• 3,000 firms
  • Independent
  • Trusted
Save up to 70% on staff

Home » Articles » Incident vs. Service request

Incident vs. Service request

Within IT service management, incidents and service requests are two fundamental terms that frequently cause confusion among individuals. 

Despite their apparent similarities, it is crucial to grasp the substantial disparities between these concepts. 

Incident management and service request management fulfill separate functions in providing exemplary IT services to users. 

This article explains the primary distinctions of Incident vs. Service requests. By understanding their differences, organizations can streamline their IT operations, improve customer contentment, and optimize the delivery of services.

What is an incident request?

Incident management is the complex process of restoring normal service operations following an unanticipated disruption or stoppage. An incident or unplanned occurrence could impair the quality, availability, or performance of an IT service. 

What is an incident request
What is an incident request?

These accidents occur as a result of a variety of circumstances, such as hardware failures, software flaws, cyber-attacks, or human mistakes. 

Get 3 free quotes 2,300+ BPO SUPPLIERS

The focus of incident management is to resolve these problems quickly. Taking quick action minimizes their negative impact on users and the broader organization. 

Incident management qualities include the timely identification, classification, prioritizing, and resolution of incidents. 

To guarantee prompt and effective handling of these circumstances, this complex task requires a systematic strategy, frequently following a recognized incident management methodology

Incident request management procedure

Figuring out an incident as fast as possible before it happens again or gets worse is extremely important. Incident management procedure typically involves:

  • Prompt identification. This requires quick action in terms of recognizing and figuring out an incident before it occurs again or before it gets worse.
  • Documentation recording. Relevant details must be carefully documented. IT specialists record the impact and resolution measures followed throughout the occurrence.
  • Resolve. The incident was discovered and documented as soon as possible. The employment of tools to improve resolution efficiency is required. 

What is a service request?

Unlikе incidеnts, sеrvicе requests arе planned and prеdictablе. Sеrvicе request management involves addressing usеr dеmands for information, assistance, or accеss to IT sеrvicеs. 

Users initiate sеrvicе requests whеn thеy require a standard changе or accеss to a sеrvicе that does not involvе a disruption or an incidеnt. 

Examplеs of sеrvicе requests include password rеsеt, softwarе installation, access to sharеd foldеrs or provision of additional rеsourcеs.

Get the complete toolkit, free

Characteristics of sеrvicе request management include a customеr-cеntric approach, in which the focus is on meeting user expectations and delivering sеrvicеs еfficiеntly. 

What is a service request
What is a service request?

Sеrvicе requests are typically prе-dеfinеd and documented, enabling organizations to establish strеamlinеd procеssеs for handling thеsе requests. It often involves sеlf-sеrvicе portals or sеrvicе catalogs, providing usеrs with thе ability to submit and track their rеquеsts. 

Service request management procedures

Typical steps involved in the service request management process include:

  • Request submission. Requests are submitted for tasks to be completed. This is done by filling out a form with the valid and relevant information. 
  • Request validation. Validation of the request is prioritized. Inaccurate or false information could negatively affect the outcome of the requests. Completed requests are forwarded to the organization immediately when finished.
  • Request fulfillment. When a request is approved, it must be done during its required timeframe. Notes are kept for future reference.  
  • Closure confirmation. Closure confirmation may occur in various ways, such as phone calls, messages, or in person. All situations and relationships are concluded of importance.
  • Documentation compilation. All necessary documents are gathered first and are then organized into appropriate sections. For instance, it may include brief notes as well as reports.

Incident vs. Service requests: 4 key differences

It is important to grasp the significant disparities between incidents and service requests for effective IT service management. 

Let’s delve into their key differences:

1. Type of scenarios 

Incidents are usually manifested as disruptions or degradations of IT systems that are unanticipated. On the other hand, service requests manifest as scheduled and predictable requests for information or access. 

To summarize, incidents are unpredictable, while service requests are more predictable and can be controlled.

