by specific causes and effects, and those who work within tend to be analytical and results-driven.
  • Make incentives clear and attainable and measure progress regularly for optimum results.

These are some of the ways you can make an incentive program successful. Now, let’s take it a step further and look at what specific metrics should be included in that incentive plan.

  • Response Time – Amount of time it takes for a caller or live chatter to actually connect with a support agent
  • Average Handle Time (AHT) – The average amount of time support spends handling calls or chat sessions
  • First Call Resolution Rate (FCR) – The number of incidents that are resolved on the first call or session
  • Escalation Rate – The number of incidents that are escalated to upper tier levels
  • Service Level Agreement (SLR) – Whether specific service levels, such as promised resolution timeframes, are being successfully and consistently met

Of course, each IT group may have additional metrics, based on the specific roles and needs of that particular organization, but these are the basics that relate directly to MTTR. When these five KPIs are tracked, management can get a much clearer picture of how critical incidents and outages are being handled and where improvements can and should be made for future success.

So, where does IT process automation come into play? Simple. ITPA allows technology to do much of the heavy lifting in terms of managing incidents, ensuring that notifications are sent to the right people at the right time and making it easy to track progress at any point within the process. To take it one step further, automation can even provide the opportunity to proactively handle incidents so that they can be resolved before they become a serious problem. All of this leads to improved MTTR and allows IT personnel to successfully meet their goals and achieve their incentives.

Want to learn how you can leverage ITPA to not only incentivize your IT personnel, but also get your critical systems back online in minutes? Download our free white paper below!

How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes

How to Get Critical Systems Back Online using IT Process Automation

How to Get Critical Systems Back Online using IT Process AutomationIf you are concerned with critical incident management and its impact on productivity, service levels and downtime- IT Process Automation is your solution, and this post is for you.

IT operations staff spend a huge portion of their time resolving urgent problems like system downtime, performance, and network availability, or performing critical maintenance tasks. As IT environment get more virtualized and more complex, problems take longer and longer to resolve. The burden of these urgent tasks, combined with today’s tight budgets, make it difficult for IT operations to work on key initiatives that add business value. The solution? IT Process Automation.

The Challenge of IT Problem Resolution
IT operations departments are expected to innovate and deliver business value, but IT operations staff spend a large portion of their time resolving problems with critical systems and performing critical maintenance tasks. With so many resources invested in these urgent activities, there is little time left for initiatives that add business value.

Are You Fighting Fires or Adding Value?
In today’s IT organizations, IT operations departments are at the forefront of innovation. Key initiatives such as virtualization, cloud computing, IT modernization, ITIL implementation, and IT compliances (e.g. SOX)—all of which have a huge impact on IT productivity and agility—are the responsibility of operations.
But do operations staff really have the time to make these big steps forward?

It is a common experience among operations staff that urgent problems push aside other important tasks. A large portion of the time is spent resolving problems—such as system downtime, performance of critical systems, and network availability—and performing critical maintenance of the same systems, leaving relatively few resources for key initiatives, strategy and planning, and even regular ongoing maintenance.

This makes it very difficult for IT operations to keep CIOs and CEOs happy—to do more than just “keep the wheels turning,” by delivering real business value.

Two Trends That Will Make the Problem Worse Forrester Research identifies two trends that will adversely affect IT operations’ ability to resolve problems while leaving time for other activities:

  • Increased complexity of the IT environment—virtualization and cloud computing introduce “a new layer of infrastructure complexity”; a complex infrastructure means problems are getting more complex to identify and troubleshoot, and require more time to resolve. Critical maintenance tasks are also more difficult than ever.
  • Economic pressures and accelerated trend to productivity—IT organizations are required to do more with less, and “business satisfaction with IT seems to be at an all-time low.” With less manpower and increased pressure to deliver value, IT operations departments are starving for resources.

Clearly, a solution is needed that will make problem resolution processes more efficient. This is the only way to reduce the burden on operations teams, and free up time for more valuable work.





