What is a Business Incident


A business has many different types of incidents to manage. A Technical Business Incident occurs when there is an ongoing technical incident in progress and it creates enough impact to require a larger response across several business units in order to mitigate the damage. The escalation of a technical incident into a severe technical incident is what triggers a new business incident.

Technical issues do not begin as severe technical incidents. Rather, they escalate to severe status over time. When that escalation happens, business incident response occurs in a parallel session that works as a subgroup of the technical incident.

The goals of business responders in this subgroup are to start by switching normal business operations into emergency business operations mode, then shift to managing stakeholder and customer communications throughout the course of the technical incident. After the technical incident is resolved, the goals are to start by restoring business operations to normal mode, then shift to conducting proactive customer communications related activities and participating in a postmortem.

Business responders work in a subgroup outside of the technical incident call in order to allow technical responders to focus on resolving the technical incident. Business responders must coordinate complex tasks and may need to involve a wide number of additional business responders. Business incidents work as a subgroup to minimize distractions for technical responders.

Although business incident response is a subgroup of a current technical incident, there are many moving parts to this process that require tracking and coordination. We recommend that a business incident be tracked as a separate incident from (but related to) its parent incident. A business incident should also have its own version of an “incident commander” to manage coordination and competing business demands. Tracking business response as a separate incident helps business responders and technical responders have clarity when examining their own actions during a postmortem.

It’s important to note that while business incident response is managed as a separate incident for tracking and improvement purposes, the subgroup still reports to the technical Incident Commander and business responders should participate in the technical postmortem.