Best incident management software
Incident management software helps IT teams respond to unexpected issues faster, track them efficiently, and collaborate easier to keep your systems online. See for yourself.
A guide to the best incident management software
When your IT team experiences a flood of unexpected requests, all reporting the same issue, incident management software can enable agents to respond quickly to minimize the impact.
The right incident management system can also help you learn more from the data, identify patterns, and collaborate effectively on solutions, so you can stay ahead of future problems.
Our guide digs deep into the details of incident management software so you have the information you need to make the right investment for your business. We compare the top incident management software platforms and break down pricing, features, and benefits—so you can react to issues faster and create a problem-solving process to minimize repeat issues.
More in this guide
- What is incident management software?
- Comparison chart for the best incident management tools
- The 15 best incident management software
- Common features of incident management system software
- Benefits of an incident management platform
- How to choose the right incident management solution for your business
- Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
- Try incident management software for free
What is incident management software?
Incident management software is an application that helps IT teams track, respond to, and resolve unexpected problems and system outages efficiently.
Incident management applications streamline managing incidents by centralizing information for IT specialists. This makes it easier to collaborate on issues, track data related to incidents, and automate routine processes.
Comparison chart for the best incident management tools
From pricing to free trials to features, see how the top incident management software stack up against each other in this comparison chart.
|Zendesk||$19 per agent/month (billed annually)||14 days||
|Jira Service Management||$0 per month (up to 3 agents)||7 days||
|New Relic||$99 per user/month||Unavailable||
|Solarwinds Service Desk||$39 per technician/month||30 days||
|Spiceworks||$0 per user/month||Unavailable||
|Freshservice||$19 per agent/month (billed annually)||21 days||
|ClickUp||$0 per member/month||Unavailable||
|ServiceNow IT Service Management||Contact ServiceNow||Unavailable||
|ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus||$10 per technician/month (billed annually)||30 days||
|NinjaOne||Contact NinjaOne||14 days||
|Uptime by Better Stack||$0 per user/month (billed annually)||Unavailable||
$5 per user/month
|PagerDuty||$0 per month (up to 5 users)||14 days||
The 15 best incident management software
Let’s take a deeper dive into the best incident management systems. Below, we provide an overview of each product, as well as more information on key features, pricing options, and free trials.
With incident management software from Zendesk, you can mitigate the impact of service disruptions. Zendesk helps IT teams:
- Restore normal operations as quickly as possible.
- Communicate effectively with affected users during an incident.
- Perform detailed root cause analysis.
- Share learned information across teams.
Zendesk transforms the way your internal support team members work by enabling them to collaborate on incidents, escalate issues based on predefined policies, communicate with affected end users across any channel, identify fixes, and track incident causes and solutions.
Our incident management software detects issues across your entire system and automatically sends immediate alerts on different channels—like live chat, email, and Slack—ensuring response timeliness. Users can also report issues themselves, but many incidents can automatically be discovered through routine monitoring.
Incident tracking is made easy with our effective ticketing system that creates, logs, and intelligently routes requests to the right agent or department. Our agent workspace gives IT support agents a unified view of the trouble tickets, along with the details and context of the issue. Additionally, pre-built and customizable reporting and analytics tools help admins and managers gather valuable insights about the incident.
Zendesk is fast and easy to implement with native features and automations that support any internal use cases from day one. The intuitive interface is grounded in the user experience, empowering agents to jump right in without lengthy training periods, resulting in a faster time to value. With 1,300 apps in the Zendesk marketplace, you can extend functionality and tailor your software to adapt to business needs and growth—which results in a low total cost of ownership.
- Incident reporting and tracking
- Immediate alerting
- Incident assignment
- Workflows and automations
- Reporting and analytics
- Online, email, and phone support
- Custom contact form
- Web software development kit (SDK) and widget
- Embedded voice
- Automatic ticket creation
- Unified agent workspace
- Custom and group views
- Support Team: $19 per agent/month
- Support Professional: $55 per agent/month
- Support Enterprise: $115 per agent/month
*Plans are billed annually.
