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Parent Child Incident Management for Business Intelligence

The following article covers the parent child incident management for a business intelligence support model and highlights the benefit of deploying this process in to a support model.

This process can be embedded into a support model that has at least two tiers of support (level 1 and level 2 support). As per my previous article on BI two tier support model, I believe having two tiers is the ideal number for a business intelligence support model.

If all levels of support are managed by the same team, the benefit of having a parent child incident management process is reduced. Benefit is achieved when for example Level 1 is owned by Business Intelligence Centre of Excellence (also known as the Business Intelligence Centre of Excellence) and the remaining levels of support are owned by a separate internal team or external vendor.

Level 1 is responsible for engaging with the business and performing basic analysis of incidents. This allows them to engage with the business users and have the support of senior BI functional consultants on incidents that are raised by the business.

Level 2 (and possible level 3 if you have a three-tier support model) is responsible for reviewing the analysis of Level 1 and working on the technical issue of an incident or change control until closure. This requires the use of the BI application documentation as reference, with the support of a mentor if required. Tier 2 will engage with the BI Core team, where there is a technical process owner for each technical area. Level 2 engage with the technical process owner to review possible technical solutions and get approval for changes ranging from medium to high complexity.

The process of a parent child incident management is straight forward. The initial ticket (i.e. parent ticket) is raised by a business user on level 1 support team who has an issue with a BI report. The level 1 support team will process the ticket and if they require assistance from level 2 will raise a new ticket (i.e. child ticket) and assign it to the level 2 team. A few incident management tools (for example Remedy) have the functionality where tickets can be linked to each other (i.e. child ticket can be linked to a parent ticket in the incident management tool).

As part of the child ticket, an initial analysis document will be attached. This is a pre-defined template that the level 1 consultant needs to populate with their analysis of the issue and highlighting that an issue does exist.

The following are the benefits to the parent child incident management process:

Business User Satisfaction

I’ve worked with a client before and after the deployment of a parent child incident management process and have noticed a more positive reaction from the business towards the support organisation once this process has been defined and put in place. The updates on the progress of the ticket is from level 1 consultants who have been trained to deal with business user terminology and not from level 2 or 3 consultants who would be from a more technical background and would not be trained in communication with business users. Also, the business users prefer a single point of contact for each incident raised. If the ticket gets passed back and forth between the levels of support the business user could get multiple updates from different support resources.


From my experience, before this process was deployed there was several conflicts with the support teams on missed SLA’s. The level 1 team would pass a ticket to level 2 out of SLA timeline which obviously caused conflict between the two support levels/organisations. With this process, level 2 support are not linked to the SLA on the parent ticket and their SLA only starts once the child ticket is raised.

Ticket Bouncing

For a small number of tickets, sometimes it’s not clear if there is an issue or not or if the issue can be fixed by the BI support team. In these scenario’s internal reviews need to be done between the different levels of support. The child ticket can be closed and re-opened if level 1 team are not satisfied with the support they received from level 2. This can be all done without the business user been aware and causing confusion to them. If this process was not in place, the business user would see a ticket bouncing from level 1 to level 2, back to level 1 and then back to level 2. This internal support challenge to determine a solution can be concealed from business user with this process.

Clearly defined roles

By deploying this process, each level of support has a clearly defined role. Level 1 support is responsible for reviewing the issue initially with the business user along with providing status updates to the business user on the progress of the ticket and manage any escalations from the business. If level 2 support is required, a pre-defined template needs to be populated for each issue and a child ticket raised. Level 2 is responsible to review the issue from a technical perspective by analysing data extractions, BI extraction logic, BI report definitions etc and provide a technical update to level 1.

In conclusion, I’ve worked with a client before and after the deployment of a parent child process and have noticed a more positive reaction from the business towards the support organisation once this process has been defined and put in place. Having a clearly defined process and roles allows for a more efficient support organisation. In 2017, 1579 child tickets were resolved by the level 2 support organisation with 413 changes (break-fixes, minor enhancements and performance improvements) deployed to production which is evidence that this model does deliver.

Business Intelligence Solutions Support Survey

If you’re open to contributing, we’d love to hear your views in a survey that we’re conducting.

The survey has 17 questions but we’ve carefully designed and tested it to ensure it can be completed quickly, it should take no longer than 10 minutes.

In return for doing so, we’ll send you a report on the study’s full findings and we think you’ll find the results to be of value to your business.


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