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ITIL Service Operation Processes

Incident Management | Request Fulfillment | Event Management | Access Management | Problem Management

What is Service Operation?

ITIL Service Operation

Service operation encompasses the day-to-day activities, processes, and infrastructure responsible for delivering value to the business through technology.

In Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition and Continual Service Improvement, we create value. But, no service is consumed and no business activity is experienced. Because users can access the service during Service Operation, we need high support levels to keep service consumption at high-levels. No customer wants to pay for a service that does not perform as needed or is not available for usage.

Consumerization and service experience is a key factor in Service Operation. The goal of Service Operation is to maintain day-to-day services to the point that there are no issues. When issues do occur Service Operation principles dictate response based on business priority. Service feedback from Service Operation throughout the ITIL service lifecycle enables continual service improvement.

Incident Management

ITIL Incident Management Processes & Best Practices ›

Video: ITIL Service Operation Capabilities

This video addresses new capabilities and resources needed in service operation for social media, cloud computing and business agility. Agility, security, changing business model, governance, service chain complexities and IT asset utilization are discussed related to being service management capable. (11:30)

Request Fulfillment

The service desk’s aim is to be the single point of contact for all communications between users and IT service management. As noted above, this includes the reporting of incidents by users. Yet, there are other reasons for users to contact IT service management. These include: 

  • password resets 
  • requests for information or usage help
  • standard changes as described under change management


We know these types of requests as service requests.

The request fulfillment process handles logging, categorizing, prioritizing, scheduling, and satisfying service requests. Request fulfillment is not required to satisfy requests that are infeasible or lacking proper justification.

Typically, service requests do not affect configuration items (CIs). An exception is a standard change. This is a low-risk, routine change that is pre-approved by change management. Any other request that affects one or more CIs we refer to change management.

It is advisable to document frequent occurring requests in a request model. This will help to ensure consistent handling and documentation. We should document standard services, particularly those for which there is a charge, in the service catalog.

An evolving trend in request fulfillment is the increasing use of self-help tools. These allow users to make requests such as password resets or downloads of approved software.

Event Management

Events are generated by operating systems, database management systems, middleware, applications, and monitoring tools. Most events generate during normal operations and need no response other than logging. Yet a small percentage of events state an actual or potential failure of a CI. This will necessitate the opening of an incident.

Event management handles recognizing events as they occur. It then makes sense of them, and determines the appropriate control action. Since events can generate in large volumes, event management cannot be successful without a software tool. As far as possible, the tool should provide for an automatic response, such as opening an incident record. Incidents with known and straightforward resolutions should automatically invoke procedures to resolve the incident. Where this is not possible, an alert in the form of a page, email or popup window, should generate to notify support personnel of the incident.

Integrated management software suites can provide built-in capabilities for communicating events to the event management tool. Most event-generating software can communicate events via “traps”. These are defined in the simple network management protocol (SNMP). The event management tool can be configured to parse the information in the traps.

Access Management

ITIL Access Management Processes & Best Practices ›

Problem Management

ITIL Problem Management Processes & Best Practices ›

Video: ITIL Service Operation Management

This video focuses on managing service operation for value, quality and higher-performance. Cloud computing and the service lifecycle’s dynamic relationship to service operation’s value realization, innovation and business strategy are discussed. (09:42)

BMC's Complete Guide to ITIL