ITIL Problem Management Best Practices

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ITIL Problem Management Best Practices
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Technical challenges disrupt the entire business operation and drain resources—result? Losses.

According to a study, unplanned application downtime costs Fortune 1000 nearly $1.25 to $2.5 billion annually. This requires a proactive and systematic approach to problem-solving.

Enter ITIL problem management, a strategic framework to tackle the root cause of IT incidents. Implementing ITIL problem management best practices allows you to transform your IT team from reactive firefighters into proactive problem-solvers by identifying, analyzing, and rectifying issues head-on.

Understanding the ITIL Problem Management Network

ITIL problem management interacts with several other processes in the ITIL service lifecycle, such as:

  1. Incident Management: They work together to fix glitches and stop major meltdowns.
  2. Service Design: Past problems help design more reliable services.
  3. Knowledge Management: They document solutions to known problems, building a library of helpful tips.
  4. Continual Service Improvement: By proactively identifying potential issues, they keep improving the overall IT experience.

Before you implement the ITIL problem management best practices, ensure you know the right problem management process flow.

IT Problem Management Process Flow

Because problem management focuses on offering permanent solutions, it starts by focusing on the problem. In IT, a problem is the root cause of numerous incidents.

While tackling the problem, here is the flow to align your strategy with:

  1. Problem detection
  2. Logging
  3. Investigation and Diagnosis
  4. KEDB (Known Error Database)
  5. Resolution 

ITIL Problem Management Best Practices

Traditionally, ITIL problem management is focused on identifying the root cause of issues. But what if we could leverage cutting-edge technologies to predict and prevent them? Here's how:

Use Data Analytics for Root Cause Analysis 

Root cause analysis reveals hidden correlations that can point directly at the root cause. Here is an example of using data analytics in action:

Problem: IT receives a surge of reports about slow network connections and application crashes 


  • Traditional solution: You might investigate individual incidents. Ultimately, they might suspect hardware issues or overloaded servers.
  • Solution using DA – You’d analyze network logs alongside software update timestamps using DA. The data analytics tool will reveal a correlation between the spike in network errors and the rollout of a recent software update. You quickly discover the root cause, allowing IT to focus on a targeted solution like a hotfix or rollback.

Apart from this, problem management software can bring the required additional help. 

Differentiation, Categorization, and Prioritization of Incidents and Problems

Knowing the difference between an incident and a problem is crucial when implementing IT problem management best practices. This will prevent you from choosing the wrong IT process flow.

An incident is an event caused by a problem. For example, if your users repeatedly encounter difficulty accessing the business app in one go, this is treated as a separate incident when reported.

But beneath these incidents, you discover a common issue—server malfunction. 

Distinguishing these two and recording them differently provides a more comprehensive picture. Remember to give each problem unique IDs. Consequently, the right steps can be taken. 

Today, you can move beyond manual categorization by leveraging AI-powered tools to analyze incident reports, identify patterns, and automatically classify incidents based on urgency, severity, and potential root cause.

Using GenAI for Proactive Prediction and Prevention

Traditionally, businesses investigate the cause of fires. However, some situations can be prevented beforehand by predicting their occurrence. 

Don't wait for problems to strike! Use advanced analytics to forecast trends and identify potential issues before they erupt into full-blown incidents. Conduct a thorough analysis of trends, patterns, and recurring issues using past and present data. GenAI helps you quickly analyze vast data, detect subtle patterns, and indicate the problem

Here is an example:

Your GenAI sidekick analyzes incident history, system performance metrics, and logs. It spots slowdowns during peak usages, identifies anomalies, and recommends proactive measures to address underlying issues.

Keep Your Known Error Database Updated

KEDB is crucial for many reasons, but most importantly, it prevents you from reinventing the wheel! An error becomes a “known error” if it has a temporary solution but not a permanent one. Create a central knowledge base of “known errors” and document solutions to past problems. This will help you:

  • Look for workarounds in the future
  • Analyze trends
  • Understand its impact on IT
  • And look for permanent solutions

And don’t forget:

  • To delete the errors that have found their permanent solutions. 
  • To use tech for auto-updates, GenAI analysis, and smart search to find solutions faster and predict future issues.

Count on Collaboration

Problem-solving thrives on diverse perspectives. The best solution to any problem is to foster collaboration across multiple organizational stakeholders, IT teams, and service desk personnel with firsthand experience with incidents and user feedback. 