Part of Atlassian product family, Jira Service Management’s incident management software offers incident swarming and on-call alerting capabilities. That means the software assigns ownership to an agent to handle the escalated incident from end to end instead of placing it into a queue.
Standard packages include self-service, ticket management, configurable workflows, and reporting and analytics. You’ll need to opt for Jira’s Premium or Enterprise plans to access more incident management features, such as advanced alert integrations and incident investigations.
- No customer limits
- One site
- 250 GB file storage
- Self-service portal
- Email and embedded widget support
- Customizable queues
- Configurable workflows
- Unlimited alerts, email, and SMS notifications
- Free: $0 per month (up to 3 agents)
- Standard: $21 per agent/month
- Premium: $47 per agent/month
- Enterprise: Contact Jira
3. New Relic
New Relic offers incident management software with tools that help businesses handle issues that affect the performance of systems and applications. Its system features a live feed that displays an overview of things like ticket status, event log, activity, and details about related issues.
New Relic aims to provide targeted, quality alerts with clear information so businesses can provide a fast response. Their system filters low-priority issues that don’t affect customers or business operations to “reduce alert fatigue.” You can configure alerts on the interface with a badge to help agents prioritize escalated incidents.
- Unlimited basic users
- Unlimited hosts and central processing units (CPUs)
- Powerful querying capabilities
- Custom charts and non-quickstart dashboards
- Alerts and notifications
- Add-on eligibility
- Commitment options
- Single sign-on (SSO)
- 24/7 support
- Standard: $99 per user/month
- Pro: $418.80 per user/month
- Enterprise: $658.80 per user/month
*Annual pricing for full platform users
BigPanda’s incident management software helps IT teams detect, respond to, and resolve problems as they occur. Described by BigPanda as a “single pane of glass,” its Incident 360 Console provides a real-time view of all issues in a single view. This allows IT agents to manage, analyze, and collaborate with other departments to find root causes and take necessary actions.
BigPanda is customizable, allowing you to create filtered views. The live feed provides an overview of the active incidents that show when it was last updated and their priority level. It also has a searchable field so agents can find an incident without having to manually scan the feed.
- Role-based IT incident access
- Root cause analysis for IT environments
- IT Ops workflows
- Reporting and analytics
- Real-time notifications
- Contact BigPanda
Corporater’s incident management software helps businesses mitigate the impact of incidents on business operations. Its workspace displays an overview of the issues across the business, allowing teams to monitor and manage them. It offers standard workflow automations to handle repetitive tasks and has automated real-time alerts.
Corporater features customizable dashboards so that you can modify your workspace to display metrics and other relevant information. Its reporting tools allow you to generate compliance reports that include visuals, like graphs and charts, customized to your brand’s look and feel.
- Intuitive user interface
- Incident dashboards
- Incident categorization
- Incident analysis
- Incident reporting
- Root cause analysis
- Corrective and preventative actions (CAPA)
- Workflow automation
- Contact Corporater
SolarWinds Service Desk features incident management software designed to help internal IT teams manage day-to-day problems and resolve incidents. The solution allows teams from every department to manage tickets submitted from channels like email, phone, customer self-service portals, live chat, or mobile apps.
Its software features self-service articles, incident lifecycle visualization, and issue escalation. In addition to managing incidents, IT teams can use SolarWinds to monitor compliance risks, control inventory, manage digital assets, and more.
- Service portal
- Community and email support
- Optional onboarding services
- Knowledge base
- Satisfaction surveys
- Advanced collaboration tools
- Essentials: $39 per technician/month
- Advanced: $79 per technician/month
- Premier: $99 per technician/month
Spiceworks offers free incident management software with its cloud-based help desk system. They use an ad-based revenue model so users can access the software for free, rather than paying licensing fees. That means Spiceworks users must contend with banner ads native to the Spiceworks interface.
Users may configure their cloud-based software with custom alerts and automated escalation processes. It also includes reporting, a mobile app, remote support session capabilities, and access to the Spiceworks IT community forum.
