4 min read

ITSM Triad: Service Request, Incident Management and Problem Management

August 16, 2023

In the landscape of Information Technology Service Management (ITSM), three crucial frameworks hold sway: service request, incident management, and problem management. While they may appear similar on the surface, each plays a unique role in optimizing IT services and improving overall business efficiency. 

This post delves into the differences between them and the crucial part they play in the broader ITSM spectrum.

ITSM: The Bridge

ITSM, encompassing various frameworks and methodologies, serves as the bridge between an organization's IT services and its business requirements. Different frameworks, such as ITIL or Agile, bring in unique approaches, yet the three central pillars – service request, incident management, and problem management – form the common core. These critical components guide the response to daily needs, disruptions, and ongoing challenges, ensuring seamless alignment with the company's overarching goals.

What is a Service Request?

The service request, a cornerstone in this core, transforms regular business requirements into specific IT services. Typically, a service request is an ask for a standard IT service, like access to a network drive or installing a new application.  Service requests are usually pre-approved and carefully documented in the organization's service catalog, eliminating the need for changes in the existing IT infrastructure. 

Service requests play a pivotal role in the smooth functioning of an organization. By having a streamlined process for such requests, IT departments can ensure that employees have the necessary tools and services to perform their tasks effectively.

What is Incident Management?

Incident management revolves around restoring normal service operations as quickly as possible following an IT-related disruption to minimize any negative impact on the business.


A company email server crashes unexpectedly, disrupting the communication channels of the organization. This constitutes an incident, as it's an unplanned disruption to an IT service. The IT department would then follow the incident management process, which involves identification, classification, investigation, and resolution of the incident to restore the email service. 

What is Problem Management?

Problem management, while seemingly similar to Incident Management, holds a different purpose. Instead of addressing the symptoms (incidents), it targets the root causes of these incidents. Its objective is not only to restore service, but to prevent recurring issues by identifying and addressing the underlying problems.

Example of Problem Management:

Suppose the aforementioned email server doesn't just crash once but does so repeatedly over a period of a few weeks. Here, the focus shifts from dealing with individual incidents (each crash) to identifying and resolving the underlying problem causing these crashes. 

Just as with incident management, problem management is significantly enhanced by dedicated software and tools. DeskDirector's problem management capabilities, for instance, allow for advanced incident tracking, smart automation, and thorough problem analysis, thus contributing to a more resilient IT environment.

The ITSM Triad in Practice

Mismanagement or misclassification of service requests, incidents, and problems can lead to inefficiencies and bottlenecks in an organization's IT service delivery. For instance, treating a recurring incident as a series of isolated events rather than a problem to be solved at its root can lead to wasted resources and persistent disruptions. 

Conversely, understanding and effectively managing these three components helps to streamline operations, improve service quality, and create an environment where IT truly serves as a pillar of organizational success.

In the practice of managing the ITSM triad, a robust ticketing solution plays a vital role.  It enables precise categorization and proper prioritization of each request, incident, or problem, ensuring each is handled with optimal efficiency. At the same time, tracking and in-depth analytics furnshish the foundation for continual refinement and exemplary IT performance.

DeskDirector: The Backbone of Effective ITSM

DeskDirector stands ready to be your ally in acing the management of this triad. With its comprehensive feature set and intelligent automation capabilities, the platform is geared to facilitate the smooth handling of service requests, provide swift response and resolution to incidents, and conduct in-depth analysis to root out the underlying problems, preventing their recurrence. More than a tool; it can serve as an extension of your IT vision. 

To experience how DeskDiretor sets the stage for superior IT service management, schedule a demo today!

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