Understanding the ITIL Definition of Service Request

  • Billy Cobb
  • Nov 06, 2023
Understanding the ITIL Definition of Service Request

What Are the Types of Service Request as Defined by ITIL?

As per ITIL definition, service request is a formal request submitted by a user to the IT service desk, which is already defined in the service catalogue. The request can be for anything, including information, advice, or access to a particular service. There are four primary types of service requests that are defined by ITIL:

Request for Information

The request for information is the most common type of service request. In this type of request, the user is looking for some information related to a particular service or any other related topic. The request can be for something as simple as the process for resetting a password or as complex as an overview of the entire IT infrastructure. Since the information requested is already available, processing such requests is usually fast and done without too much delay.

Request for Advice

A request for advice is quite similar to a request for information. The difference is that in this type of request, the user is seeking guidance or recommendations on how to solve a problem they are facing or how to achieve a particular goal. The request can be as simple as selecting the best antivirus software for their computer or as complex as identifying the right IT solutions to drive business growth. Responses to these requests may take longer, as they require the expertise of IT service providers to provide relevant and effective advice.

Request for a Standard Change

A standard change is a pre-approved change, which typically involves a low level of risk and is well-established within the organization. For instance, upgrading software, adding a new user, or installing a new printer. A standard change is pre-approved in advance, saving time and ensuring that the request can be fulfilled quickly. Customers who want to request a standard change typically use a self-service portal or other user-friendly channels available.

Access Request

An access request is a request from a user to access a specific service or resource that they do not currently have permission to use. In this type of service request, the user is requesting access to specific resources or services, such as access to the shared network drive, a new application, or additional storage space. Since the request may have security implications, IT service providers verify the requester’s authorization and permissions thoroughly before fulfilling such requests.

In conclusion, ITIL defines different types of service requests to help service providers and customers communicate effectively. Service providers can streamline the request process, and customers can quickly submit a request and get a timely and appropriate response. Understanding the different types of service requests can help customers submit more relevant requests and can help IT service providers to ensure requests are fulfilled efficiently.

Why Is It Important to Distinguish Service Request from Incident?

When it comes to IT Service Management (ITSM), it is crucial to distinguish between service requests and incidents. Both service requests and incidents are requests for assistance from IT support staff, but they are not the same thing. Understanding the differences between them is key to providing quality IT support services to end-users.

What Is a Service Request?

A service request is a request from an end-user or business unit for an IT service that is not part of the normal day-to-day IT support operations. For example, a service request could be a request for a new laptop, access to a specific application, or to reset a password.

Service requests are generally non-urgent but important tasks that require IT staff to perform an action to fulfill the request. When a service request is raised, IT support staff should evaluate the level of service required to fulfill the request and then provide support within the agreed-upon timeframe. Service requests are initiated by end-users and are usually not disruptive to business operations.

What Is an Incident?

An incident is an unplanned interruption to an IT service or reduction in the quality of an IT service that affects end-users. Incidents can be caused by hardware or software failures, security breaches, or human error. Incidents are generally more urgent and require immediate attention to resolve the issue and restore the service to normal operation.

Incidents can cause downtime, which can impact business operations and productivity. When an incident arises, IT support staff should prioritize and act quickly to minimize the impact on users and prevent further damage. Incidents are usually initiated by end-users reporting the problem to IT support.

Why the Distinction Is Important

The key difference between service requests and incidents is the urgency and impact on business operations. Service requests are usually less urgent and require a different level of support compared to incidents. They are more proactive in nature, focused on improving IT services and business processes. On the other hand, incidents are reactive in nature, focused on resolving issues with IT services as quickly as possible.

By distinguishing between service requests and incidents, IT support staff can allocate resources more efficiently and effectively. Service requests can be prioritized and scheduled according to the level of service required. Incidents, which require immediate attention to minimize the impact on business operations, can be prioritized and escalated as necessary.

The distinction between service requests and incidents is critical for effective ITSM. IT support staff must be able to identify and classify requests accurately to ensure they are providing the appropriate level of support. Failure to do so can result in lost productivity, reduced business operations, and increased costs.

In Conclusion

Understanding the difference between service requests and incidents is essential for IT support staff and end-users alike. It ensures that IT services are delivered efficiently and effectively, improving overall service quality and end-user satisfaction. By distinguishing between service requests and incidents, IT support staff can allocate resources appropriately and prioritize support requests to ensure quick and effective resolution of issues. This distinction is critical for effective ITSM and is key to providing quality IT support services.

