Assessing Business Impact (High-Medium-Low)

Discussion on issues related directly or largely to ITIL problem management.
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:00 pm

Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:21 am

Hi to the Forum, 1st post.

As part of our Visual Management board for leadership, My department is looking at another way we can assess Business Impact (High-Medium-Low) on some of our core business processess after incidents take place, so I wanted to see how people have done this in the past.

It seems like there's so many variables that come into play when determining the level of the impact such as: What time of the day did the incident occur?, What process(es) did it effect, How long did it last?, Was sales volume in-line with the day's expected volume despite the incident occuring?, etc.

In the end, it feels like all we're left with is a gut-check of what we "feel" the impact was. Has anyone utilized a matrix or other tool that they use in their organization to help better assess the impact (High-Medium-Low) following an incident? Just wanted to gather your thoughts....Thanks in advance!

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Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:00 pm

Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:48 am

For Problems, it is derived from the Incidents, we have both a Technical and a User Impact rating for each Incident.

Do you separate your impacts into Technical and User?
You could go further, Technical, User, Financial and then determine your chart for a consolidating Impact rating, because it could vary each and every time.
Technical - High
User - Low
Financial - Low

Of course, each category would have defined criteria for assessing Low, Medium, High. Then you refine it until the outcome meets the gut/logical outcome that makes sense.

Some of the generic criteria we use involve:

Timing (Core Hours, non-core hours, peak)
SLAs (exceed/break)
Number of Registered Users / Number users typically active at that time
Volume of Transactions typical
Duration of Incident
Duration of resulting backlog/workflow

Is that any help to you?

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Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:22 am

This is the classic dilemma. you need to decide right now, but it takes a while to establish the facts.

Don't forget that the main initial reason for establishing impact is to prioritise your response and therefore only comes into play when you have a clash of demand for resources. That reduces the pain a bit.

If you are going by some intuitive judgement based on experience and background knowledge, then you need to involve the customer at a knowledgeable (and preferably, authoritative, level, since business impact is primary.

In an ideal world the customer will agree the priority with you and in a less than ideal world you should still try to get such agreement in particularly problematic cases in the high (business) risk areas of services.
"Method goes far to prevent trouble in business: for it makes the task easy, hinders confusion, saves abundance of time, and instructs those that have business depending, both what to do and what to hope."
William Penn 1644-1718
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