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3 Ways Root Cause Analysis Improves Uptime

08/29/2014 by: The SunView Team

Maintaining data center and service uptime is a challenging process that businesses can't afford to struggle with. Any outage means lost revenue. The core issue facing companies is one of being responsive instead of proactive. With such busy day-to-day operations in IT, most organizations do not take the time needed to effectively take preventative measures against outages. Instead, companies facing this struggle often focus on how they will react to an outage, not how they can avoid having one happen in the first place.

Problem management solutions that enable organizations to perform root cause analysis can play a huge part in helping companies improve uptime by preventing outages.

To be clear, this isn't some claim that IT departments are regularly lazy about ensuring availability. In most cases, companies are putting many best practices in place. What we're talking about is going above and beyond the core operational methods that most organizations follow and putting an even greater emphasis on uptime to gain a competitive edge. When it comes to getting ahead, being proactive through root cause analysis can do wonders in improving availability.


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Here are a few reasons why:

1. Improving discovery
Let's face it, as much as it's nice to pretend that technology experts in an organization have full control over the configuration, the reality is that most unplanned outages come from unexpected reasons. Identifying root problems can go a long way toward wrestling back control, and discovery methodologies are vital in this process. Using problem management solutions to group incidents together and notice underlying patterns in the day-to-day support tickets coming through the IT service desk makes it much easier to identify the root causes of those incidents and pin point the underlying issues that could lead to uptime problems down the line.

Efficiency is often one of the knocks against root cause analysis. Some people will claim that support teams are so busy that they don't have time to track down core problems. The issue here is that businesses can't afford outages, especially as they become more dependent on IT. As such, problem management platforms that improve discovery play a huge role in improving availability while avoiding efficiency challenges.

2. Analyzing possible causes
Identifying root causes isn't just about finding the patterns in incidents and other support tickets, it also involves a variety of processes that involve delving deeply into the IT configuration to look at how data moves through the infrastructure. This knowledge is imperative when trying to assess the reason behind problems, as data workflows are like a pulse of the IT configuration. Performing this analysis can be time consuming, so you need service desk systems that ensure smooth collaboration and automate repeatable business processes to make it easier to simulate and test hypothesis about root causes to identify the actual issue impacting end users.

3. Resolving the problem
Root cause analysis would deliver minimal value if it didn't go beyond identifying the problem and help you actually solve it. Problem management platforms can help you go from identifying patterns that are a sign of underlying issues to identifying the root problem and eventually resolving the issue. In most cases, this will involve either coming up with a work around or scheduling a change. Either way, having a good change management platform to go with the problem-focused module plays a key part in delivering value from the root cause analysis being done with problem management.

Availability is an increasingly important metric across IT teams, regardless of whether their customers are internal or external. The result is a situation in which performing root cause analysis can no longer be considered a secondary project - it needs to be treated as a primary part of efforts to avoid outages and improve uptime.