ITIL Service Operation

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Objective: The objective of ITIL Service Operation is to make sure that IT services are delivered effectively and efficiently. The Service Operation lifecycle stage includes the fulfilling of user requests, resolving service failures, fixing problems, as well as carrying out routine operational tasks.

Part of: IT Service Management | ITIL processes


Processes: ITIL Service Operation

Service Operation carries out operational tasks.

The ITIL service lifecycle stage of Service Operation (see fig. 1) includes the following main processes:

Process Objective: To make sure CIs and services are constantly monitored, and to filter and categorize Events in order to decide on appropriate actions.
Process Objective: To manage the lifecycle of all Incidents. The primary objective of Incident Management is to return the IT service to users as quickly as possible.
Process Objective: To fulfill Service Requests, which in most cases are minor (standard) Changes (e.g. requests to change a password) or requests for information.
Process Objective: To grant authorized users the right to use a service, while preventing access to non-authorized users. The Access Management processes essentially execute policies defined in Information Security Management. Access Management is sometimes also referred to as Rights Management or Identity Management.
Process Objective: To manage the lifecycle of all Problems. The primary objectives of Problem Management are to prevent Incidents from happening, and to minimize the impact of incidents that cannot be prevented. Proactive Problem Management analyzes Incident Records, and uses data collected by other IT Service Management processes to identify trends or significant Problems.
Process Objective: To monitor and control the IT services and their underlying infrastructure. The process IT Operations Control executes day-to-day routine tasks related to the operation of infrastructure components and applications. This includes job scheduling, backup and restore activities, print and output management, and routine maintenance.
Process Objective: To manage the physical environment where the IT infrastructure is located. Facilities Management includes all aspects of managing the physical environment, for example power and cooling, building access management, and environmental monitoring.
Process Objective: Application Management is responsible for managing applications throughout their lifecycle.
Process Objective: Technical Management provides technical expertise and support for the management of the IT infrastructure.

ITIL 4 Service Operation

The Service Operation processes described here (fig. 1) follow the specifications of ITIL V3, where Service Operation is the fourth stage in the Service Lifecycle.

ITIL V4 has moved from the Service Lifecycle concept to a more holistic approach that includes key concepts, the Four Dimensions Model and the Service Value System (SVS).

Instead of processes, ITIL 4 describes 34 'practices', and many of the 26 processes specified in ITIL V3 can be found in ITIL 4 as practices. For example, ITIL 4 refers to Incident Management and Problem Management as practices.

The shift from processes to practices means ITIL V4 is no longer prescriptive about processes and gives organizations more freedom to define tailor-made Service Operation processes.

Since the processes defined in ITIL V3 have not been invalidated with the introduction of ITIL V4, organizations that need to design their Service Operation processes can still use the processes specified in ITIL V3 as templates.

In our YaSM Service Management Wiki we describe a leaner set of 19 service management processes that are more in tune with ITIL 4 and its focus on simplicity and "just enough process".

The YaSM service management model includes a Service Operation process that is a good starting point for organizations that wish to adopt ITIL 4.

KPIs | Templates | Roles


Service Operation ITIL
The ITIL discipline Service Operation at a glance

Use the following links to open the process overview of Service Operation showing the most important interfaces:

Demo Service Operation: ITIL Process Map

The ITIL Process Map video shows samples of the ITIL process templates with contents from Service Operation and Incident Management processes, including the

  • high-level view of the ITIL Service Lifecycle (Level 0)
  • overview of the Service Operation process (Level 1)
  • overview of the Incident Management process (Level 2)
  • detailed process flow for the process "Incident Resolution by 1st Level Support" (Level 3)


By:  Stefan Kempter , IT Process Maps.


ITIL 4 Service Operation  › Event Management  › Incident Mgmt.  › Request Fulfilment  › Access Mgmt.  › Problem Mgmt.  › [...]