ITSM Glossary of Terms

Visit the ITSM glossary for the definition, history, and uses of key industry terms, including standard operating procedures (SOP), risk management, and more.

Posts about ITSM:

Service Desk

Sep 24, 2022 4:29:44 AM

What is a Service Desk? 

A service desk is a single point of contact where employees and customers who use software can start the process of getting prompt help for a question or issue.  Service desks handle both incidents and general service requests, and effective service desks abide by IT service management (ITSM) best practices and often use the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework. 

Service desks usually include several components, such as: 

  • Ticketing system  
  • Knowledge Base 
  • Incident management 
  • Service catalog 
  • Service-level agreements (SLA) 

Service Request

Sep 24, 2022 4:27:16 AM

What is a Service Request? 

A service request is an inquiry made by a software user (such as a tech, vendor, or customer) that initiates some sort of service action. The service requested can vary, from requesting a password reset to employees requesting time off and beyond. The services are usually detailed in a service catalog and can’t be accessed by a regular user without first submitting a request. 

Efficient IT teams have standardized procedures and automation in place to deal with service requests, most of which occur repeatedly. Service request management generally consists of: 

  • Submission: a user submits the request 
  • Assessment: the request recipient determines the requests urgency and who should handle it 
  • Fulfillment: the appropriate department sets the plan, assignments, and timeline to fulfill the request 
  • Completion: the team completes the request and closes it out 
  • Follow up: many departments will then ask the user who submitted the request for feedback 

Response Time

Sep 24, 2022 4:23:25 AM

What is Response Time? 

Response time refers to how long it takes for a tech or server to respond to a client’s ticket request or inquiry. Response time is a widely tracked KPI for MSPs and its two most emphasized varieties are: 

  • First response time (FRT): How long does it take for an MSP to first respond to client correspondence? 
  • Average response time: What’s the average time it takes to respond to any client correspondence? 

To calculate average response time, follow this formula: 

Total time taken to respond during X period  


# of replies sent during X period 

The average response time in the IT industry is about 3-5 hours. 

Knowledge Base

Sep 24, 2022 4:20:30 AM

What is a Knowledge Base? 

A knowledge base in an online resource with information about a certain product or software. In the IT realm, knowledge bases usually include FAQs, step-by-step instructions, service recipes, troubleshooting guides, and other things that users might want to know. 

The first real iteration of the knowledge base was created in the late 1980s, but in the 1990s, the knowledge base as its known today emerged when Scott Hutton “created a full-text searchable, world-accessible Gopher server that revolutionized the [knowledge base].” At that stage, knowledge bases also became a resource for clients, not just internal techs. 

Self-service portal

Sep 24, 2022 4:17:05 AM

What is a Self-Service Portal? 

A self-service portal is an online system where software or website users can find answers and resources to address questions they might have. A self-service portal essentially cuts out the need for a live tech to respond to every question and gives users the chance to find the information they’re looking for on their own. 

Of course, self-service can’t cover everything. If a user experiences a major service outage or unique issue, they likely won’t be able to solve it on their own and would need to submit a ticket and contact a tech. But for many frequently asked questions and common issues, a self-service portal is incredibly useful. 

The concept of “self-service” became popular in the early 1900s, when Clarence Saunders founded Piggly Wiggly, the first ever “self-service store.” At the store, shoppers would pick up their baskets and walk around selecting their groceries, rather than rely on a clerk to deliver that service. The concept of giving consumers independence has only blossomed from there, with ATMs, self-checkout, and website self-service portals becoming ubiquitous over the last decades. 

Usage & Analytics

Sep 24, 2022 4:13:09 AM

What are Usage & Analytics? 

Usage and analytics is the process of analyzing how users interact with a product. In contrast to user surveys and feedback, usage and analytics demonstrate real user behavior, so teams can make data-driven improvements and decisions regarding their product or solution. 

Usage and analytics can showcase, among many other things: 

  • Which software features are most popular amongst users 
  • Which features are least popular 
  • Where users are spending most of their time 
  • What a typical user workflow looks like 
  • The progress and extent of user adoption and implementations 


Ticket Briefing

Sep 24, 2022 4:08:11 AM

What is Ticket Briefing? 

Ticket briefing is the way to give someone a rundown of the important details of a service ticket. Many ITSM solutions will automatically add briefing notes when a ticket is created so that wherever the ticket ends up, those dealing with it are well-informed on the relevant information in a concise way. 

The term “briefing” became popularized during the 20th century to refer to a concise summary. Its partner, “debrief,” is synonymous with questions and interrogation, and was especially popular during World War II when aviation pilots were q after a missions. 

Ticket Priority

Sep 24, 2022 4:05:46 AM

What is Ticket Priority? 

Ticket priority is the assigned order by which techs should process service tickets. Priority is often determined by each ticket’s service-level agreement (SLA). Typically, priority levels include: 

  • Low priority 
  • Medium priority 
  • High priority 
  • Urgent priority 

Some issues, like a major service outage, are business-critical and can automatically be pushed to the top of the priority list. Others, like a general question about a product, for example, are usually considered a lower priority. In addition to SLAs, prioritization can be determined by a number of things, including how critical an issue is, how long a user has been waiting to receive a resolution, how high-profile a client is, and more. 

Round Robin Dispatch

Sep 24, 2022 4:02:25 AM

What is a Round Robin Dispatch? 

A round robin dispatch is a way to distribute service tickets across servers or techs so that the burden of resolving tickets is evenly distributed. When round robin dispatching is done automatically, an algorithm assigns tickets without priority to great a system that is simple and equal. Usually, if a task is not completed within a certain timeframe, the algorithm will pass it on to the next person, thus keeping things moving efficiently. 

The term “round robin” emerged in the 16th century, but the scheduling algorithm became popular in the athletics realm to refer to sports competitions where every participant would play every other participant so that games were fairly and evenly distributed. The general term now applies to any situation where each person takes on an equal share in turn. 

Some ITSM tools allow you to create a service recipe for round-robin dispatching. If a ticket isn’t assigned, after a certain amount of time, it will automatically get routed to a team of techs and specifically bypass the techs who were just assigned new tickets. 

Dynamic Content

Aug 25, 2022 2:19:24 AM

What is Dynamic Content? 

Dynamic content, also known as smart content, is content that displays differently based on a user’s actions or preferences. For example, if a website has a landing page with dynamic content that directs to a webinar, users from the West Coast of the United States might see the date and time of the webinar in their time zone while users in New Zealand will see their time zone. 

Dynamic content can change based on a variety of criteria, including: 

  • Lifecycle stage 
  • Geographical location 
  • Pages visited 
  • Buyer persona