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3 Ways to Separate Service Requests from Incidents for Improved Efficiency

06/09/2014 by: The SunView Team

Service request management needs to be a priority in organizations that strive to improve process efficiency in IT. Holistic service request management plans can prove vital in helping technical and non-technical employees handle core work tasks effectively with the help of the service desk to provide core ticketing and activity coordination functionality. However, effectively achieving these benefits hinges on a company separating incidents, problems and changes from other service requests.

Figuring out how to distinguish between incidents and service requests can be difficult, but ITIL does provide some guidance. An ITSM Portal report illustrated this point by explaining that ITIL calls an incident "an unplanned interruption to an IT service or reduction in the quality of an IT service." A service request, on the other hand, represents a broad term that is used to describe any small demand that can be put before the IT department. A password reset is actually a small change, not an incident, and it therefore fits as a service request.

Clearly separating between incidents and service requests can be difficult, but a few ways to achieve this goal include:

1. Invest in Dedicated Management Modules
Implementing a service desk solution that features a combination of service request, incident, problem and change management solutions is necessary when trying to clearly distinguish between the various types of issues that impact business and technology users. The service desk exists to support business users and create value by meeting their needs efficiently.

A service request is designed, in some way, to add new functionality or perform a new task or change, whereas an incident fixes something already in place. Distinct management modules can make it much easier to separate various request types.

2. Educate Users

It is possible to have service desk employees designate a ticket as a service request, incident or problem, but it can also help to get users involved. Educate your employees on the difference between line-of-business and IT service requests and technical incidents and they can categorize the issue when they submit the support ticket. This can prove invaluable in saving time for help desk workers and letting support workers make decisions more effectively. While it is inevitable that some tickets will get misappropriated, having to fix a few tickets is much easier than needing to closely analyze each one.

3. Get a Dedicated Service Request Management Platform
A service request management module can perform many of the sorting tasks automatically and has tools designed to help support teams quickly identify if a support issue should be categorized as an incident, problem or change request. Being able to differentiate in these areas is vital and a good service request management solution will do much of the heavy lifting for you, allowing you to focus less on tedious organization tasks and more at dealing with the difficult issues that come into the service desk.

Understanding the value of service request management
On the surface it may seem like differentiating between different service tasks is not particularly important. After all, support employees can always forward tickets along to other users as needed, right? Well, that may work on a small scale, but organizations handling large quantities of support requests (which is increasingly common as even small companies become more dependent on IT) can end up having tickets sitting in the support queue for a fairly significant amount of time.

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