Help Desk Administration

IT Incidents: How to Prioritize and Escalate

By Ant Pruitt

Prioritization of IT incidents is always a challenge for the help desk—especially when an end user considers his or her problem to be much more pressing than it actually is. IT requests range in severity and priority, but sometimes support incidents must be escalated for the sake of the user and the company.

Ant Pruitt writes, “One of your users is frustrated with IT because their sticky S key is making the morning data entry difficult and nobody has shown up to fix it. Another user needs to send a proposal to a prospect and Excel refuses to save the formulas. Frustrating, ill-timed moments like these will happen in everyone’s day-to-day enterprise computing, and it’s up to the IT support staff to prioritize just how soon each issue can be addressed and resolved. The IT incident management hierarchy may not be the most popular in your organization, but it can definitely aid in optimal information systems performance.

“Yes, all IT incidents are important—to a certain extent. Enterprise IT does a good job of creating service level agreements (SLAs) that set expectations on when and how IT support incidents and requests are handled. Typically, there’s a rating decision tree that relates to the level of severity. For example, priority-1 is the most severe and priority-5 is the least. Incidents affecting the whole enterprise or that are publicly facing are definitely the highest priority. Anything below these high priority incidents or requests are defined in the SLAs.

“The problems come when end users demand that their issues to be escalated to a higher priority.”

Read the full article.