Key ITIL Roles

ITIL broadly segregated the process-related and functional responsibilities to four distinct roles.

  1. Process Owner
  2. Process Manager
  3. Service Owner
  4. Process Practitioner

The defined roles are mainly within the service provider organization. A number of offshoots of these roles are mentioned throughout the ITIL books such as – change management process owner, incident manager and the problem manager.

Further, there are roles within the customer organization such as the end user which is a derivative of the process practitioner role.

Process Owner

The process owner as the role-name suggests, owns the process. In other words, he is the absolute authority and the decision maker anything pertaining to the process. Examples include change management process owner and capacity management process owner.

The process owner is accountable for sponsoring, designing and managing changes to the process and its associated metrics.

He has the final say in the strategy in the process.

Most importantly, the process owner has to ensure that the process does not stay stagnant and improves with maturity and time – thereby improving efficiency and effectiveness.

Also, he will be owning the activities to recruit the process manager and others who would be working as a part of the process.

Process Manager

In the hierarchy of a process organization, the process manager reports into the process owner. The main responsibility of the process manager is to ensure that the defined activities are followed to the tee.

He needs to work with the process owner to plan and coordinate all process activities.

The process manager is also accountable for monitoring and reporting on the process performance to the process owner.

Although the accountability of improving the process lies with the process owner, the majority of the inputs of improvements usually stems from the process manager and his team.

The process manager is the person who works on the ground, working with various technical, customer and vendor teams.

Capacity manager, change manager, and release manager are some examples of process managers.

Interesting Read: Which ITIL Process to Implement First


Video: Role of an Incident Manager

Service Owner

The service owner, as the name suggests owns the service (read the article explaining ITIL service). Examples of services include email service, storage service, and internet service.

Any changes that are brought into the service such as upgrading the solution, transforming the architecture or making major changes to the contracts have to be blessed by the service owner before any changes can take effect.

A service cuts across a number of processes, hence, he would be liaising with various process owners and process managers on a day to day basis.

The service owner is accountable for bringing improvements to the service and improving the metrics over time.

Process Practitioner

Anybody who works within the confines of a process is a process practitioner.

The process practitioner is expected to adhere to the process guidelines and contribute to the overall delivery of service – and hence create value for the business.

He must work very closely with other process practitioners, users and customers to ensure that the process cycle keeps running and is effective.

It is the process practitioner’s responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the data that is fed into the system.

He is also tasked with creating and updating records and maintaining artifacts.

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