How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes




Minimizing Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR) with IT Process Automation

Any seasoned IT professional will tell you that one of the biggest challenges they face in their day to day job is reducing mean time to resolution (MTTR), or the amount of time it takes to get key systems back up and running after an incident. Down time in any industry can have a significant impact on both internal operations and external service levels. And the longer it takes to get things resolved, the worse the problems can become. IT process automation can make minimizing MTTR even easier and more effective.

Managing mean time to resolution involves 4 main steps:

  • Identifying the problem
  • Uncovering the root cause of the problem
  • Correcting the problem
  • Testing to verify that the problem as successfully been resolved

How quickly you can achieve the first step will ultimately depend on the quality of the monitoring system you have in place. Having a basic system can only get you so far, but leaves a lot of room for costly error. Depending on how many incoming alerts your organization fields, staying on top of them can be too much for a small IT department. That means serious issues could slip through the cracks and cause major problems down the road. Enhancing your system with IT Process Automation can create a highly effective, closed-loop solution, ensuring that all critical incidents requiring attention are received and prioritized accordingly.

Once an incident is identified, the next step is determining its root cause. This is the costliest part of the MTTR equation because it takes time, resources and manpower. Obviously, the more serious the issue, the more quickly it needs to be addressed. This may require “all hands on deck” to help uncover the cause so it can be corrected. It’s also important that there is visibility and accountability at all times throughout the process. Who is handling the problem? What steps have been taken so far to get to the bottom of it? Has anything been missed? Again, automation can offer this by providing real-time status of incidents, ownership, severity and priority in one central dashboard.

As soon as the problem has been properly diagnosed, the third step is taking the necessary actions to resolve it as quickly and effectively as possible. With most incidents, time is of the essence, so developing a solution is critical. One of the biggest benefits of integrating automation into your incident management process is that it can actually predict Mean Time to Resolution based on historic events. This can provide a guideline for the resolution process and alleviate some of the stress that naturally arises during a downtime. The IT team will be able to work quickly and efficiently to implement a solution that will get systems back up and running fast, limiting the negative effects on the company.

The final step in the MTTR process is testing to ensure that the problem is, indeed, resolved. It’s also important to assess each process to identify areas that can be improved. Being proactive can help to understand the best way to deal with similar incidents and can even help to avoid them completely.

In conclusion, managing the mean time to resolution process involves careful monitoring and the right tools, specifically IT process automation. This can provide the most timely and effective response and a faster overall turnaround, thereby reducing or even eliminating impact on the business. If your current incident response system isn’t producing these results or you’d like to learn more about how ITPA can dramatically reduce your MTTR, call us today at 1-800-652-5601 or download a free 30 day trial.




How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes




CIO – Can Changing IT Staff Compensation Structure Improve Organization’s MTTR?

compensationAre your IT personnel currently being rewarded for accelerated incident resolutions?  If not, this could significantly improve your mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR), by including rewards that incentivize your Level 1 and Level 2 technicians to quickly respond to and resolve issues.  Once MTTR becomes established as a benchmark metric for your team, additional improvements can be achieved via IT process automation.

Why is MTTR so important?

Consider for a moment that 86% of companies suffer some type of system outage each year. Furthermore, the 2012 Acronis Disaster Recovery Index survey conducted by Acronis and the Ponemon Institute revealed that such an outage can cost a business an average of over $366k annually. Managing such an outage and bringing critical systems back up as quickly as possible is fundamental to successfully restoring business operations back to normal.

In order to improve MTTR, IT managers must find a way to drive home the importance of quick response and timely incident resolution to front line employees. What’s the best way to do this? Incentivize.

Here are a few ways you can motivate your team:

  • Set key performance indicators (KPIs) at both the team level and the individual level that are clear, specific, and measurable.
  • Offer varying rewards that include a mixture of cash incentives as well gifts and other non-monetary perks. Different people are driven by different things, so add some variety.
  • Don’t discount the value of flexibility itself as a reward. The ability to work from home or on flexible schedules can often be enough incentive to improve performance.
  • Keep the entire process transparent and conduct regular performance reviews. The IT industry in and of itself is defined by specific causes and effects, and those who work within tend to be analytical and results-driven. Make incentives clear and attainable and measure progress regularly for optimum results.

These are some of the ways you can make an incentive program successful. Now, let’s take it a step further and look at what specific metrics should be included in that incentive plan.

