Company-wide incidents. How well prepared are you?

Agile organizations, multidisciplinary teams, an agile mindset… Modern companies are going all out to respond more quickly to the continuous stream of change coming their way. Unfortunately, the focus here is primarily within primary business processes. When it comes to resolving complex cross-departmental incidents, a decisive, integrated approach is often still lacking.

Despite all the tools, plans and phone lists, in practice it proves very difficult to nip incidents involving multiple stakeholders in the bud… This is a bad thing because when it comes to incidents, time is your main enemy. The longer it takes to resolve an incident, the greater the damage.

A real-life example

For example, I recently spoke with a facility manager who told me about a case of water damage six months ago. It started with a small leak in the server room. The IT department found out because the moisture sensors were going off and took immediate action. Such a leak can cause a short circuit, and once a server is wet, it often needs to be replaced entirely. You want to avoid that, of course. Therefore, the incident manager immediately contacted facility management. Then the ball started rolling:

  • Facility Management contacted the outside vendor responsible for the day-to-day management of the property.
  • The outside manager contacted the property owner.
  • The property owner called in the installation company.
  • The company went looking for someone who knew the property and the facility.
  • The installer got in the car, drove to the property and shut off the main valve.

Precious time lost!

You get the idea. Each step in the process took a lot of extra time because there was a lack of clarity about contacts, responsibility and agreements. Meanwhile, water continued to trickle into the server room. When the tap was finally closed, it was already evening. Much of the hardware had since been disconnected and temporarily relocated. The remaining servers had suffered significant water damage and eventually had to be replaced. A substantial loss.

Don’t forget communication

And that wasn’t all. Because of the problems, employees were unable to log into certain systems. It seemed like a good idea to inform them of this by e-mail, so they would not call the help desk en masse the next morning. But alas… The party did not take place because no one was available to send an email to all the employees.

It can also be done differently!

I hear stories like this more often. In my work as an Agile product manager at Picasse, I constantly shout that cross-departmental problems are best solved by multidisciplinary teams, but that rarely goes well. Incidents often cut across the entire organization. How do you make sure your process is set up accordingly? So that the right people can act quickly when it matters.

The central question is always: who do you alert, how do you communicate and how do you keep everyone involved informed? In nine out of 10 organizations (outside the IT department, of course), this is not well managed.

The flooded server room incident demonstrates this. ICT, Facility Management, Human Resources. All the departments involved had their act together just fine. With a perfect incident management process and state-of-the-art monitoring tools. The problem, however, was that the departments had not properly aligned their processes. The result: wet computers, failures, stress, high costs….

What does an integrated approach look like?

It can also be done differently! At Picasse, we developed a solution that allows different teams and departments within an organization to communicate efficiently. By setting up an integrated workflow for each type of incident, all relevant teams in the organization are hooked up and can act quickly and efficiently. What that looks like?

  • The various incident management processes and (monitoring) systems in the organization, are linked. This is not a heavy integration but, for example, a simple text message sent to our system.
  • Depending on the type of incident, the system calls available colleagues from the relevant departments via their cell phones. If someone does not respond to the call, the next one is automatically called.
  • All stakeholders receive important documents (relevant checklists, phone lists, communication plans, etc.) directly on their phones so they have the right information.
  • Available employees are immediately added to a telephone consultation so they can coordinate together on what needs to be done and who will do what.


Want to know more about our solution? I am happy to tell you all about it. Please feel free to contact us.

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