Understanding Service Requests 

Every day, IT departments receive numerous demands, often called ‘service requests’. These demands range from simple tasks such as password changes to more complex ones, like software installations. Given the routine nature of many of these requests, they don’t need to follow the standard incident and change management procedures. Instead, they can be dealt with more promptly through a dedicated process known as ‘request fulfilment’. Efficiently addressing these requests plays a crucial role in ensuring user satisfaction and shaping the overall perception of the IT department.

The Essence of Request Fulfilment  

Request fulfilment is all about managing the entire lifecycle of user service requests. Its primary objectives are:

  • Ensuring user and customer satisfaction.
  • Offering a seamless channel for users to avail standard services.
  • Informing users about available services and the methods to acquire them.
  • Sourcing and delivering the components required for standard services.
  • Assisting with general queries, complaints, or comments.

Request Models and Their Scope  

The actual process to address a request may differ based on its nature, but it often involves a series of activities. These steps are encapsulated within ‘request models’, which provide a structured way to handle recurring requests. It’s worth noting the difference between an incident and a service request. An incident is typically unplanned, whereas a service request should ideally be a planned event.

Some organizations might choose to include non-IT requests in the scope, such as fixing plumbing issues or servicing office equipment. However, it’s essential for each organization to clearly define which requests fall under this process.

The Value Proposition 

Request fulfilment offers immense value to businesses:

  • It facilitates quick access to standard services, enhancing productivity.
  • It simplifies procedures, cutting down on bureaucratic delays.
  • By centralizing the process, it offers better control and cost benefits.

Ensuring Consistency and Efficiency  

There are certain policies and principles that can be adopted to streamline the request fulfilment process:

  • Policies: Following a predefined model ensures consistency. A central entity, like a service desk, should be responsible for monitoring and fulfilling requests. Any service request that might change configurations should undergo a standard change procedure.
  • Principles: Common strategies include providing a menu-style interface for users to select and detail their requests, keeping track of the status of each request, and having a clear priority system based on impact and urgency. 

Additionally, unforeseen challenges might require the escalation of certain requests. Financial considerations are also significant, with many requests needing cost estimation and subsequent approval.

Concluding the Process 

Once a service request is successfully addressed, it’s essential to loop back to the initiating user to ensure satisfaction. The service desk often plays this pivotal role, ensuring that the request was completed as desired and closing it off.

In summary, request fulfilment serves as the bridge between IT and end users. By understanding and implementing it efficiently, organizations can ensure that both routine and unique demands are handled promptly, leading to satisfied users and a smoothly running IT operation.

References: ITIL Service Operation, 2011 edition, ISBN 9780113313075