- Ticket management
- Multi-site support
- IT asset management
- Custom reports
- User portals
- Custom ticket attributes and rules
- Secure remote support
- User self-service
- Cloud Help Desk: $0 per user/month
Freshservice is an IT service management solution from Freshworks that enables teams to track, prioritize, and resolve trouble tickets. The incident management tools include incident logging, analysis, and custom alerts in addition to a multi-channel support interface. These channels include email, self-service portal, phone, and chatbots.
While you can access certain incident management features in Freshservice’s Starter and Growth plan, the capabilities—like major incident management, alert management, and team dashboards—are limited. You’ll need to upgrade to the Pro or Enterprise plans to access these key features.
- Self-service portal
- Workflow automation
- Native app integrations
- Knowledge base
- SLA management
- Multiple portal languages
- Starter: $19 per agent/month
- Growth: $49 per agent/month
- Pro: $95 per agent/month
- Enterprise: $119 per agent/month
*Plans are billed annually.
ClickUp is more akin to a project management tool, but you can use it as an incident management tool. ClickUp’s website says you can use its software to “plan, track, and manage any type of work.” However, it may not have the same incident management functionality as other, more purpose-built solutions.
With ClickUp, your team can track and assign tasks, set custom alerts, escalate issues, and view task activity in real time. Its dashboard provides a high-level overview of workflows enabling teams to stay organized and track incidents to resolution. ClickUp offers a customizable board view for a more visual experience. This view allows you to group incidents by status, priority, and assigned agent.
- Gantt charts
- Agile reporting
- User groups
- 24/7 support
- In-app video recording
- Custom task statuses
- Free: $0 per member/month
- Unlimited: $7 per member/month
- Business: $12 per member/month
- Business Plus: $19 per member/month
- Enterprise: Contact ClickUp
*Plans are billed annually.
The ServiceNow IT Service Management (ITSM) system is a cloud-based platform that helps teams manage incidents, tasks, and processes. Its incident management platform for IT service teams includes incident logging, notification and escalation, incident classification, root cause analysis, and incident resolution.
ServiceNow features a single-pane agent view so agents can manage issues from one place. The software enables major incident management through embedded workflows to handle high-impact issues. In addition to incident management, ServiceNow can also work as a service desk with asset management, reporting, remote support, virtual agents, and ticket management.
- Auto assignment
- Automated change approvals
- Virtual agents
- Built-in dashboards
- Mobile app
- Knowledge management
- Request management
- ITSM: Contact ServiceNow
- ITSM Pro: Contact ServiceNow
- ITSM Enterprise: Contact ServiceNow
ManageEngine is the IT management division of Zoho Corporation. Its software, ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus, provides an incident management system that features IT incident tracking tools that help teams resolve outages and incidents. It supports reporting and analytics, workflow customizations, native integrations, and ITSM workflow tools.
ManageEngine’s starting plan includes multichannel support, incident life cycle tracking, and defined escalation paths. These paths include automated technician assignment where incidents are routed to the right agent to handle the request. You can also automate business rules for lower-priority tickets, based on your selected criteria.
- Incident life cycle management
- Multichannel support
- Web-based portal
- Defined escalation paths
- Automated notifications
- User surveys
- Knowledge base
- Service level agreement (SLA) management
- Help desk reports
- Standard: $10 per technician/month
- Professional: $21 per technician/month
- Enterprise: $50 per technician/month
*Plans are billed annually.
NinjaOne is IT incident management software designed for IT and network security teams. The platform caters to internal IT departments and managed service providers (MSPs). With NinjaOne, you can monitor your IT infrastructure and create custom alerts for cloud infrastructures, network devices, Windows servers, and Mac and Windows laptops. Within those applications, you can monitor information, including user logs, running processes, disk usage, encryption status, and memory.
- Free onboarding
- Per-device pricing
- Custom alerts
- Ninja data protection
- Task manager
- Automated incident management
- Custom plan: Contact NinjaOne
Uptime by Better Stack (formerly known as Better Uptime) is used for infrastructure monitoring and incident management. Its features include multichannel alerting, website monitoring, incident timelines, merging, and post-mortems, error logs, and historical reporting. Uptime has an interface with customizable features, like notifications and prioritization options.
