Accenture Federal Services (AFS) and I worked together to streamline IT operations management for one of the largest logistics companies in the world. This client had dated incident management infrastructure and needed a way to track, organize, and manage events that affect day-to-day business operations in real time. Working with the AFS business analysis team, we created a dashboard powered by ServiceNow that identified, prioritized, and provided information about incidents that affected operations. This dashboard also empowered users to monitor potential incidents as well, allowing them to be proactive instead of reactive.
A huge part of this project's success relied on a thorough UX discovery process. Before getting started, we wanted a clear understanding of how incidents were currently being dealt with before, so that we could target specific areas for improvement. The AFS team and I interviewed client managers and staff to define what questions they needed answers to readily and understand the data they have available. It turned out that the client was already tracking an immense amount of data, but was not utilizing it in a way that was actionable.
After discovery, we organized the source data into categories that allowed for easy prioritization. Within this structure, we defined three distinct categories: critical incidents, urgent trends, and high risk changes.
Critical incidents are ongoing events that are affecting the business right now, such as application outages. To ensure that critical incidents were easy to monitor, I designed an interface that provided high-level metrics, as well as contact information for the assigned incident manager. That way, a high-level manager can easily see when estimated resolution time, the incident&s qualitative business impact, and who they should follow up with if needed.
Urgent trends are long-term issues that are affecting the business, but are not affecting day-to-day operations. This leveraged incident data to project long-term health specific business applications, such as 30-day and annual application availability and downtime. For example, if an application has an estimated 30-day availability of less than 90%, this would be something a manager would want to address to ensure business runs smoothly.
High risk changes are events that might affect the business, but have not happened yet. These include events like system upgrades or backups. These are also organized by application, so managers can see exactly which applications would be affected a given change.
The final product made it easy to view, track, and follow up on incidents that affect business. Using icons and consistent colors, a user could filter incidents by business organization, making it simple to tackle business critical incidents.
Since this dashboard was launched, critical incidents have gone down by roughly 80%.