ITSM and ITIL Change Management Flow: Request Fulfillment In Depth

The ITIL change management process is the most well-known ITSM change management flow. The request fulfillment cycle, one of its core processes, helps control how service requests are processed and handled.

In this article, we’ll take a bird’s eye view of the ITIL process.

After that, we’ll explore the stages of the request fulfillment process and see an example of how you would implement the ITIL request pipeline in your business.

Before we do, though, let’s briefly recap ITIL’s main lifecycle stages.

The 5 ITIL Lifecycle Stages

The ITIL lifecycle is broken down into 5 major stages:

  1. Service Strategy – Your service strategy aligns your service management with the strategic goals of your organization
  2. Service Design – During this stage, you design the services that meet your strategic objectives
  3. Service Transition – This stage includes the preparation, implementation, testing, change management, among others … it is where you actually make the shift to the new service
  4. Service Operation – This is considered the go-live stage, where customers begin using the service
  5. Continual Service Improvement – Once services are implemented, customer feedback is continually assessed, the service is reviewed periodically, and it is updated as needed

These stages have sub-processes that are blueprinted in detail, making it relatively easy for ITSM departments to get started.

We’ll cover one of the most well-known aspects of this process below.

ITIL Request Fulfillment Overview

Request fulfillment, also called Request Management, is a core process of the Service Operation stage.

It is perhaps the most widely know ITIL process, because it’s a process that’s used in day-to-day operations.

Once a new process has been implemented, this process is used to fulfill and manage change requests. It is also closely aligned with incident management, another sub-process of the Service Management stage.

ITIL request fulfillment also has 5 core processes:

  1. Request Fulfillment Support
  2. Request Logging and Categorization
  3. Request Model Execution
  4. Request Monitoring and Evaluation
  5. Request Closure and Evaluation

This change management flow is the baseline process for other processes in the Service Operation stage.

It leads to Incident Management, Access Management, and subsequent processes, such as Problem Management and Facilities Management.

Most ITSM change management software platforms follow this model for request management, so it is important to understand this process in detail.

Let’s look at how requests are submitted, processed, and finalized.

The Request Fulfillment Pipeline

Though ITIL does not prescribe a rigid method, it does set forth guidelines to follow.

And most ITSM departments follow a pipeline similar to this one:

1. Request Submission

First, a problem is identified by someone within the organization.

This person then submits a change request, or a service request.

The request should will define its scope, reasons for the change, and what the change is designed to accomplish. It will also be assigned a priority level (for more details on this, see our other ITIL articles).

Often, this is done inside the company’s change management software. As mentioned, most ITSM change management tools are typically modeled after the ITIL framework.

2. Request Review

If necessary, the request will be reviewed by the appropriate party.

Lower priority requests, however, can be passed through the pipeline without review.

In some cases, rejection is possible. In others, revisions will be requested.

3. Implementation

An implementation team is assigned, who will be responsible for implementing service changes.

The team will be supervised by a manager, such as the Incident Manager.

And, in cases where escalation is necessary, additional support levels will be called upon.

4. Testing and Monitoring

Testing continues through the implementation and monitoring phases, to insure against service interruptions.

Again, the incident can be escalated if necessary.

As with every other stage in this process, the purpose is to maintain service levels, prevent service breaches, and avoid interruptions.

5. Closure and Evaluation

To close a service implementation, a request is submitted to quality control.

Typically, this involves making sure the request record contains all the necessary information and documentation.

If the request has been handled appropriately, there are usually no further amendments to the change itself.

Please note, the processes described in this article refer to ITIL 2011, ITIL’s most current version which is still in use in 2017 and 2018. It will continue to be supported for some time, in 2019 and beyond.

As of this writing ITIL v4 is set to be released in Q1, 2019, and its details remain confidential.

Conclusion: ITIL Makes the Change Management Flow More Efficient

The ITIL request fulfillment process, alongside incident management, offers a critical process for managing and maintaining IT services.

This pipeline helps create a change management flow that handles requests quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

When used alongside other change management tools and techniques, it minimizes service impacts and keeps your business running smoothly.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.