The Compact Guide to Choosing Incident Management Software
Are you curious about how to choose the best incident management software for your organization?
If so, we’ve got you covered with this compact guide!
We’ll explain everything you need to know about how to choose the best incident management software for your company, business or organization.
Choosing the right software can be challenging, and, while investing in software can bring plenty of advantages, there are also plenty of traps and pitfalls to watch out for along the way.
So whether you’re a small business owner looking to improve the way you handle incidents, or you’re looking for a way to harmonize incident management procedures across multiple facilities, we’re here to help.
We’ll explain the benefits of the leading incident management software packages on the market today and show you the exact steps you need to follow in order to choose the best software for your needs.
In this compact guide, we’ll be discussing things like:
- What is Incident Management Software?
- Who needs Incident Management Software?
- Types of Incident Management Software
- What can Incident Management Software do?
- Why is Incident Management Software important?
- What to look for when choosing Incident Management Software
- Taking your next steps
Sound fair? Then let’s go!
What is Incident Management Software?
Incident Management Software is any software that helps a company, business or organization record, manage and investigate any incidents that occur on their premises or involve their staff.
When an organization starts using incident management software, it will typically make the software available to employees via computers, smartphones, and tablets. As everyone has access to the same software, members of staff can report incidents as they occur. Senior stakeholders such as members of the management team can track how each incident is responded along the way.
Incident management software can help with:
- Reporting incidents
- Investigating incidents
- Analysing incidents
- Taking proactive actions
Who needs Incident Management Software?
Incident management software is available for companies, businesses, and organizations across almost all work disciplines.
This includes fields in the following areas:
- Quality assurance
- Product quality
- Business management
Organizations across almost every industry can benefit from having some form of incident management software.
Types of Incident Management Software
We can group incident management software into two main categories:
- Incident management software for physical operations
- Incident management software for IT/DevOps
Let’s look at both of these categories in greater detail!
Incident management software for physical operations
Many businesses are primarily concerned with physical incidents such as injuries, spills, and accidents that occur on their premises. Firms in the building and construction sectors and agricultural sectors will generally fall into this category. They need incident management software that helps them monitor when accidents take place and how to minimize the chances of similar incidents occurring in the future.
These organizations are generally less concerned with logging and dealing with IT-related incidents, however they may have separate incident management software for that purpose.
Incident management software for IT/DevOps
IT-focused incident management software is specifically designed to address IT challenges such as crashes and errors. Firms that invest in this type of software may be less concerned with logging physical incidents, although they may have separate software for that purpose.
IT-specific incident management software is used as part of an organization’s overall IT management strategy alongside identity management, mobile device management, and service desk solutions. This software can help automate tasks, reduce downtime, increase coloration and unify projects.
Let’s look in greater detail at how incident management software does this.
What can Incident Management Software do?
Incident Management Software, whether it is focused primarily on physical incidents or IT issues can help with the following tasks:
- Reporting incidents
- Investigating incidents
- Analysing incidents
- Responding to incidents
Let’s break these tasks down:
1. Reporting incidents
All organizations experience incidents from time to time. The main purpose of incident management software is to help staff members report incidents accurately and promptly.
These could be categorized into one of three main groups:
- Physical incidents
- Environmental incidents
- General incidents
Physical incidents include:
- A near hit or miss
- Staff/contractor injuries/serious illness
- Motor vehicle collision
Environmental incidents include:
- Plant or equipment damage
- Loss of environmental containment (spills/leaks)
General incidents include:
- General complaints
- Community complaints
- Product withdrawal or recall
Incident management software helps organizations streamline the process whereby staff and contractors can report all of these types of incidents. With the incident management software platform shared among all staff and senior management, incidents can be logged in real-time.
Incident management software that focuses on IT/DevOps can help with reporting of:
- Digital incidents and errors
- Frequency of downtime and crashes
2. Investigating incidents
The second benefit of incident management software is that it helps an organization investigate any incidents that occur.
The incident management software platform contains a clear record of:
- Where the incident occurred
- Who witnessed and documented it
- Any follow up actions that were taken
Incident management software can streamline the investigation process by giving access to all members of an organization.
However, IT/DevOps software can go one step further. It can not only alert staff of an incident with their company’s software or hardware, but it can automatically generate a report of the problem and initiate a workflow as well. This helps ensure that the error is responded to in the proper sequence and reduces the response time, helping to address the incident sooner.
3. Analysing incidents
As we’ll explain in our upcoming start-to-finish guide on incident management systems, incident management software not only helps with reporting and investigating incidents. It also helps with analysis too.
For example, incident management software can track where incidents are occurring and notify senior management, prompting them to take action.
If a spate of incidents occurs in a particular location, specific safety precautions and procedures can be put in place to help manage the risk.
As we discussed, IT/DevOps software can automatically generate a report of the problem and create a workflow. This helps ensure that the error is responded to in the proper sequence. It also curbs the effects of major IT incidents by bringing the right information to the right people instantly, for faster response times.
