Service desk technicians know that tackling IT outages is no less than an uphill battle. Take any service desk technician, and they would have kept their fingers crossed with the hope that their day goes without any drawbacks at the IT service desk.   

Facing even a minor hitch at an IT service desk isn't encouraging, and when it's a huge one, like a major IT outage, you have no option other than to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. An experienced service desk technician knows quite well what happens when a major IT outage occurs. 

A service desk needs to stay prepared to handle an IT outage since it directly correlates with reduced efficiency and productivity, increased downtime, a poor end-user experience, and negative business impact.  

In this post, here is how to help your service desk prepare to handle a major IT outage.  

What is IT Outages?   

When a major outage occurs, it can lead to a poor end-user experience. For support teams, facing a major IT outage means battling against time since they need to ensure minimal loss of productivity and impact on the business. An IT service desk software generally has two outages – planned and unplanned outages. As the terms indicate, planned outages are manageable compared to unplanned ones.   

An outage usually attached to a change can be termed a planned outage. For instance, regular system maintenance or migration to the new system or software upgradation can make the system or service desk inaccessible for the time being. Such planned outages can cause the slightest disruption. Ideally, your support technicians should communicate to the stakeholders and end-users about the planned outage.   

Unplanned outages are a tough nut to crack. Anything of this sort can lead to an unplanned service outage, from network failure, natural disasters, and bugs to misconfigurations. An unplanned outage leads to a negative end-user experience and, if not managed well, can cause a violation of the service level agreement. Additionally, even a planned outage can become an unplanned outage if there is a service delivery delay. 

5 Ways Service Desk Can Handle a Major IT Outage

1. Evaluate the Situation  

Sounds pretty simple and obvious, right? But do remember that a detailed assessment of a situation can significantly help resolve the situation, especially in the future. An adequately curated incident report can assist IT technicians in determining what to repair, thus resolving the outage without delay. When identifying the outage, ensure that you know the impact it may cause. One good way to define incidents fast is by using incident management workflow automation based on pre-defined rules.   

2. Quick and Effective Communication  

After you’ve analyzed the situation, the next is to communicate. Everyone should be aware of the problem - the stakeholders, the team that handles the issue, and last but not least, the end-users. In any case, if you have an alternative that does lower the business impact, direct the users there immediately. While you communicate with your end-user, share the correct information on who they can contact, where they can get status updates, and how long it will take to solve a concern.   

3. Have a Plan Ready  

It makes sense to prepare a course of action after analyzing the situation and communicating it with the end users. A course of action will help you figure out how to resolve the issue. You can ask your service desk vendors if the problem is at their end. If you have an on-prem solution, take help from your vendors. The issue could be anything, a simple bug or misconfiguration. Simultaneously, start to think about the next steps. It would be best to consider what actions to take to resolve the issue quickly and what to do after the problem is solved.   

4. Update your End-users  

During the entire lifetime of an outage, IT support technicians must send notifications, status updates, and announcements to the end users. A single announcement on the self-service portal will prevent overburdening the IT service desk since end-users will not create duplicate tickets - a huge reason why communicating with your end users is a must. Additionally, ensure that end-users receive regular updates during the downtime caused by the major IT outage. A dedicated line that responds to incidents promptly will be a great support.   

5. Review and Rethink  

The task continues beyond solving the concern and bringing the system working back to normal. There’s more an IT team needs to do. An after-incident meeting must be held to find ways to prevent such an outage. They also need to check whether this IT outage was a one-time incident or if an underlying problem needs a permanent solution. It’s essential to find out what is right and what led to a drawback – it could be anything, from the extended time taken to find the issue, lack of communication, or non-availability of experts. Evaluate everything and create a process to improve them.   

Convert Your IT Outages into Opportunities with Service Desk  

It is only sometimes possible to avoid an IT outage. Some outages are inevitable but can turn out to be a valuable lessons for an IT team. You can proficiently handle major IT outages by sticking to the stated practices. As said to the rest, an enterprise needs IT service desk software that fails rarely provides exceptional support during outages and fits every requirement.