Hidden gem in ITIL 4? Incident and Request get a new friend

Tags: ITIL4, IT Service Management

In this blog post I write about the new Service Desk Practice comparing ITIL 3 and ITIL 4. 

There is an interesting – a quite significant, even - change in ITIL 4 compared to earlier versions, which I only noticed it in the official ITIL 4 Foundation training by Serview in Germany two weeks ago. It appears that our friends at Axelos have, for some reason, “hidden” a big change they introduce in ITIL 4 to the Service Desk Practice. It’s not until page 149 of the ITIL 4 Foundation book where on might stumble over this significant change. I totally missed it when reading the book for the first time.

The ITIL 4 Foundation book by Axelos book states: “Service desks provide a clear path for users to report issues, queries, and requests, and have them acknowledged, classified, owned, and actioned.” This single sentence is the only mentioning where ITIL 4 introduces a third type of service desk tasks in addition to the traditional incident (now called issue) and the service request: The Query.

The introduction of the new task type i.e. query solves a practical problem most ITIL-based service desks have faced for many years: a lot of contacts to the service desk are neither incidents (something is broken) nor a service request (ordering something defined from the service catalogue). Users contacting the service desk might simply have a question that they would like to have an answer for. ITIL 4 finally addresses this real-world challenge. If you ask me, the query type might be one of the most meaningful changes for instant application of ITIL 4.

How one adds queries in the ITSM tool is another question. We at Efecte took a pragmatic approach on it, which doesn’t cause massive changes for our customers’ existing service desk configurations.

We discussed at Efecte whether we should add another action in the self-service portal to “Ask a question from the Service Desk” (i.e. make a query), but we decided against it in the first iteration of ITIL 4 in our ITSM baseline. End-users might not even know whether their issue is an incident, a request, or a query. Having a question is somehow an issue itself already. Hence, we left “queries” out of the self-service portal, and instead decided to leave it up to the support person to classify the issue reported on the self-service portal. Therefore, we added the new task type “query” to the ITSM baseline configuration, to allow classifying the issue better in the service desk.

Overall, the query type is a welcome addition to the Service Desk practice. If implemented in real operations, then every organization gets a much better understanding of where support persons spend their time. These improved analytics allows service managers to plan the necessary resources and competencies for the service desk.

If you want to know more about ITIL 4, how it differs from previous versions or which value it will bring to Service Management organizations and companies view our Webinar on-demand (originally form April 23rd 2019).

Webinar: ITIL 4 is here - what should we expect?edit-icon

View the webinar recording

Read our previous posts on ITIL 4:

ITIL 4: is there any value in saving money?

ITIL 4 is here: Efecte is ready for the new service configuration management


Download whitepaper: ITIL 4: Agile revolution or repackaging the old? 


Peter Schneider

Written by Peter Schneider

I am Chief Product Officer @Efecte. Responsible for product management, product marketing and product strategy.