ITSM

Top 10 Acronyms: ITIL 4 Terms to Remember

August 15, 2019

Top 10 Acronyms: ITIL 4 Terms to Remember

Implementing ITIL practices can be a big experience for your organization, but the true test of understanding the longstanding best practice framework is the vast sea of acronyms to remember.

Three- and four-lettered gibberish can leave your mind reeling and take you back to the anxiety filled days of spelling bees and memorization tests. However, these terms are helpful to understand as an IT pro and easier remember once you get the basics.

In this blog, I’ll break down 10 common acronyms and terms in ITIL® 4 you may come across.

1. Change Advisory Board (CAB)

A change advisory board (CAB) is a board made up of representatives from important areas within an organization like IT, finance, and facilities, including technical staff and key decision makers. 

These members advise the Change Manager on the assessment, prioritization, and scheduling of changes within the IT environment.

2. Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

A business impact analysis (BIA) is an activity that identifies business functions and their dependencies. Usually delivered in the form of a report, this type of analysis is helpful in the service management world for developing a strategy in case certain business units experience disruption.

This type of analysis can also reveal vulnerabilities and areas of concern to help prevent problems and reduce risk.

3. Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A KPI is a measure of regular assessment used to indicate the performance of an IT process. KPIs are usually accompanied by an agreed-upon threshold of quality and performance standards an organization sets. 

Though performance indicators vary among organizations, industries, and IT infrastructures, there are KPIs to signify strategies, design, operations, and more. An example of a KPI in service management is Average Wait Time. 

KPIs are typically derived from what are called critical success factors (CSF).

4. Critical Success Factor (CSF)

Critical success factors (CSFs) are often used to denote an organization’s business strategy. In an IT service management (ITSM) context, there are a number of fairly general critical success factors that must be present for an ITSM implementation project to be successful.

Some examples of those are clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the project staff, developing a workforce with the necessary knowledge and skills required to be successful in their roles, and an understanding and management structure for different stakeholder perspectives.

For measuring the necessary knowledge and skills for employees, for example, this CSF is usually paired with a KPI for measuring progress. 

5. Service Level Agreement (SLA)

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is one of the most important ITIL terms to know and can be defined as an agreed-upon level of service between a service provider and a service requester.

SLAs identify what level of service has been agreed upon, what metrics should be used, and any penalties that may be imposed if the agreement is breached. 

Check out our other blog posts to learn more about SLAs and other important ITSM ITIL metrics.

6. Business Relationship Management (BRM)

Business relationship management (BRM) is an important ITIL practice that assesses the needs of customers to help provide the level of service required. 

When IT understands and closely aligns with the needs and goals of the business, the two operate much more seamlessly in tandem.

7. Service Configuration Management (SCM)

Service configuration management provides information about the configuration of services and the configuration items (CIs) that support them. This helps give leaders a clearer picture of an organization’s service lifecycle.

8. Service Value System (SVS)

In ITIL 4, the service value system (SVS) is an overarching concept that represents how components and activities within an organization work together to achieve value creation.

To create this value, the SVS within an organization as outlined by ITIL can be broken down into five key components: guiding principles, governance, service value chain, practices, and continual improvement.

9. Service Request Management (SRM)

Service request management (SRM) is a key component of an ITIL service catalog that enables service requests to be handled appropriately. Requests can come in many forms, whether it is a request for access, information, or even feedback.  

From submission and routing, to service request approvals, monitoring, and delivery, SRM enables leaders to properly handle requests and meet their quality of service standards.  

10. Request for Change (RFC)

A request for change (RFC) is documentation that is submitted prior to a change being implemented. This formal request outlines the details of the change itself, before the change process begins. 

This is not to be confused with a change record, which documents the lifecycle of a change that has already occurred.

While it’s good to understand the basics, creating a service management strategy that incorporates other key ITIL best practices is ideal when creating your company’s service management strategy.

To speak with a team of ITIL 4 certified ITSM pros (and see these concepts in action), request a demo of SolarWinds Service Desk today.

This post was originally published on December 13, 2016 and has been updated to reflect current ITIL practices


Nathan Riley is a Sales Director, ITSM at SolarWinds. He has nine years experience in the industry, and has had a front row seat for the evolution of service management as a platform for the entire organization. He helps organizations ranging from SMB to Fortune 500 bring customized service to employees. Nathan proudly served the United States Armed Forces in the United States Marine Corps.