How to come up with categories for our service requests

By ITIL® from Experience©

For most tools the category is a key element in the Classification1 of an event. Not only does it describe the type of work that needs to be done, it often determines the group/queue/service department the request is assigned to and it enables reports. It may also select the Service Level Agreement (SLA) and a workflow.

ITIL® Service Operations provides a technique to determine an incidents2 Classification scheme. Unfortunately it does not provide one for Service Requests.

Sources of information to prepare Service Request Categories include:

Categories for service requests should be based on what IT provides. Therefore, they should be available from the Service Catalogue. If the Service Catalogue does not list detailed transaction offered for each service, look at each service from an IMAC perspective. IMAC stands for Install, Move, Add or Change as many service requests will be related to one of those actions.

If the organization does not have a service catalogue, look for SLAs as they may list requests that can be made. In addition, review the Service Desk reports as they usually group service requests into categories for reporting. Moreover, they may be looking to have these reports re-produced by the new ITSM tool thus, this activity would also help identify reporting requirements. In absense of both a Service Catalogue and SLAs ask managers what services they are responsible to provide and the type of requests they are getting.

As a last resort review the categories used in the current tool. Be careful if the tool was not maintained by an ITSM authority and lacked governance. Simply importing the old tool's categories usually brings over problems of the current state and perpetuates difficulties and challenges into the new tool. If this is the only option available, export all the categories and group them by process (e.g. Incident, Problem, Change) and Service Requests.

Before starting this work, ask/demand a list of sample categories from the tool vendor or consultants. They should be able to provide sample lists and templates to capture data in the form of Dictionaries3 , Event Builders4 or CTI5 . Moreover they should be capable of explaining the functionality that categories enable/automate in their tool and what information is required to configure them. It would be unfortunate to discover after the data gathering is done that a mandatory field was required.

Notwithstanding all this work, put in place a process for users to request that a category be added to the tool once it is implemented. However, the list of service request categories should reflect the services offered. Therefore, a new category should not only be added once it is approved by the appropriate governance authority. Without this formal approval, it is the equivalent of offering a new service for which the organization needs to ensure that it is properly funded, resourced and that the service delivery is managed.

Last updated on: 2016-06-13

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1 Classification: The act of assigning a category to something. Classification is used to ensure consistent management and reporting. Configuration items, incidents, problems, changes etc. are usually classified. ITIL® glossary and abbreviations https://www.axelos.com/Corporate/media/Files/Glossaries/ITIL_2011_Glossary_GB-v1-0.pdf
2 Section, ITIL® Service Operations. Page 50 of the 2007 Edition or page 78 of the 2011 Edition
3 Dictionaries is Marvel MSM Categorization system
4 Event Builders is the Axios Systems assyst functionality that automates the association of a category during the logging Events
5 CTI is BMC Remedy Categorization system and stands for Category, Type and Item.


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