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Proactive vs. Reactive Service Management

This article applies to: IT Service Management Program

One way to look at how IT service management brings value is to contrast different approaches organizations can take:

  • A focus on managing services proactively using clear, established processes, or
  • An approach that depends on reactive individual action when something occurs

For the second type of organization, staff are regularly called on to save the day, snatching a good result from the jaws of an environment that works against producing one. And because it's difficult to assemble the information to improve the service or solve problems, they generally need to do it over and over again. When inevitably they encounter a situation they can't overcome, the fault, which realistically resides with an issue in how the service is contextualized, instead lands on them.     

IT service management builds on decades of thought and observation of how to efficiently deliver services that customers want. ITIL is one of the most-used collections and codifications of this knowledge, and some of its key aspects are in turn is baked into TeamDynamix. For Cornell, when we refer to IT service management and ITIL, we're frequently just taking advantage of practices that have been shown to work.

For example, knowing the difference between an incident and a request and classifying a ticket properly automatically puts you in sync with a customer's expectations. Situations where customers expect a rapid response get one, instead of being lost in a mix of tickets that don't. 

In another case, proper handling of issues allows reports and dashboards to raise up problem areas, ideally prompting the organization to consider whether action should be taken to change some aspect of the service to alleviate the problem. Without proper ticket handling and the reporting it makes possible, staff might tell leadership there's a problem, but without some sort of metrics, it's hard to determine whether a change is justified or how big the change should be. 

Classification and reporting on tickets also addresses a frequent problem for IT organizations: leadership not having accurate data to provide insight into what's consuming time and effort. 


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