The often-taken-for-granted Service Request Management Practice
by Doug Tedder
Order a new laptop or smartphone.
Move a workspace to a new location.
Ask a question about the ERP solution in use within the organization.
These are all common, everyday interactions between a user and an IT organization, right?
These interactions are known within service management as “service requests”. ITIL® 4 defines a service request as “a request from a user…that initiates a service action which has been agreed as a normal part of service delivery”.
The act of making a service request seems to be simple enough. It’s a call to the service desk. Or perhaps, it’s a click or two on a web portal. And soon, that service request has been registered and processed…and perhaps, depending on the nature of the request, it’s even been fulfilled within just a few minutes.
Those making a service request may not appreciate what happens behind the scenes. But that is what a well-planned, designed, and implemented service request management practice does for an organization, its service consumers, and its service providers. It makes requesting and managing service requests simple enough.
But the importance of an effective service request management (SRM) practice is often overlooked…even taken for granted.
Behind the scenes
The Service Request Management practice provides a standard way for users to make requests of a service provider to provide resources or take actions that are an agreed part of the normal delivery of a service. SRM is one of the most visible service management practices within an organization.
Service requests all follow the same basic structure. First, the requester’s identity is confirmed to ensure that only those that are permitted to make a service request can make a request. The specifics of the particular request are then analyzed. Some requests are quite simple and require minimal effort for fulfillment, while other requests may be more complex, requiring contributions from several teams or involving several systems. As part of that analysis, what the requester is entitled to request is confirmed, along with any needed authorization (from a security perspective) or approvals (from a budget perspective). Finally, the request is fulfilled.
For example, a service request involving software may have to confirm that there are sufficient unassigned licenses available for fulfilling the request, and if not, trigger procurement of additional licenses. A service request for hardware, like a laptop or smartphone, may involve third parties to fulfill the request. A request for system access requires that SRM confirm that the requester is in fact authorized to access that system, and if so, provide only the type of access to which the requester is entitled.
So, regardless of whether it’s asking for a new smartphone, resetting a password, or asking a question, the basic structure of a service request is always the same. But that’s just the basics. The fact is that not all service requests are the same.
How to make it look simple
There’s so much going on behind the scenes than what may meet the eye when it comes to service requests. Behind the scenes, even the simplest service requests often involve several steps. What is the key to making it look simple?
The answer is request models.
A request model is a pre-defined method for fulfilling a specific type of service request. In other words, for any request, there should be a pre-defined and agreed approach, or model, for fulfillment. This means that a request model must:
A little planning and design goes a long way
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? The fact is that to deliver the outcomes from a SRM practice that seems simple for the user does require some planning and design. There are a number of benefits that result from planning and designing of request models.
Don’t take service request management for granted!
It can be easy to take service request management for granted. But SRM is a way to illustrate the business value of the service provider. Here are some things to do to ensure that SRM isn’t being taken for granted, while continually improving the value of SRM.
BOSSDesk offers the capability to measure the utilization of Service Catalogs and feedback on services delivered for continuous improvement
Service Request Management may seem simple to the user and to the organization. But having a well-designed and effective SRM practice is not only critical for service management implementations, but it is also important for the performance of the overall organization. Don’t let your organization take SRM for granted!
 ITIL Foundation, ITIL 4 Edition, p 195
About Doug Tedder: Doug Tedder is the principal consultant of Tedder Consulting LLC, a service management and IT governance consultancy. He is a recognized ITSM thought leader and holds numerous industry certifications ranging from ITIL®, COBIT®, Lean IT, DevOps, KCS™, VeriSM™, and Organizational Change Management. Doug is an author, blogger, and frequent speaker at local industry meetings and national conventions.