Its automated multi-location checks vet and confirm an incident before sending alerts, to prevent false issues. Once confirmed, the system alerts the right agent via push notifications or channels including SMS, email, or integrated communication tools. Uptime doesn’t include a free trial, so you’ll need to use the free plan with limited capabilities or pay for a subscription.
- Unlimited phone calls
- Email alerts
- Push notification
- Incident timeline
- Screenshots and error logs
- Custom subdomain
- Email support
- Basic: $0 per user/month
- Freelancer: $24 per user/month
- Small Team: $80 per user/month
- Business: $160 per user/month
- Enterprise: Contact Better Stack
*Plans are billed annually.
14. Splunk On-Call
Splunk On-Call, formerly VictorOps, is a traditional incident management tool used by teams of all sizes for incident responses and management. On-Call integrates with other tools to add to incident management capabilities like log analysis, real-time user monitoring, and infrastructure monitoring. The software offers both desktop and mobile apps and has customization options for each.
Splunk features automated notifications and alerts that help teams manage time-sensitive or escalated issues. Additional automations include on-call scheduling and rule-based routing and triage assigning the issue to the right agent to address the issue.
- Streaming analytics architecture
- Post-incident reviews
- On-call scheduling
- Rules engine
- Up to 10 users
- Incident rerouting
- Starter: $5 per user/month
*Plans are billed annually.
PagerDuty is an incident management platform that combines incident management features, machine learning, and data science techniques. PagerDuty aims to proactively resolve issues before a ticket can be generated with effective tracking and insightful reporting.
Some of its incident management features include process automation, unlimited notifications, and escalation policies. PagerDuty also features native apps and can integrate with many third-party apps and application programming interfaces (APIs).
- Unlimited international SMS notifications, schedules, and escalation policies
- Ticketing integrations
- Email and chat support
- 5 users per escalation level
- 1 event routing rule
- Notification and incident reporting
- Free: $0 per month (up to 5 users)
- Professional: $21 per user/month
- Business: $41 per user/month
- Digital Operations: Contact PagerDuty
*Plans are billed annually.
Common features of incident management system software
The right incident management software should have the right features to foster a fast and effective response. Here are a few common features you should look for in an incident management system.
Incident reporting and tracking
Issues can come from internal and external sources. Internal sources can be monitoring tools that automatically detect problems and employees contacting IT to report issues. External sources are customers reaching out to support teams to report service issues.
Incident management systems take these requests and consolidate them into a centralized hub where issues can be logged and tracked—think of incident management tools as an IT help desk with a specialized application.
Every stakeholder should be able to easily track the issue. This means visibility of the issue: Where it originated, its current status, and who’s handling it. The centralized incident log should also enable service agents to send and receive notifications across various channels, including email, SMS, social media, live chat, or voice.
In addition to the central ticketing area, agents should be able to communicate with each other and customers from within the same workspace. This helps avoid the error-prone experience of dealing with an issue in one tab and communicating in another.
To manage trouble tickets quickly and efficiently, your incident management software needs the capability to send immediate alerts to the right person or incident response team. Some monitoring tools can detect potential issues before they escalate and alert product engineering teams to assess them. This includes situations like products responding slower than usual or your service’s volume rate unexpectedly increasing or decreasing.
You can configure urgent notifications to bypass muted settings to surface the alert until the message gets read. You can also configure the alerts to consider the expertise and availability of the agent.
Reporting and analytics
Learning from an incident is just as important as managing it. With post-incident reporting and analytics, your team can evaluate the full scope of the systems and issues involved.
Starting with a high- or low-severity analysis, the management response team should meet within 72 hours of the incident. The response team includes anyone involved with or affected by the incident, like team leaders, engineers, owners, and related personnel. They then generate an incident document that includes:
- Incident overview
- Customer impact
- Technical description
- Root cause
- Service information
- Incident details
- Incident timing
The remediations section guides your team toward the next steps of preparation so that future incidents are easier to handle or eliminate.