4. Responding to incidents
Incident management software used to report and log physical incidents will lead to faster response times. It can bring critical information to the right people to ensure that problems are dealt with promptly. The software can provide immediate notifications to all affected staff and senior management.
IT/DevOps software also offers similar benefits as we’ve discussed.
Why is Incident Management Software important?
Incident management software has a number of benefits including;
- Automated incident reporting
In terms of incident management processes, streamlining the process of reporting incidents is one of the key concepts for maximum success.
- Instant notifications
Notifying relevant persons with inbuilt workflows for incident management and investigation.
- Quick reporting
Promptly notifying senior management can expedite investigations and corrective actions.
- Ensuring regulatory compliance
In Australia, certain incidents (such as those that result in significant harm) must be reported to the relevant statutory authority. Incident management software can help automate this process and ensure regulatory compliance. This limits a company’s exposure to potentially expensive compliance offenses that may result in large fines or other punishments.
- Reduced risk.
Lowers the risk of excessive costs to the business (from fines).
What to look for when choosing incident management software
When choosing incident management software for your organization, there are certain key features and functions that you’ll want to look for.
Broadly speaking, these can be grouped into two main categories:
- General incident management software functions
- IT/DevOps-specific features and functions
The category you’ll want to pay the most attention to will depend on your organization’s field and the reasons why you’re looking to implement the incident management software.
General incident management software functions
Regardless of whether you want to log physical incidents or IT-related issues, you’ll want to look for the following features and functionality
1. Safety, Environment, and Quality functions
The first thing to look for when choosing incident management software is that it offers a broad range of functions.
At a bare minimum, the incident management software should be able to:
- Monitor and alert staff about incidents and critical errors
- Integrate with team collaboration tools to notify responsible parties
These functions ensure that your organization remains aware of all incidents and you’re your staff are updated in real-time as to progress about how these issues are being dealt with.
However, leading incident management software offers safety, environment and quality function tools, all in one convenient package. This lets you manage any incidents that occur in those three areas through a single incident management software platform. This helps you streamline your incident management processes.
2. Customizable dashboard and reporting options
When choosing incident management software it’s important to look closely at the dashboard and reporting features. Incident management software with self-configurable dashboards and reporting options will give your staff a broad range of ways to configure their dashboards to suit their own particular tastes.
Why’s this important?
If your staff members are able to set up their dashboards just how they like them, they’ll be faster and more accurate when they use the incident management software. This should help boost your incident reporting rates and the accuracy of the reports that your staff members generate.
3. Comprehensive notification suite
The notification suite that comes with the incident management software should be comprehensive and customizable. After all, you will be relying on notifications for a wide range of activities such as;
- Reminding staff to file incident reports
- Monitoring and alerting staff about incidents
- Prompting staff to take follow-up actions, following an incident workflow
- Notifying the relevant statutory authorities whenever a significant harm incident occurs
- Notifying senior management to conduct investigations and take corrective actions
When choosing incident management software, you want to ensure that its notification suite can be customized to suit the particular needs of your organization.
Ideally, you’ll want incident management software that can offer workflow, SMS and email notifications. This will help streamline your organization and ensure the smooth running of your incident management procedures.
4. Analysis, allocation, and tracking
Leading incident management software can conduct root cause analysis whenever an incident occurs to help you identify whether a pattern is occurring. If it is, the software can alert key members of your organization so that they can take preventative, proactive measures.
You’ll also want to look for incident management software that can perform action allocation and tracking. This helps your staff stay informed about the practices and procedures that they need to follow throughout the workflow.
With the incident management software sending automated notifications to remind staff of their duties and responsibilities, you can be assured that incident management software investigations will flow smoothly.
5. Ease of use
Whichever type of incident management software you choose, there’s no substitute for hands-on testing. Request a demo of the incident management software and see whether it’s easy to use
Ask your staff the following questions:
- Is it accessible from a range of devices? (tablets, smartphones, computers)
- Are the devices in your organization compatible with the software?
- Is the software platform flexible and easily customizable?
- Does it complement your business processes and procedures?
- Can the platform be easily used and quickly understood?
- Can you collate all your important data and documentation into one simple interface?
- Is the data easily sortable??
Evaluating these areas will take practical hands-on use by your staff. This will take time but will ensure that you pick incident management software that can meet the needs of your staff and your organization.
IT/DevOps-specific features and functions
If you’re choosing an IT-specific incident management software for IT and/or DevOps, you’ll want to consider the above factors. But you’ll also want to consider the following specific areas, too.
- Can you create a standardized workflow for IT incident management?
Just as Safety, Environment, and Quality function-related incident management software should be able to create a standardized workflow to help staff address and tackle incidents as they occur, so too should IT-related incident management software be able to create workflows. This will help you respond to incidents faster, or set up an automated response that is triggered as soon as the incident is detected.
- Can the software respond to, report, and investigate IT errors?
One additional feature that IT-specific incident management software should be able to manage is automatically investigating IT errors.
Taking your next steps
This compact guide has explained everything you need to know about choosing the right incident management software. You know that spreadsheets, paper systems, and carrier pigeons don’t work, so electing 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!