  • Response Time – Amount of time it takes for a caller or live chatter to actually connect with a support agent
  • Average Handle Time (AHT) – The average amount of time support spends handling calls or chat sessions
  • First Call Resolution Rate (FCR) – The number of incidents that are resolved on the first call or session
  • Escalation Rate – The number of incidents that are escalated to upper tier levels
  • Service Level Agreement (SLR) – Whether specific service levels, such as promised resolution timeframes, are being successfully and consistently met 

Of course, each IT group may have additional metrics, based on the specific roles and needs of that particular organization, but these are the basics that relate directly to MTTR. When these five KPIs are tracked, management can get a much clearer picture of how critical incidents and outages are being handled and where improvements can and should be made for future success.

So, where does IT process automation come into play?

Simple. IT Process Automation (ITPA) allows technology to do much of the heavy lifting in terms of managing incidents, ensuring that notifications are sent to the right people at the right time and making it easy to track progress at any point within the process. To take it one step further, automation can even provide the opportunity to proactively handle incidents so that they can be resolved before they become a serious problem. All of this leads to improved MTTR and allows IT personnel to successfully meet their goals and achieve their incentives.





How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes




Why System Monitoring Simply Isn’t Enough

Why System Monitoring Simply Isn’t EnoughThese days, organizations are spending way too much money, time and effort on monitoring their infrastructure, system, apps, etc. The fact of the matter is, simply knowing there is a problem doesn’t actually solve it! You can spend all the time in the world monitoring your systems, but if you are not able to quickly identify, analyze and resolve the problem, you’re really no better off than you were at the start of the process. Simply put, system monitoring just isn’t enough to keep IT operations running efficiently.

Consider the following facts:

  • More than 85% of outage processes are done manually and require human intervention.
  • IT staff (support and admin) are using manual procedures to diagnose, analyze, notify, escalate and resolve problems.
  • IT staff spends between 30%-50% of their time troubleshooting and fixing problems.
  • Level 2 production support spend the majority of their time on issues that could be resolved (with the right solution) by NOC personnel.

The result: an inordinate amount of time and resources being wasted on a daily basis. Can your organization afford to keep spending money on manual processes? The answer to that question should be a resounding ‘no’. So what’s the solution? Simple: IT Process Automation.

IT process automation can handle all of the manual system monitoring processes, including:

  • Detecting the problem automatically from your monitoring system
  • Troubleshooting to identify the exact issue to isolate the problem
  • Alerting the appropriate parties and escalating if needed
  • Remediating the issue at hand (either fully or semi-automated)
  • Documenting the entire process resolution for process improvements

Think about what happens in the event of a system outage. Whether it’s internal IT or a managed service provider, the focus immediately becomes about time to resolution. The longer critical systems are down, the more devastating an impact it will have on an organization. With regular monitoring, time is not on your side. Every moment you spend manually working to resolve the situation, your service levels are dropping.

IT process automation, on the other hand, takes the entire workflow and executes it in a timely and efficient way, reducing the duration of an outage by upwards of 70%.

Some IT operations think scripting can solve the problem of monitoring. They couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, scripting takes more time and wastes more resources, which defeats the purpose. It’s simply not real automation, nor can it replace real IT automation. ITPA lets you integrate all of the necessary steps into one easy to manage workflow. This saves time and, in the long run, money.

Another popular argument against IT automation as opposed to traditional monitoring is the level of control over the process. Don’t worry! With ITPA, there is still the ability to integrate human decision making, so critical points are still handled with the care and attention they require. Additionally, advanced alert notification and escalation are built in to the workflow process, ensuring a timely response and resolution, and the ability to oversee the entire process every step of the way. It’s basically monitoring but on a whole new level.

What it all boils down to is the fact that monitoring is more than just collecting stats, sending out alerts, and pinging devices to verify availability. It’s about protecting your business from costly and devastating outages, failures and inadequate customer service levels. Monitoring plays a critical role in the overall success of an organization, therefore it is not something that should be put on a back shelf and forgotten about. The best way to maximize your monitoring is to automate it, and IT Process Automation is the right tool for the job.





How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes