The Changing World Of Problem Management

Posted on Tuesday 9 January 2018.

”Many organisations find it extremely difficult to dedicate time and effort to root cause analysis, as a result of firefighting and other priorities. I have worked in many industries for many years undertaking service management roles, and problem management is one of the biggest cogs and is sometimes over looked.” – Mark Dickinson

Ultimately Mark’s problem management techniques ensure that multiple technical teams improve standard processes and working practices, which then leads to an increase in customer satisfaction. Moreover, these aid in the creation of additional cost savings and avoidance. Mark often finds that when problem management is undertaken, key elements are easily overlooked or de-prioritised.


Datum Analysis

Mark Dickinson has developed a problem management technique called Datum Analysis, this not only simplifies how to approach a problem; but also recognises associated activities overlooked to establish root cause in a quick and efficient method. ”Datum Analysis isn’t just one thing or process, it gels all processes, old and new, into one nice neat package. As a result, this helps to establish root cause and moves your IT division ahead of the game before escalations occur.”

Mark also states ”just because your IT division isn’t escalating or receiving particularly high numbers of incidents, it doesn’t mean problem management cannot add value.”

Mark identifies three key themes to prioritise:

1) Automation

2) SFA (Service Failure Analysis)

3) Focus on one issue at a time – This might seem simple but when faced with a complex problem the tendencies are to focus on everything, thus making root cause harder and confusing multiple teams.

Mark explains ”there has been massive developments of late from problem management being purely reactive “off the back of MI” and purely resource driven. All of these items remain important for obvious reasons; however, the shift is moving more towards a multitude of disciplines. If I was to ask everyone ’Is the main aim of problem management to establish root cause?’ Perhaps… however, to be truly successful as a function and provide true customer value, you need to break down all silos and focus on a multitude of proactive work streams.”


About Mark

Mark Dickinson is an IT professional with 15 years’ experience in IT Service Management. Mark has worked in various industries including Banking, E-Commerce, Travel, MSP and Blue Light Services. Mark started out as a Service Desk Analyst then from exposure of both Change and CMDB management; in 2006 Mark found his calling in Major Incident and Problem manager positions. Mark’s ethos is that “every day is an opportunity” and “A challenge is only as difficult as we make it”.

Mark Dickinson will be joining us at The Conference For Service Desk Leaders 2018 to discuss key problem management techniques and how to adopt these and help drive down costs whilst increasing customer satisfaction levels. For more information or to book a place, click here.


Mark’s session at conference will cover:

1. “Old school” Problem Management vs the New World

2. When is a Problem a Problem?

3. The importance of training and coaching- taking everyone on the journey

4. Problem Management as the “Hub of all ITIL” and its Importance for a successful organisation

5. Approach to complex problems, using other process and techniques

6. Proactive Problem Management- utilising powerful trending engines and problem management roadshows

7. Service Failure Analysis techniques

8. Innovation utilisation of O365, MS Teams and Robotics, helping to shift left and collaborate more effectively

9. The importance of Sub Process such as CSIP and Major Problem



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