Service Requests and Standard Changes

Paul recently asked;


When browsing on the topic of Service Requests, I visited your site where a question was answered on the differences and similarities of Service Requests and Standard Changes. I was triggered by the following passage:

"It is important to note that not all Service Requests are Standard Changes. Service Requests can include questions, queries, complaints and compliments. Similarly, not all Standard Changes are Service Requests. Standard Changes can include batch jobs, patches and other low risk changes that are not "requestable" by the user. Any Service Request or Standard Change that presents a higher risk may require reassessment and reclassification by Change Management."

I am trying to think of a term that would differentiate the one from the other. Considering that there are Service Requests that may invoke a Standard Change, I can see two possibilities: it may be a Standard Change that can be requested by any end-user or it may be a Standard Change that would need at least 1 approval (to verify the requestor's authority, for example by a functional support team, in delgation of the CAB). I've heard companies calling the first sort "Model Change Requests" and the second sort "Standard Changes". Is there standard nomenclature that would express the difference between the one and the other, and, if not, have you heard of useable common practises for this distinction?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts,

Paul M.

Thanks for the insightful question. Perhaps another perspective on the situation might be helpful.

One way to think of the relationship between Service Request and Standard Change is from the perspective of the person actually performing the work. If I can perform the work of the item for myself (because I have permission, authority, skills, access, etc.) then I will be performing a Standard Change. If I must ask someone else to perform the work on my behalf (because I do not have the skills, permission or authority) then I will open a Service Request. In the background, nearly ever Service Request that requires some kind of action to be performed would technically need a Standard Change. For example--I request a password reset (Service Request) but you perform the reset (Standard Change). Creating both mechanisms to perform one action is bureaucratic, so simply count your Service Request form as a type of Standard Change Request.

I am not aware of an official nomenclature other than Standard Change or Service Request. The key is to identify the types of low risk, low cost, low impact activities that could be done by an authorized, skilled person and designate those as Standard Changes. Then identify those procedural, repeatable, standardized activities that someone would need to request from an authorized, skilled person and designate those as Service Requests.

As new situations arise, determine if they fall under either of the categories and put them under that type of mechanism or control from that point forward.

I hope this helps!


pmuenstermann said…
Dear professor,

Thanks a lot for your answer: it shows that, despite the difference in native language (English versus Dutch), we do speak the same language when it comes to Service Management principles.

I understand the position you describe, and yes, if we were to take the view of a Service Request triggering a Standard Change, that we would be formalizing one bridge too far. Still, in the heart of it, this is what I want to avoid by creating two classes of Standard Changes that are invoked by a request from a stakeholder in the business process (be it IT or Business): one Standard Change for your every-day stuff, like creating access to a business application or resetting a print queue, that can be requested by anyone (from end-user to IT Specialist); another Standard Change that is in its essence a Standard Change (pre-approved, low-risk, known cost, etc.) but does need some sort of formal approvement (e.g. a request for client copy in SAP). Mind you, I'm well aware of the fact that my second example might be considered a full Change in some organizations, which should in that case follow the Change process rather than the Request Fulfillment process. Nonetheless, these are two examples that I come across in my current assignement.

From an organizational perspective, we are ready to handle this: the "to-be-approved" Standard Change is initially assigned to a functional support team that, by delegated responsibility of the CAB, can assess whether or not such a request is justified or should be allowed. The "no-need-for-approval-because-it-has-already-been-given-by-the-CAB" Standard Change will be directly assigned to the support team that has to fulfill the actual request (the team that effectively does the work).

The only thing that now really lacks, is a destinctive name, to separate the one from the other, while still obiding by the principles set out by ITIL.

So maybe, all in all, this might be more a challange on creativity, rahter than a discussion on applying ITIL principles to processes.

Needless to say I would still highly value your professional creativity ;-)

Thanks again for thinking along!

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