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Global bank reduces priority 1 incidents by 50% in year one, and additional 20% in year two

Financial Services

One Problem Management Executive, Two Global Banks

Joe Gallagher, the managing director and global head of problem management at a global financial institution, and formerly in the same position at Deutsche Bank, was struggling to improve problem management in vastly different IT infrastructures. He turned to Kepner-Tregoe and its problem management tools to address each bank’s unique challenge.

Global Bank #1—Siloed Root Cause Analysis and Incident Management

Deutsche Bank has more than 78,000 employees, more than 2,700 branches in 70 countries and assets of almost $2 trillion. Joe Gallagher had teams of problem managers at multiple locations across the globe. The challenge was each siloed group of problem managers was using different root cause analysis (RCA) and incident management tools to address client incidents at a local level—but they couldn’t seem to reduce the number of incidents or the time required to solve them.

Kepner-Tregoe proposed and implemented a two-stage restructuring plan to create one problem management team using the same set of analysis techniques.

Stage I

  • All problem managers and their staff received Kepner-Tregoe (KT) Resolve training and earned their certification.
  • Transitioned to KT RCA tools learned during training.
  • Inspired problem managers to use Kepner-Tregoe problem analysis, problem specification and problem statement to change team’s approach to client incidents.

Stage II

  • Provided KT Resolve training for some Subject Matter Experts (SME) who did not participate in original training sessions.
  • Applied best-practices training and problem management tools to decrease time to resolution.


  • Within the first year following KT Resolve training and introduction of problem management tools, client-facing incidents (Priority 1, Severity 1) were reduced by 50% and an additional 20% reduction was realized during the second year.
  • RCA time periods were decreased from a number of weeks to 5 to 10 days and corrective actions were implemented quicker.

Isolated problem manager teams were consolidated into a single unit using the Kepner-Tregoe Problem Management process to standardize their client-incident practices increasing their productivity by 39%.

The Kepner-Tregoe’s problem management reorganization and training case was a Pink Elephant finalist in the 2011 IT Excellence Awards and received the ITIL Project of the Year award.

Global Bank #2—Problem Management Team Administrating, Not Managing

We achieved a 67% reduction in Priority 1 incidents. The results were so impressive that the rest of the IT organization asked for the KT training too. – Joe Gallagher

This global financial institution has more than 50,000 employees in 36 countries and manages the largest portfolio of client assets in the world. In this role Gallagher faced a different challenge. Unlike Deutsche Bank, all of the problem management teams operated from a single location; however, they were designated as “problem administrators” and not “problem managers.” They did not lead every client incident, but were relegated to the end of the RCA process, assessing and documenting each incident and addressing lingering actions and other incomplete steps in the process. In addition, their assessments, documentation and follow-up were not always accurate and complete because they were not the SMEs.

After his highly-satisfying experience with Kepner-Tregoe while at Deutsche Bank, Gallagher once again called for its team to assist him in addressing the problem management issues in the new institution.

After assessing the bank’s (problem management) situation, Kepner-Tregoe presented and implemented a five-stage process.

Stage I

  • Transform “problem administrators” to “problem managers.”
  • Become leaders of RCA process.

Stage II

  • Evaluate current work with LEAN techniques to determine value.
  • Eliminate significant waste from the process.

Stage III

  • Train “problem administrators” to become “problem managers”.

Stage IV

  • Initiate KT Resolve training and certification during two-year period for PMs and SMEs.
  • Standardize the RCA process throughout this global financial institution’s IT infrastructure.

Stage V

  • Provide change management team with improved RCA data, resulting in comprehensive and enhanced insights to address problem manager process and training deficiencies.
  • Reduce incidents and promote organizational improvements.


  • Priority 1 incidents reduced by 67%.
  • Significant reduction of backlogged overdue investigations—see chart below.

Pink Elephant Finalist

A case study of Kepner-Tregoe’s problem management solution for this global financial institution was a finalist for the Pink Elephant Best ITIL Project of the Year Award 2015.

Kepner-Tregoe Solutions Create “Thinking Organizations”

Despite two very different IT infrastructures and problem management challenges, Kepner-Tregoe ramatically reduced the number of critical incidents at both banks within the first 12 months.

  • KT Resolve training improved the problem management teams’ ability to address client incidents.
  • Improved monitoring led to earlier threshold alarms, better alerts and more granular monitoring.
  • The root cause analysis process was streamlined with better incident documentation.
  • Extend-a-Fix practices identified more than 10,000 defects with the implementation of a better problem management process customized for each bank.

What Gallagher discovered at both banks was that process training resolved the toughest problem management challenges in vastly different IT environments. The initial training, however, is only the first step towards measurable improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of any enterprise’s incident-management performance. Just as crucial is a continuation of KT Resolve training and a commitment to refining the use of its root cause analysis tools.

About Kepner-Tregoe

Kepner-Tregoe provides a suite of tools that give service management professionals the ability to solve the most pressing issues with speed, clarity and confidence. Founded in 1958 and based on ground-breaking research on how people think, solve problems and make decisions, Princeton, NJ-based Kepner-Tregoe is helping organizations achieve Service Excellence by improving quality, increasing efficiency and reducing costs. KT provides ‘Clear Thinking’ for a complex world.

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