Incident Management Processes: Key Concepts for Maximum Success
A couple of weeks ago, we shared our compact guide to choosing the right incident management system. Our guide is aimed at organizations that are actively considering incident management systems and want to know more about their options.
However, we recognize that successfully transitioning from an old-fashioned paper-based incident management system to a software solution isn’t always plain sailing. There’s more to it than simply choosing an off-the-shelve solution and hoping for the best.
For the transition to be successful, you need to be aware of the key concepts for maximum success. If you’re curious to find out more, keep reading!
In this post, we promise to show you the four key concepts for maximum success when adopting new incident management processes. We’ll show you how these concepts underpin every successful system for reporting, analysing and dealing with incidents in your workplace.
In this post, we’ll be discussing:
- The competitive advantages of incident management software
- Key characteristics of incident management software
- Key concept 1: Real-time monitoring
- Key concept 2: Integration
- Key concept 3: Standardization
- Key concept 4: Automated processes
In this post, we’ll be outlining all of these areas and more.
Sound fair? Then let’s go!
The competitive advantages of incident management software
Leading incident management software should help you improve your incident reporting.
This gives your organization a competitive advantage over your competition.
But what is the competitive advantage?
Well, take a moment and consider;
- What’s most important to you?
- What are the challenges your organization faces?
- What goals do you face?
There’s a good chance that incident management software helps address some of the answers you gave. The right software can help you meet the challenges you face while helping you achieve your goals.
With incident management software, you can:
- Boost your incident reporting rate and make all records easily searchable
- Ensure regulatory compliance by informing the statutory authorities if a serious harm incident occurs.
- Monitor incident investigations and corrective actions
- Take proactive measures to reduce the chance of future incidents occurring
- Save your organization time and money
- Reduce the risk of fines for regulatory non-compliance (In Australia, firms are legally responsible for reporting serious harm incidents to the relevant statutory authorities).
Whether you’re looking to reduce costs, improve compliance, or increase efficiency, incident management software could be just what you need.
By streamlining your incident management processes, you are helping transform the efficiency of your company. You’ll significantly reduce the risk of being fined for non-compliance. You’ll save time when reporting incidents, you’ll be able to deal with them effectively and you’ll be able to take corrective actions when an incident occurs.
Key characteristics of incident management software
Unfortunately, the competitive advantages we just discussed aren’t guaranteed when you invest in incident management software.
You see, leading software will offer these advantages, while lesser options won’t provide your organization with the benefits you are looking for.
Before discussing the key concepts of incident management processes, we need to define what we mean by leading incident management software.
Here are the characteristics of leading incident management software:
- Instant, real-time communication
- Location independent
- Multiple functions
- Comprehensive notification suite
- Analysis, tracking, and investigation
Let’s look at these characteristics in more detail below.
Instant, real-time communication
The best software will give your employees the ability to immediately report an incident, no matter where they are. Leading incident management software can be accessed by a range of devices, including computers, mobile devices, and handheld devices. Employees or contractors can enter the details and status of any incident they encounter via a range of methods, such as text, mobile apps, or email.
These reports are then instantly shared in real-time so that everyone has access to the report. Whether there’s a spill, a critical injury, or a recall, your entire organization will have the information they need at their fingertips.
If you have staff that must manage multiple locations, incident management software can help them handle this challenge. Software that works across a range of devices, including mobile, handheld and computer, will ensure that all reports and notifications are shared with all staff members who have permission to view them.
Leading incident management software is able to combine multiple functions within one convenient package. This includes safety, environment and quality functions. This multi-function ability makes the software far less expensive and less time-consuming compared with having multiple systems for each function.
Some examples of safety functions would include:
- Vehicle accidents or crashes
- Near misses
Within environment functions, we could include:
- Loss of environmental containment (spills/leaks)
- Security breach
- General complaints
- Community complaints
- Plant or equipment damage
Some examples of quality functions would include:
- Product withdrawal
- Product recall
One of the key characteristics of leading incident management software is that it can handle multiple functions within one system. This is less expensive to implement and saves your staff time too.
Comprehensive notification suite
The fourth characteristic of leading incident management software is that it offers a comprehensive and customizable notification suite.
This is helpful for a variety of reasons, including:
- Workflow notifications
You can instruct your staff about the correct course of actions.
- SMS and email notifications
You can communicate with your staff over multiple channels to increase compliance rates.
Good incident management software offers your staff a wide variety of ways to communicate and receive notifications. This helps meet their needs and preferences and increases compliance with incident reporting, analysis and the like.
The dashboard should be self-configurable by employees so they can receive notifications through their preferred channels (i.e. SMS, email, etc.).
Analysis, tracking, and investigation
The fifth characteristic of good incident management software is that it helps with analysis, tracking, and investigation.
This includes the following areas;
- Root cause analysis
The software offers insights into the root cause of an incident, helping you predict future occurrences and put safeguards in place.
- Action allocation and tracking
The software should be able to allocate resources and help you by tracking how these resources are deployed.
