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ITIL Basic Understanding

Terms and Definitions

IT Service

A service is a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating the outcome customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks.

IT Service Management

Service Management is a set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services.

What is ITIL?

ITIL is a public framework that describes Best Practices in IT service management. It provides a framework for the governance of IT, the ‘service wrap’, and focuses on the continual measurement and improvement of the quality of IT service delivered, from both a business and a customer perspective.


Any event that deviates from normal operations of an IT service causes or may cause an unplanned interruption to, or reduction in the quality of an IT service.

Incident Management

The primary goal of the Incident Management process is to restore normal service operation as quickly as possible, with minimum disruption to the business.

Functional Escalation

If an incident cannot be resolved at the first point of contact – namely the Service Desk, then it must be passed to a second-level support group.

Hierarchical Escalation

Typically required when an incident is serious or a multiple set of incidents mean that the resolution for the set of incidents may take an excessive amount of time outside the agreed SLA.

Response Time

Response time starts when the ticket is recorded in the ticketing tool and assigned to the related support group. Status of the ticket = Open / assigned.

Resolution Time

Resolution time is the overall time when IT is getting aware of the problem = Status of the ticket Opened, i.e. includes the response time. Resolution time ends when the incident has been resolved, the Super users or the user has been notified, a solution has been accepted by the business and the ticket has been closed. Status of the ticket = closed.

Problem Management

A problem is a cause of one or more incidents. The cause is not usually known at the time a problem record is created, and the problem management process is responsible for further investigation.

Service Change

A Service Change is the addition, modification, or removal of an authorized, planned, or supported service or service component and its associated documentation.

Change Management

Change Management ensures that changes are recorded, evaluated, authorized, prioritized, planned, tested, implemented, documented, and reviewed in a controlled manner.

Relation between Incident, Problem, and Change

All of the requests coming in are called Incidents. Incident management is a set of practices, processes, and solutions that helps teams detect, investigate, respond to incidents, and restore the service on time.

On the other hand, problem management is the process of identifying the causes of incidents and then initiating actions to rectify the issue. Problem management aims to minimize the impact of the problem on the organization by taking a more organized approach in the form of root cause analysis, which is used to pinpoint the underlying issue. This issue is then fixed to prevent a recurrence. Ultimately, identifying underlying problems helps with incident management and proactively ensures that normal operations continue.

Change management aims to implement changes most efficiently while minimizing the negative impact on customers when changes are implemented.

Typically, IT changes are initiated after the IT problem management processes to:

  • fix the identified IT problem;
  • replace a faulty asset that leads to repeat incidents;
  • as a part of a major incident resolution.

The goal of IT incident management is to minimize IT disruptions and restore services immediately. In some cases, implementing can lead to incidents, most of which are minor incidents caused by temporary service disruptions or service unavailability. The impact of such incidents can be minimized by proactively informing end users about the change implementation as well as anticipated incidents or service unavailability. In case of a major incident caused by a change, change management teams can immediately roll back the change to restore normalcy.

Service Level Management

Service Level Management is used when a Consumer is going to use a Service at a guaranteed level of quality. It also covers monitoring activities conducted by Services to guarantee that Consumer requirements are met. The Service Level Agreement (SLA) for each service should be documented in a service document ( Service Contract).

Action Items

Documented event, task, activity, or action that needs to take place for addressing the cause or one of the causes of a Problem. Action items have a clearly defined scope, and they are assigned to a team with a single person acting as focal for the execution, have a defined due date, and generate pre-determined evidence of execution.

Incident Ticket

A record containing the details of an Incident. Each Incident Ticket documents the life cycle of a single Incident.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A metric that is used to help manage a process, IT service, or activity. Many metrics may be measured, but only the most important of these are defined as KPIs and used to actively manage and report on the process, IT service, or activity. KPIs are selected so that efficiency, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness are all managed.

Known Error

A Problem for which the root cause is understood, but a permanent fix has not initially been identified. A temporary Workaround may or may not be available initially.

Problem Record

A record containing the details of a Problem that is managed using the Problem Management process.


A method of avoiding an Incident or Problem, either by employing a temporary fix or technique that reduces or eliminates the service failure.


The unknown or unresolved underlying cause of one or more Incidents, resulting in a loss or potential loss of the availability or performance of a service and its supporting environment. This includes errors related to systems, hardware, software, and processes. The cause is not usually known at the time a Problem Record is created, and the Problem Management process is responsible for further investigation. The recognition of Problems can come from any point in the environment and can be identified using a variety of automated and non-automated methods.