Incident, Problem, Change Management
The ultimate goal of incident management is to prevent the interruption of business processes or other IT services.
Incident management (IM) is an IT service management (ITSM) process area. The first goal of the incident management process is to restore a normal service operation as quickly as possible and to minimize the impact on business operations, thus ensuring that the best possible levels of service quality and availability are maintained. 'Normal service operation' is defined here as service operation within service-level agreement (SLA). It is one process area within the broader ITIL and ISO 20000 environment.
Problem management is a step beyond incident management in the ITIL service operation lifecycle. Incident management handles any unplanned interruption to or quality reduction of an IT service, whereas problem management handles the root causes of incidents. Or in clearer terms, incident management restores service whereas problem management eliminates the cause of failed services.
A problem is defined by ITIL as the cause of one or more incidents. Some incidents, such as a malfunctioning mouse at a user’s workstation, are not indicative of a problem. Other incidents, such as repeated network outages, create a problem investigation due to their frequency. In this case, problem management is reactive. Proactive problem management involves addressing the state of hardware, software, and processes, and preemptively addressing issues before they cause excessive incidents. Neither incident management nor request management has the ability to be proactive like problem management.