Leading software is able to assist you in investigating the incident. For example, if your IT systems crash, the software can pinpoint the root cause of the incident and develop a workflow that helps you avoid a repeat incidence.
Now that we’ve looked at the competitive advantages that incident management software gives you and explored key characteristics of leading incident management software, it’s time to delve into the key concepts for maximum success.
Key concept 1: Real-time reporting and monitoring
The first key concept for maximum success with incident management processes is real-time reporting and monitoring.
The most effective way to implement this is through a cloud-based system that automatically updates your records and databases. As staff members interact with the dashboard, their inputs and updates are shared with everyone else in the organization that has permission to view them.
Real-time monitoring is a key concept because it helps employees stay updated and it helps them take prompt action when an incident occurs.
For example, let’s say that a leak occurs in a warehouse and this is noted by a member of staff. The incident management software wouldn’t have any impact of the physical act of stopping the leak and clearing up the contaminated area; that work would proceed according to company procedures irrespective of whether the business was using paper-based incident reporting or incident management software.
However, what happens after the leak is where you’d see the difference. With paper-based reporting, the incident would take time to work through the different layers of management before arriving on the desk of senior decision-makers. With incident management software, however, every member of staff with permission to view that information would be simultaneously notified in real-time.
Why is this important?
Real-time reporting has several key benefits, including:
- Faster responses to critical incidents
- No more inefficient communications as you’d get from a paper-based system
- Prompter decisions on the course of action
- Awareness of incidence across the organization
- Alert other staff of incidents and critical errors
As we’ve shown, real-time monitoring and reporting is a key concept that is critical for maximum success when implementing an incident management process.
Key concept 2: Cross-platform integration
The second key concept for maximum success with incident management processes is cross-platform integration.
Cross-platform integration ensures that all employees and contractors across an organization with permission to view incident reports and logs can be kept fully in the loop.
To explain how this works, consider that all leading incident management software is cloud-based. This means that employees can view their own customized dashboard via a variety of devices, including computers, mobile devices, and handheld devices.
As the software’s database is stored in the cloud, each employee’s dashboard can be updated in real-time, instantly sharing data with everyone who has permission to view it.
The advantage of this approach is that all responsible parties can be notified simultaneously regardless of which device they are using.
For example, say that a serious injury took place on a property managed by a security firm. Having a paper-based incident reporting management system may mean that the employee involved would have a telephone call with their immediate supervisor, who would then log the incident and notify senior management via email. It may take hours before senior management even becomes aware of the incident.
But with a cross-platform cloud-based incident management solution, the incident management process is much smoother. The employee involved in the incident or their colleague could access the software platform via, say, their mobile device. The report would instantly be shared with everyone in the organization who had permission to view reports, regardless of what type of device they were using.
Notification functions such as sending SMS messages and emails would ensure that everyone was made aware as soon as possible, helping to spur the staff into action.
Key concept 3: Standardization
The third key concept for success is creating a standardized workflow for handling incidents. This concept is especially relevant for large businesses that are looking to standardize incident management processes across multiple locations, premises, or even multiple countries.
Leading incident management processes help standardize the way that employees tackle workflows when handling incidents.
The software itself is able to generate a workflow for dealing with specific issues as soon as an incident is logged.
It can then send automated notifications and reminders to staff, prompting them to take specific actions.
Having the same software across an entire organization means that all employees have a standardized way of dealing with specific incidents, regardless of where they are located.
Standardization can help ensure that a business complies with all applicable regulations, even if their operations are spread across multiple premises.
This reduces the need to investigate the specific practices being employed across organizations and can reduce managerial workloads.
Key concept 4: Automated processes
The fourth key concept for success is the automation of processes. Leading incident management software is able to autonomously respond to, report, and investigate events.
This is especially prevalent with IT-specific incident management software. Issues with software and hardware such as IT errors, crashes, and downtime can be logged, reported, and investigated automatically by the software without any human intervention.
This has several benefits, including:
- Reduced investigation costs
- Increased reporting rate
- More accurate workflow prognosis
- Promoted resolution of problems
Automating the process of logging and responding to incidents frees up your staff’s time to work on other areas. They can focus on fixing the problem by following the workflows created by the software instead of spending time searching for a solution.
The appeal for large organizations is that automated processes can save time and training costs too. For example, in a large company with multiple premises, you can expect similar problems to occur in multiple locations. Once the correct solution has been identified in one location, this data can be shared via the incident management platform, helping reduce the time it takes to find the solution for other premises.
In this post, we’ve explored the four key concepts for maximum success when it comes to incident management processes and incident management software.
With the right software, you can realize these and other great benefits.
You know that spreadsheets, paper systems, and carrier pigeons don’t work, so implementing the right incident management software that can help your organization achieve its goals for a safe and secure workplace should be your next step.
Contact us for a demo to see for yourself how our incident management software can meet your needs!
- Incident Management System: A Start-to-Finish Guide in 2019
- The Top 5 Incident Management Tools for 2019