Workflows and automations
Effective incident management software systems take the guesswork out of generating, routing, and prioritizing incidents by enabling teams to automate the incident management process. Skills-based routing can automatically deliver the ticket to the right agent immediately. Automated customer support processes can increase reaction time and also handle repetitive tasks for the agent.
You can manage incidents more effectively by automating processes like incident identification, logging, categorization, prioritization and escalation, alerts and notifications, and responses. If you’re considering an incident management tool, ensure it allows you to configure custom rules to handle incident workflows and automations in the best way for your company.
The severity of an incident determines who addresses the issue, the approach they take, and how it’s communicated to the affected users. When an incident request is created, it must be assigned a severity level. Each business may have different severity ratings, but Zendesk, for example, uses a system that groups incidents into five severity levels based on the characteristics of the incident.
- Severity 0: Large-scale infrastructure outage with extreme impact
- Severity 1: Widespread product outage with a major impact
- Severity 2: Multiple instances of feature outage with high impact
- Severity 3: Few instances of functionality outage with low impact and workaround available
- Severity 4: Isolated outage with no impact
Benefits of an incident management platform
Incidents can occur without notice. With the right system in place, your business can be prepared even in unpredictable situations. Here are some benefits that incident management software can provide.
- Enhances operational efficiency and saves costs
- Boosts employee productivity
- Improves collaboration between departments
Outdated systems that lack the right tools and capabilities cannot keep up with evolving industry standards making it challenging for employees to do their jobs.
To adapt to these changes, your system needs the ability to help decision-makers create actionable insights to enhance the employee experience. Using reporting and analytics and gathering feedback from agents on the front lines, you can provide the tools and resources employees need to thrive.
For instance, investing in incident management software with advanced automation makes it easier for your team to manage unexpected issues. Enterprise systems may be dispersed across different time zones, teams, and technologies. Automation eliminates the need to manually monitor these systems for problems, allowing you to do more with less headcount, saving time and money.
Your IT support team is the backbone of your business operations, keeping everything running smoothly. The right incident management system can take a talented team and make them even more efficient and productive.
The software streamlines the process for each incident and eliminates the guesswork for the agent. It can identify an incident, alert your team as quickly as possible, and automatically assign the right agent to the task. The agent can then handle the issue from their unified agent workspace without having to switch between systems to find relevant information about the incident.
An IT service desk may receive multiple requests about the same incident. Incident management software can link tickets together with similar issues. These features eliminate duplicates making workflows more manageable, so IT support agents can focus on resolving more issues faster.
Additionally, self-service tools allow employees to find answers about an incident or resolve common issues themselves, deflecting tickets.
Incident management software makes collaboration between departments easy. Collaboration tools enable your team to loop in management or agents with specific expertise. This lets agents consider the situation from all sides, share knowledge, and work together toward a solution.
Collaboration tools make it easier to communicate internally, externally, with teammates, or across departments. Some examples include:
- Messaging apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams
- Organizational platforms like Trello or Asana
- Ticket collaboration tools like side conversations
- Minimizes future incidents from occurring
- Improves visibility and security
Many IT teams are used to being reactive, dealing with issues as they arise, and adapting to the situation. Incident management software allows businesses to provide proactive service. It can help your team identify trends, determine root causes, and track solutions for any improvement opportunities.
When you understand a root cause, you can create processes to execute immediately for faster resolution. You can also make improvements to products, services, and processes, preventing future incidents from occurring.
Ultimately, how fast an issue gets resolved depends on your service agents’ ability to communicate with customers and access the necessary information. Incident management helps facilitate both these imperatives by enabling agents to track incidents through their lifecycle while communicating with customers all within the same interface. This communication transparency helps build team camaraderie and speeds up the path to resolution.
It’s also important to protect customer data, especially during an incident. An incident response program can provide a 24/7 centralized monitoring system and on-call staffing to respond to security alerts, events, or incidents. Incident management software features data encryption, role-based access controls, and authentication options to keep sensitive information safe.
