Service Request Management

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Service request management is one of the 17 service management practices of ITIL 4 and is one practice you need to know in depth for the exam. The purpose of the service request management practice is to support the agreed quality of a service by handling all agreed user-initiated service requests in an effective and user-friendly manner.

Service requests are predefined and pre-agreed, and they can usually be formalized with clear, standard procedures. That makes things really easy. For example, you might have one that says, let's create a new email distribution. There's a standard process for it and a standard request method to do it, or maybe you need a headphone set to be attached to your computer at work. This might be, again, a service request. Maybe you want to go from a 15-inch monitor to a 21-inch monitor, that might be, again, a standard service request.

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Basically, there are three pieces that go with the standard service request: initiation, approval, and fulfillment. Service requests are normally part of service delivery and they're not used for failure or degradation of a service. That is instead used in incident management. Service requests are asking for things that are normally needed. A user may need more share drive space, or a bigger email account, another email address, or account unlocking. Those are all things that would be service requests.

A service request is simply a request from a user or a user's authorized representative that initiates a service action that has been agreed as a normal part of service delivery. The fulfillment of that service request may include changes to services, or their components and they usually are going to be considered a standard change because they're low-risk and well understood. Some examples of these would be a request for a service delivery action, like getting a new computer for the newly hired employee. It might be a request for information or for provision of a resource or a service. Service requests can also have feedback, compliments, and complaints.

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Service requests and their fulfillment should always be standardized and automated to the greatest degree possible. Since these are low risk things you may want to try to do them as much as possible through a self-help system, so you're not tying up good people on these standard service requests. Instead, you want to reserve those man hours or person hours or full-time equivalents for incidents that you need to work through.

There are a lot of opportunities for improvement inside of the service request process. You should always be identifying them and then implement them to provide faster fulfillment times and take advantage of automation whenever possible. This allows you to make sure your policies are established properly, and if you have proper policies, this is going to make sure your service requests can be fulfilled with limited or even no additional approvals, so that fulfillment can be streamlined, optimized, and process automated. It minimizes the overhead and ensures the customer gets what they need as quickly as possible.

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Expectations from users regarding fulfillment times should be clearly set and delivered based on what your organization can realistically deliver. Make sure people understand how that fulfillment's going to operate. Sometimes your service requests are actually going to be miscategorized. People submit it as a service request, but it really is a change or an incident. In this case, you want to make sure your policies and your workflows are set up properly so they can redirect those service requests over to the incident management process or to the change management process, as appropriate. Also, some of your service requests are going to require additional authorization, and that might be based on your financial information security or other policies. Going back to the example of a bigger monitor, you want to go from a 15-inch monitor to a 21-inch monitor. There may be a cost associated with that, so you can't get that approval on your own. Instead, you put it in as a service request and that goes to your boss, who then approves the financial part of it.

Service request management is going to depend on well-defined processes and procedures. The more you can do this, the better you can track and automate all of these requests, minimizing the manpower involved, and your service request can have simple workflows or very complex workflows. It really depends on how you need to do it, based on your organization, what changes, and what approvals need to be placed in there. You want to make sure all the steps to fulfill these requests are well-known and proven. You've tested it, made sure it worked, optimized it, and then automated it.

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Your service provider can always agree to fulfillment times and provide clear status to their users. You want to make sure you're always using that engage arm so that you're telling your users what to expect. If you give them a good expectation of when it should be, that's going to help clear up a lot of the confusion and a lot of the angst that your customers may have.

When you're thinking about your service requests, remember, a lot of these can be done through a self-service experience. Things like password resets or asking for more share drive space can be completely fulfilled with automation. Leverage your existing workflow models whenever possible, so you don't have to start building things from scratch. Any time you have something, even if it's the manual fulfillment process, start looking at it, how can you optimize it, and then how can you automate it.

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From the value chain perspective in improve, service request management can provide a channel for improvement initiatives. You can get complaints and comments from your users then contribute that into the improvement process, so that you can find those trends and think of how to make things better in the future. From the engage perspective, service request management is including regular communications to tell the users what they can expect.

From the design and transition perspective, you have these standard changes to services that you're requesting, initiating, and fulfilling them as service requests. In obtain and build, when requesting something, it has to be fulfilled, and it's going to be fulfilled, that means obtaining or build something. Finally, in deliver and support, service request management makes a significant contribution to your normal service delivery, because this activity is going to tell your users all the things you can do for them and allow those things to be requested. These things are things that you can do to ensure the users get what they need to be productive, and it makes sure that you can fulfill those needs.

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