IT Professional Services and the Importance of Escalation Management

Posted by Gary Utley on December 19, 2018

When a critical IT issue emerges, do you have an established chain of command? Are your employees empowered to react? Would they be able to identify the signs? Having a structured system of escalation management is incredibly important for every business, as without one employees can be left completely adrift, unable to deal with larger issues as they occur. Here's what you need to know about escalation management.

What is Escalation Management?

A large IT department can deal with hundreds if not thousands of issues a day. Most of those issues will be fairly mundane. Some will not. When IT departments encounter a large issue, they need to be able to escalate it up the chain of command until it reaches someone who is appropriately experienced and specialized. Otherwise, an issue can end up being bounced around indefinitely among the lower tiers of IT support or could end up going unnoticed while larger and more serious problems emerge.

What Makes Escalation Management So Important?

Effectively escalating issues means that these issues are dealt with faster. IT issues have a habit of snowballing; if the issue isn't resolved quickly, it can impact the organization as a whole. Productivity can be lost, at best, as employees struggle to use the technological tools they have been provided. At worst, a major security breach could occur if an issue is not appropriately escalated to someone who can diagnose and mitigate it.

Over time, improper escalation management will lead to a myriad of issues eventually becoming much larger problems. This, in turn, leads to an IT team that is constantly putting out fires and playing catch up, because its business processes haven't been properly developed.

The Essentials of Strong Escalation Management

What do professional IT services do to create a culture of strong escalation management? It often breaks down to three things:

  • Strong internal protocols. It's not enough to have business processes. An organization must also periodically ensure that these processes are actually being followed. IT audits and IT fitness checks are designed to make sure that a company's processes are still being accurately followed and that they don't need to be changed to account for organizational evolution.

  • Partnerships with key service providers. Oftentimes, resolving escalated tickets requires the help of service providers such as Microsoft, AWS, and others. The problem is that just because an issue is incredibly important to you, that doesn’t mean that the service provider will prioritize it accordingly. In these situations, it pays to have an MSP who has strong partnerships with your solution provider and that can work with them to expedite the process.

  • Automated escalation. Automated escalation via helpdesk solutions can take some of the labor off of an internal IT department, thereby making it easier to focus on and to manage larger and more important tasks. Indeed, automating as many tasks as possible is the healthiest way to develop out an IT team, as it allows them to leverage new technologies for better overall IT support.

While escalation management is only one pillar of strong IT, it's nevertheless one of the most important factors in determining whether an IT team is going to be able to be responsive and ready to meet its challenges. If your organization does not have proper management for its escalation processes, it may be time for a complete IT review. Effective escalation management starts with the right partner. Contact CWPS today.

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Topics: Escalation Management, IT Consulting