What Is ITIL Definition of Service Request?

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) defines a service request as a user-initiated request for information, advice, a standard change or access to a service. ITIL view service requests as an important part of managing service delivery, often handled by an organization’s service desk function.

According to ITIL guidelines, a service request is different from an incident or problem because it does not technically represent an interruption to service. Instead, service requests are usually routine and can be easily resolved by predefined procedures or standard workflows.

The service request process within ITIL is designed to help organizations manage requests in a consistent, efficient and effective way. Any organization that uses ITIL guidelines for service delivery can benefit from a well-implemented service request process.

What Are the Benefits of Using ITIL Definition of Service Request?

Improved Customer Satisfaction

Using ITIL definition of service request can help organizations improve customer satisfaction by ensuring customers receive prompt responses to their queries. With this approach, customer requests are efficiently managed, tracked and delivered in a timely manner in accordance with defined service level agreements (SLAs).

Efficient and Effective Service Desk Operations

The ITIL definition of service request helps service desk operators classify, prioritize, track and resolve different types of requests faster and more accurately than using disparate, ad hoc workflows. With a tailored set of request categories in place, agents can focus on the high-value requests, which can lead to fewer escalations and more efficient service desk operations.

Better Tracking of Service Request Statistics

IT teams can use ITIL guidelines to track service request statistics, such as request volume, types of requests and resolution times. This helps organizations identify areas for improvement, monitor team performance and make more informed decisions based on data-driven insights.

Enables Standardization

Organizations that use ITIL guidelines for service delivery can benefit from standardization of workflows and procedures. This helps ensure that all service requests are handled in a consistent, predictable way, regardless of who is working on them. Standardization reduces the likelihood of errors, delays, or variations from established processes.

Improved Service Availability and Performance

With a well-implemented service request process, organizations can reduce the likelihood of incidents or problems that may impact the availability or performance of their IT services. By focusing on the prevention of incidents, ITIL-defined service request processes can help prevent critical service disruptions.


Managing service requests using ITIL guidelines can help organizations achieve better service delivery and customer satisfaction. The benefits of using ITIL definition of service request are numerous, including improved customer satisfaction, efficient service desk operations, better tracking of service request statistics, standardized procedures, and improved service availability and performance.

Identifying and Defining Service Requests

The first step in implementing the ITIL definition of service requests is to identify and define specific types of requests that customers or end-users can make. Organizations can do this by analyzing the types of requests that they typically receive and categorizing them appropriately. These categories can help organizations to determine the priority and urgency of each request and allocate the appropriate resources to resolve them.

Defining service requests involves creating a clear description of what a customer or end-user can expect when they make a particular request. This can include the expected response time, who is responsible for managing the request, and any specific requirements or constraints that need to be considered. It’s important to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of these definitions and that they are documented in a clear and concise manner for easy reference.

Establishing a Service Request Management Process

Once the service requests have been identified and defined, the next step is to establish a service request management process. This process should outline the steps that need to be taken from the time a request is received to when it is resolved. The process should include roles and responsibilities for managing requests, escalation procedures, and performance metrics to ensure that the process is working efficiently.

Organizations can also use technology to help manage their service request management process. This can include a self-service portal where customers can submit requests, a knowledge base to help customers troubleshoot issues on their own, and automated workflows to help manage requests and reduce response times.

Continuously Monitoring and Improving the Process

The final step in implementing the ITIL definition of service requests is to continuously monitor and improve the process. This involves regularly reviewing performance metrics and using customer feedback to identify opportunities for improvement. Organizations should also be open to adopting new technologies or processes that can help to streamline the service request management process and improve customer satisfaction.

Continuous improvement should be a part of the organizational culture, and all stakeholders should be involved in the process. By making service request management an ongoing priority, organizations can ensure that they are providing high-quality service to their customers and end-users.

In conclusion, implementing the ITIL definition of service requests requires identifying and defining service requests, establishing a service request management process, and continuously monitoring and improving the process. By following these steps, organizations can streamline their service request management process, improve customer satisfaction, and achieve their service level targets.

Originally posted 2023-06-13 22:28:14.

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