Use tools like’s Live Chat to share insights and brainstorm solutions in real-time. You can integrate AI assistants like chatbots with incident reports to add an extra layer of efficiency and effectiveness. This streamlines the formal documentation of issues, helps your team gather user experiences, and finds potential root causes based on historical data.

Focus on Finding the Right Tool 

Look for a tool that offers scalability, robust incident and problem management features, GenAI capabilities, agile knowledge management, auditability to track incidents, no-code automation, excellent integration with tools like MS Teams, and powerful analytics.

Do’s and Don’ts – IT Problem Management 

By following these dos and don'ts, you can establish a robust IT problem management process that helps prevent recurring issues and keeps your IT infrastructure running smoothly:


  • Define clear objectives – Set short-term (workaround) and long-term (permanent solutions) goals for problem management. 
  • Standardize Processes—Create proper process flows for the different stages of problem management (problem identification, analysis, resolution, and documentation). Remember to document everything as you go.
  • Make past your mentor – Analyze past incidents and problem records to identify trends and root causes. To fasten everything here, use data analytics and AI chatbots.
  • Maintain a knowledge base – Build a repository of known errors (KEDB), workarounds, and permanent fixes.
  • Cultivate collaboration – Problem-solving must include proper communication and collaboration between different teams, such as problem management, incident management, and other IT teams.
  • Improvise, Adapt and Overcome – Track KPIs to assess the effectiveness of problem management processes and make adjustments as needed.
  • Proactive vs. Reactive Approach – Understand the differences between proactive (predictive) and reactive (response-based) problem management approaches and when to use each.
  • Root Cause Analysis Techniques – Learn various problem management techniques to effectively identify an issue's root cause.


  • Never confuse incidents with problems.
  • Pay attention to KEDBs before you dive into new problems.
  • Never underestimate the need to document everything.
  • Never ignore small issues.
  • Only work on problems in collaboration.
  • Never be afraid to adjust procedures based on experience and feedback.

Checklist for IT Problem Management Success

Ready to put all these ITIL problem management best practices into action?

Here's a handy checklist to get you started:

  • Distinctions between incidents and problems are made and recorded.
  • Proper logging and categorization are done.
  • AI, data analysis, and other technology are utilized where necessary.
  • A central knowledge base for documenting solutions is established.
  • Thorough root cause analysis for every IT problem conducted.
  • KEDB is referred to and updated as required.
  • Communication between all relevant departments made.
  • Proper “Problem Record” is documented.
  • Association of relevant CIs with a problem record is made.

The Bottom Line

By embracing ITIL problem management best practices, you can transform from a reactive to a proactive problem-solver. 

Utilize data analytics to pinpoint root causes, leverage GenAI for prediction and prevention, and maintain a collaborative problem-solving environment. is a tool that excels at providing robust problem management features. It integrates with 1000+ task automation tools and works within the familiar MS Teams interface.

It offers you: 

  • Triaging and smart ticketing solution 
  • GenAI-enabled agile knowledge management 
  • Streamlined incident resolution with structured workflows, intelligent automation and audibility
  • Conversational ticketing and live chat
  • Seamless incident, problem, change and SLA management
  • Real-time performance dashboards, customizable reports and analysis
  • Multi-channel support 
  • No-code automation studio for creating automated workflows, desktop automation

Ready to improve your ITIL management? Contact us today to learn how can revolutionize your IT operations. 


  1. What are the best practices for ITIL problem management?

ITIL problem management best practices include establishing clear problem identification, investigation, prioritization, and resolution procedures. Along with these, effective communication channels should be implemented, solutions should be documented, regular reviews should be conducted to identify recurring issues and root causes should be addressed.

  1. What is problem management in ITIL?

ITIL problem management focuses on identifying and resolving the root cause of incidents. It systematically addresses the underlying issues to minimize the impact of incidents on operations.

  1. What are the two types of problem management?

ITIL typically involves reactive and proactive problem management. Reactive problem management focuses on addressing issues that have already occurred and proactive problem management aims to prevent incidents from happening by identifying potential problems.

  1. What are the five steps in problem-solving?

The five steps in problem-solving are identifying the problem, gathering relevant data to analyze the root cause, brainstorming potential solutions, implementing the best solution, evaluating the solution's effectiveness, and making adjustments.

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