2. Impact

These two have contrasting effects on organizations. Incidents may impact IT services negatively, leading to downtime, data loss, and compromised performance.

On the contrary, service requests may bear a more positive impact, leading to enhanced service delivery and the fulfillment of users’ needs.

3. Urgency

Among these two, incidents are the ones that require more immediate attention and resolution. Service requests are not as time-sensitive as the other and can often be handled within agreed-upon service level agreements (SLAs).

4. Resolution process

Incidents require a more complicated and systematic process, such as identification, classification, prioritization, investigation, and resolution.

Service requests, on the other hand, follow a set service request management procedure that often includes validation, fulfillment, and closure. 

Understanding the underlying differences between incidents and service requests allows IT services teams to meet the different needs and difficulties they offer with a more thorough and targeted strategy. 

Incident vs. Service requests 4 key differences
Incident vs. Service requests 4 key differences

Incident vs. Service request: Commonly used tools

There is a wide range of tools available to optimize incident and service request management processes, providing organizations with multiple options. 

These tools not only streamline the processes but also enhance their efficiency:

Incident management tools

These tools are very helpful in recording, classifying, and monitoring occurrences:

  •  JIRA Service Desk
  • BMC Remedy
  • ServiceNow

These powerful tools can quickly identify and resolve situations. 

Service request management tools

Service management tools enable firms to manage and submit service requests easily. Progress can also be tracked, and timely updates are provided with ease. 

ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus, Freshservice, and Zendesk are a few noteworthy examples.

Monitoring and alerting tools

Monitoring and alerting are essential to keep an IT department in check. These tools are designed to proactively discover issues and send out notifications to take care of the problem as soon as possible. 

SolarWinds, Zabbix, and Nagios are some of the most popular tools for this category.

Incident vs. Service request: Best practices

Best practices for handling incidents and service requests involve a variety of techniques. Here are some of them:

Using context to prioritize the request

There are instances where you receive multiple incident or service requests simultaneously. For you to be able to handle the situation, a system in place for prioritizing incoming requests is a must-have. 

To address this issue, the best thing to do is create a context by considering each perspective.

Centralizing the request process

Receiving multiple requests can be troublesome. However, this issue can be resolved by using a centralized platform. 

You can use specific channels, such as digital forms, in this process. This leads to accurate report facilitation, trend analysis, and identification of common issues.

Centralizing the request process
Incident vs. Service request: Best practices

Offering self-service options

Nothing is more convenient than self-service options. To do this, you may use digital service portals, which allow asynchronous communications and help track your progress. 

By providing in-depth instruction, the recipient may no longer need service requests in the future. 

Continuous improvement

Assessing incident and service request management processes regularly is important. Part of this process is the analysis of performance metrics and pinpointing areas for improvement to enhance service delivery.

Get Inside Outsourcing

An insider's view on why remote and offshore staffing is radically changing the future of work.

Order now

Start your
journey today

  • Independent
  • Secure
  • Transparent

About OA

Outsource Accelerator is the trusted source of independent information, advisory and expert implementation of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

The #1 outsourcing authority

Outsource Accelerator offers the world’s leading aggregator marketplace for outsourcing. It specifically provides the conduit between world-leading outsourcing suppliers and the businesses – clients – across the globe.

The Outsource Accelerator website has over 5,000 articles, 450+ podcast episodes, and a comprehensive directory with 3,900+ BPO companies… all designed to make it easier for clients to learn about – and engage with – outsourcing.

About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.

“Excellent service for outsourcing advice and expertise for my business.”

Learn more
Banner Image
Get 3 Free Quotes Verified Outsourcing Suppliers
3,000 firms.Just 2 minutes to complete.
Learn more

Connect with over 3,000 outsourcing services providers.

Banner Image

Transform your business with skilled offshore talent.

  • 3,000 firms
  • Simple
  • Transparent
Banner Image