ITIL Foundation: Difference between ITIL Functions and Processes

ITIL is layered on the concept of processes and functions. You need to understand the concept, similarities and the differences between the two to become ITIL foundation certified.

Functions are like the specialized teams you have in organizations. To give a few examples:

  • Java team
  • Network team
  • Unix team
  • Database team

These specialist teams are well versed in their area of concentration. They perform specialized tasks.

ITIL definition of a function goes something like this – units of organizations specialized to perform certain types of work and are responsible for specific outcomes.

Processes are like your projects. A process has a specific goal that it needs to achieve, just like your project teams. In a project team, you will have people with different skills in it. Likewise, in a process too, you will have different specialist teams carrying out activities. So, in essence, the people who are a part of functions, carry out process activities.

ITIL definition of a process – A process is measurable, performance-driven, responds to specific triggers and delivers specific results to customers or stakeholders.

I am giving you a brief blurb on functions and processes. For a detailed understanding, read my earlier post on ITIL functions and processes where the two are explained in detail with examples.

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stephen September 4, 2015 at 5:45 AM

Hi, I’ve been reading your blogs and the information is fantastic. I’m starting my first ITSM implementation and get the fact of keeping requests and incidents separate. The thing I struggle with is the user input…
Using a Service Management tool, would you provide two forms of input and teach users when to select request v incident..? Or provide one input and have the Service Desk classify it..?
ITIL groups Service Fulfillment with Incident Management and I’ve seen companies treat this whereby everything is an incident from the outset.
Your knowledgeable advice would be greatly appreciated

Abhinav Kaiser September 4, 2015 at 2:45 PM


Congratulations on your ITSM implementation assignment.

Classification between incidents and service requests are simple. It requires some pre-requisites though.

If something is broken, which is the definition of an incident – then it would be categorized as an incident.

For service requests, you need to have a list of requests that users can choose from. Anything they choose from the list will go in as a request. For example, installation of a printer or request for a new laptop.

Wish you all the best in your implementation project.


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