ITIL Implementation - Process Interfaces

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Step 6: Definition of ITIL Process Interfaces


The next step determines which inputs each process receives from other processes, and which outputs it must produce so that subsequent processes are able to function.



  • Definition of the interfaces for all ITIL processes which are to be introduced



These inputs and outputs are also called ITIL information objects: Structured sets of data, like e.g. an Incident Record, which serves to describe a service interruption.

Just how great the importance of process interfaces is for the design of optimal work procedures frequently becomes apparent during the analysis of as-is processes:

Weaknesses in processes often occur at those points where one process ends and another one begins. In many cases one will find interrupted information flows or media breaks – so that the required information is not exchanged as intended.

The definition of the process interfaces is taken care of as a separate project step, before dealing with the innards of the processes in detail. Obviously, before being able to define the detailed activities, it must be clear what inputs a process can expect from preceding ones, and which outputs it must produce.

The ITIL Process Map applies a rigorous approach to the definition of interfaces: Information objects may be picked from a central ITIL glossary (see Figure 1: Index of Data Objects) to define the inputs and outputs in a precise way. Every information object contains a short definition to avoid any ambiguities about the expected process results.

A challenge during the definition of the ITIL interfaces lies in the fact that, as a rule, not all ITIL processes are introduced at once, which often means that some of the required inputs for a process are missing.

For example, an Information Security Management process could not yet be explicitly defined, but the Service Desk still requires inputs from Security Management, like e.g. Security Alerts.

In order to circumvent this problem, which inevitably springs up during a phased introduction of ITIL, a generic process directory for the IT organization as a whole can be used.

The generic directory offers a structured framework for the definition of process links even if, initially, only a sub-set of the ITIL processes is defined in detail.

Additional ITIL processes can thus be plugged into the process model at a later point in time as needed.




Results/ Deliverables

  • Interfaces of the ITIL processes to be introduced:
    • with each other
    • with other service management processes
    • with customer and supplier processes


Success Factors

  • It must be avoided that the newly introduced processes repre­sent an isolated solution; the interfaces to the other processes within the IT organization and beyond it must therefore be considered.
  • The documentation of the interfaces should be clearly structured, showing details only when required. This calls for overview diagrams showing the big picture and separate detailed interface diagrams for each process.


Relevant Views of the ITIL Process Map

ITIL interfaces
Figure 2: Detailed process interfaces

The ITIL Process Map contains two types of models which, in combination with each other, are used for the definition of the process interfaces:

  • Process overviews (see ITIL Implementation Step 5 - Figure 2), which illustrate the interrelations of several processes on one single page
  • Detailed process interface diagrams with all inputs and outputs (see Figure 2)



Following Process Activity

→ ITIL Implementation - Step 7: Establishing Process Control


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