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Service request management (ITIL 4)

Parent Process Reference Framework: ITIL 4

Service Value Stream Activities

Highly impacted Service Value System(SVS) Activities:

  • Engage
  • Deliver and support


The purpose of the service request management practice is to support the agreed quality of a service by handling all pre-defined, user-initiated service requests in an effective and user-friendly manner.

Service request: A request from a user or a user’s authorized representative that initiates a service action which has been agreed as a normal part of service delivery.

Each service request may include one or more of the following:

  • a request for a service delivery action (for example, providing a report or replacing a toner cartridge)
  • a request for information (for example, how to create a document or what the hours of the office are)
  • a request for provision of a resource or service (for example, providing a phone or laptop to a user, or providing a virtual server for a development team)
  • a request for access to a resource or service (for example, providing access to a file or folder)
  • feedback, compliments, and complaints (for example, complaints about a new interface or compliments to a support team).

Fulfilment of service requests may include changes to services or their components; usually these are standard changes. Service requests are a normal part of service delivery and are not a failure or degradation of service, which are handled as incidents. Since service requests are pre-defined and pre-agreed as a normal part of service delivery, they can usually be formalized, with a clear, standard procedure for initiation, approval, fulfilment, and management. Some service requests have very simple workflows, such as a request for information. Others, such as the setup of a new employee, may be quite complex and require contributions from many teams and systems for fulfilment. Regardless of the complexity, the steps to fulfil the request should be well-known and proven. This allows the service provider to agree times for fulfilment and to provide clear communication of the status of the request to users.

Some service requests require authorization according to financial, information security, or other policies, while others may not need any. To be handled successfully, service request management should follow these guidelines:

  • Service requests and their fulfilment should be standardized and automated to the greatest degree possible.
  • Policies should be established regarding what service requests will be fulfilled with limited or even no additional approvals so that fulfilment can be streamlined.
  • The expectations of users regarding fulfilment times should be clearly set, based on what the organization can realistically deliver.
  • Opportunities for improvement should be identified and implemented to produce faster fulfilment times and take advantage of automation.
  • Policies and workflows should be included for the documenting and redirecting of any requests that are submitted as service requests, but which should actually be managed as incidents or changes.

Some service requests can be completely fulfilled by automation from submission to closure, allowing for a complete self-service experience. Examples include client software installation or provision of virtual servers.

Service request management is dependent upon well-designed processes and procedures, which are operationalized through tracking and automation tools to maximize the efficiency of the practice. Different types of service request will have different fulfilment workflows, but both efficiency and maintainability will be improved if a limited number of workflow models are identified. When new service requests need to be added to the service catalogue, existing workflow models should be leveraged whenever possible.

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