ITIL – FAQ


Recently a couple of discussions raised in social media were regarding the clarity between a Service Request and Change. For those who has the right understanding of these two terms, this discussion might look too basic – but my experience shows that many practitioners are carrying some level of confusion on these terms.

Here are the typical confusions/queries that I have seen regarding these in my training/consulting engagements as well as forum interactions:

  • How to differentiate a Service request from a Change request?

Service Requests are those requests coming from a user to the Service Desk (or in some cases, self-help channels) and fulfilled through Request fulfillment. Change requests are requests for modifications required in any part of the Services, Service management systems or underlying systems and components.

Service Requests can include requests for some changes that a user ‘is entitled to ask for’ – often defined as those forming part of ‘standard’ requests from users. To fulfill those Service requests (only those involving changes – not all), applicable change management process (or change model) need to be followed. In fact, In the fulfillment of such Service requests, two (or more) processes might work together – along with request fulfillment there could be processes such as change management, release management (where applicable), access management etc. This is very much like:  for resolving an Incident (or Problem) – you might need a change and hence has to follow change management process.

However, it is also important to note that the changes that can be requested by users will be those minor, operational changes (installation of desktop software/hardware, user id/password changes etc) – and hence will typically fall under Standard Change model (in other words, pre-authorized). So, for fulfilling of those requests, there is no change approval and such detailed change management process is not usually required. (more…)

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ITIL® , the best practice framework for IT Service management-  by the time it has evolved into its third version or as it is called now into the 2007 edition –  came up with a comprehensive definition of “Service” (the same is retained in its 2011 edition as well):

“Means of delivering value to the customer by facilitating the outcomes customer want to achieve, without the ownership of specific costs and risks”

However, it seems to be still unclear (or missing the opportunity) in defining ‘IT service’ and  ‘IT Service Provider’ clearly.  As per the 2011 edition, the definitions are:

“IT service:  Services delivered by an IT Service Provider”

 “IT Service Provider: A service provider providing IT Services to internal or external customers”

Talk about Circular references!

 Can’t we have some better definition or at least better insights into understanding what an ‘IT Service’ is?

No, I don’t have a well thought out definition of ‘IT Service’ on offer here; not yet. However here are some thoughts that might lead us to defining ‘IT service’ better:

What is Information Technology (IT)?

Technology used to:  Process information, Store Information, Transfer information, or Present (visualize, for example) business information.

So the ‘outcome’ expected by customer or business from “IT” (as a provider of service) can be described through:

  • Process, Store, Transfer or Present business information as required by the business
  • While ensuring key aspects like Reliability, Security and Cost-effectiveness

Any systems/technology and/or activity which facilitate the above outcome described above,

  • Without the need of  business/customer to own, manage or worry about the specific risks and  costs of the underlying technology, assets, activities etc.

can be an “IT Service”.

With this context , one possible perspective of looking at IT Service can be as below: (more…)

A frequent discussion we have in most of the training programs and consulting engagements is about clarity on handling of “Potential Incidents“. On my previous post about Event vs Incidents, JJ has commented with a similar query:

What about those events which are likely to become an incident?

For Instance, Internet Link utilization increased from 60% to 70%. Say my threshold is 75%(Warning) and 80%(Critical) and the utilization increases to 70% on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, shouldnt an incident be created. Because Incident also includes degradation of service.

Since it is a common discussion, thought of putting this as a new post.

First of all, let us divide the context into two parts:

  1. How will this be treated within event management process
  2. What response will be appropriate from event management for this (in other words, what process/action will be triggered by event management process to handle this event)

Since the utilization is reaching a level close to (not equal to more than) the threshold or critical levels, it is still a “Warning” event (Unusual operation) for event management process – and not an exception. As it hasn’t reached the threshold nor critical level of utilization, we can safely assume that there is no ‘degradation of service’ currently. Hence it is not yet an Incident. Yes, this can be a potential incident later – if not handled.

This is my take on such scenarios: this event is actually detected NOT as part of ‘Incident detection’, but as a part of ‘Capacity Monitoring’ (iterative activities of capacity management as per ITIL) . The thresholds and guidelines for these event should be established by Capacity management process. Capacity management can give an instruction to create an incident ticket, if the utilization reaches or crosses a critical limit at any point. However, the first objective of capacity management is to identify issues concerning capacity, before it start impacting business. That is the reason they are setting thresholds adequately below the critical limits for taking proactive action before it starts affecting the service/business. (more…)

Just finished our final batch of ITIL V3 Manager Bridge this week – final because of APMG’s announced ‘Hard-stop’ of V3 manager Bridge certification on June 30th, 2011.

For ITIL V2 Service Manager certified professionals, the situation is not as bad as many of them think, even after June 30th: The available path towards ITIL expert certification are specified by APMG here:

As per this communication, a certified ITIL V2 Service Manager can still get to ITIL Expert Certification faster, by completing the following THREE certifications:

1. ITIL V3 Foundation (or V3 Foundation Bridge, if they have already done that)

AND

2. ITIL V3 Intermediate Life cycle : Service Strategy OR Continual Service Improvement

AND

3. ITIL V3 Managing Across Lifecycle (MALC)

Personally, I don’t really understand the logic of the second requirement there : Service Strategy OR CSI. But that is the decision and announcement from the Accreditation body.

However, I definitely see some confusions among students/candidates for certification, caused by the v3 Qualification scheme guide of APMG (that was published in 2009 – and still live on their site, no further updates on their site, hence we can assume that is the current one):

The criteria for ITIL Expert indicates shows the following: (more…)

In school, there are some subjects (especially Maths) –  a part of the students  find it very easy and many others would just not get it! The people who ‘get it’ thinks (even aloud some times): what is so difficult in this? Isn’t this plain simple and logical? While those who ‘doesn’t get it’ are still left without any clue.

ITIL® has been carrying a few concepts like that (no – I am not getting into the Incident –Problem debate once again! Why don’t you get it, it is sooo simple!! 😉 ):

One such area in ITIL V3 is the clarity between Event and Incident.

Many of my students go through the sessions and finally raises the question: ‘Can you explain to me once again how an Event is different from Incident?’

First of all, the confusion is created by the choice of terminology there. (and to think ITIL is from a British origin! Sigh… I always wondered how many organizations were calling ‘service interruptions as ‘incidents’ before ITIL defined and used that word!).

In plain English if you think, the meaning (of both terms almost) point us to ‘some thing that occur or occurred’.

Which is true (in ITIL terms) for Events ; or at least closely. Event is defined as ‘change of state, that is significant to Service management’.  So event can be purely normal ‘change of state’

Let us look at some examples of events in typical service management: (more…)