ITIL Definition of terms is critical to understand IT Service Management basics and ITIL Foundation. In our previous ITIL Definitions article, we have explained ITIL definition of Function for IT Service Management. In this article, we will go over the ITIL definition of "process".

itil definition of process

ITIL Definitions #3: Process

In this post, we will be describing Process, characteristics of a process and process model respectively.

Process is a structured set of activities, designed to accomplish a specific objectives. If you remember our money withdrawal process example we have given in our previous "What is ITIL" post, there were structured activities as inserting card, entering password, initiating money withdrawal and getting money. Can you change the order of getting money and entering password? Of course no. Because withdrawal process should not allow an unauthorized user to continue next steps. That’s why process is structured and designed set of activities.

Actually a process takes one or more inputs, and turns them into defined outputs and may include any of the roles, responsibilities, tools and management controls required to reliably deliver the outputs.

A process can also define the policies, standards, guidelines, activities and work instructions.

Charachteristic Features of ITIL processes

There are four main characteristic features of processes.

First, a process should be “Measurable”. If you cannot measure, you cannot determine the current status, new target and improvement plan to provide better value to your customers. Managers want to measure cost, quality, duration and productivity of a process.

Second, a process should produce “Specific Results”. Processes takes defined inputs, performs specific set of activities and produce a specific output as result. These results of the processes must be individual and countable.

Third, a process should have “Customers”. Specific results of the process are actually for the use of customers or stakeholders. Customers of a process can be either internal or external. No matter whether it is an internal or external customer, processes must meet the expectations of the customers.

Fourth and last characteristic of processes is “Responsiveness to specific triggers”. Processes might be ongoing or repetitive. But they should be traceable to specific triggers.

itil definition of process

ITIL Process Model

Following figure depicts the process model of ITIL. As we described already, a process is initiated by defined triggers or inputs. For instance failure of a system can trigger a process.

itil definition of process

A Process includes process activities, metrics, roles, procedures, improvements and work instructions. Capabilities and resources of the organization enable the successful completion of the processes to produce desired outputs.

Processes should be documented and controlled as well. Outputs of the processes should be monitored and controlled to check whether desired outcomes are achieved as planned. Improvement steps must be considered and planned regularly by management.

In this article, we have seen the definitions and concepts about process and how ITIL approaches processes.


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itil definition of process