How to choose the right incident management solution for your business
Ideally, you won’t use your incident response software to solve major issues too often. But even when carrying out everyday tasks, it has to function as expected—otherwise, you risk extended outages that erode customer loyalty.
To help you make the right decision for your business, here are a few things to consider for incident management software.
Determine if the tool is easy to use
An incident management solution with an intuitive interface makes it easy for agents to use it. When IT support teams can use a platform from day one, it reduces training time and allows for immediate productivity.
Consider the time to value
Time to value means how quickly new customers begin receiving value from a product or service. Many IT tools and applications take a lot of time and effort to implement, resulting in a slow time to value.
With software like Zendesk, you will get up and running in minutes, not months. Implementation is seamless and has many out-of-the-box capabilities, so you can start generating a return on your investment from day one, seeing a fast time to value.
Determine if the tool fits your team and business needs now and in the future
Any tool you purchase should have the features and customization options to meet your business needs now and in the future. It should be flexible enough to scale with your business and easily adapt to changes without having to hire a team of developers to make necessary changes.
Zendesk, for example, comes with native features and automations proven to support any use case, right out of the box. With 1,300 integrations in the Zendesk app marketplace, you can tailor your incident management software to any team-specific need and extend its functionality.
Ensure it integrates with your existing tech stack
Incident management software should seamlessly integrate with your existing tech stack, so agents don’t have to learn a completely new system. In the same way that it’s important to stitch your workflows into your incident management platform, you also want to be able to sew your incident management platform seamlessly with your other tools.
Consider the total cost of ownership
Customers often focus on the cost of a software license instead of evaluating the total cost of ownership. In addition to licensing costs, other fees, like implementation costs and ongoing administrative and maintenance costs can add up. Because of this, businesses sometimes opt for free incident management software but quickly outgrow the limited features and capabilities.
The right incident management software will create cost efficiencies that a budget solution may not. For example, Zendesk is an agile software that scales with your business. You can set up Zendesk and start using it in hours, not months, and can customize it on the fly without hiring a dev team to add lines of code.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Why is incident tracking software important?
Incident tracking software is important because it enhances communication and immediately alerts the right people to tackle the incident quickly. Outages and system-wide problems will affect every business at one time or another, and incident tracking software helps the organization mitigate the impact of these incidents as well as it can.
What are the five key areas of the incident management process?
The five key areas of incident management are preparation, detection and reporting, triage and analysis, containment and neutralization, and post-incident activity. Here is an overview of each area:
- Preparation: The first step in any situation is being prepared. Preparation includes establishing policies and procedures for incident response, setting communication guidelines, analyzing your threat intelligence, conducting regular threat hunts, and evaluating your current ability to detect threats.
- Detection and reporting: Using your preparation materials, you can monitor security events, detect any possible incidents, create incident tickets, and prepare an updateable report.
- Triage and analysis: This is where most of the work happens. As your team collects evidence, you’ll perform an endpoint and binary analysis before looking at the scope of the damage.
- Containment and neutralization: Once you have the scope, your team can shut down all affected systems, wipe them clean, and rebuild them.
- Post-incident activity: Completing the incident means ensuring it never happens again. Once everything is secure, complete a report, monitor the rebuilt systems, and update your preparation plans.
What is ITIL incident management?
ITIL (information technology infrastructure library) incident management (IM) is simply restoring all services as quickly as possible once an incident is discovered. While ITIL IM includes plans for reacting quickly to incidents, it’s strictly a reactive process, not a proactive one. For proactive IM, you’ll want to look at your preparation breakdown and ensure you’re not letting pesky bugs through the cracks.
What is the incident life cycle?
The incident life cycle is your organization’s plan of attack regarding incident management. This plan often includes the five steps but is also specific to your tech stack and your specific company needs, especially regarding levels of security. For instance, a small startup won’t have the same data security concerns as an enterprise financial cooperation. No matter the size, your incident life cycle should be repeatable for any incidents within your business.
Who uses incident management software?
Internal and external IT support teams use incident management software. These teams support the internal IT needs of their organization as well as external-facing technologies. You’ll find these teams in all kinds of industries and companies.
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Related incident management software guides
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