ITIL Dictionary of Terms

A - Z Dictionary of terms for ITIL. This is the official Dictionary of terms for ITIL, which is a set of practices for IT Service Management. ITIL® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited. View the Agile Dictionary. Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) Dictionary. Project Office Dictionary (P30). Full PRINCE2 glossary of terms. See also Risk Management Dictionary and Project Management Dictionary.

A - acceptance to availability plan | B - back-out to business unit | C - call to customer-facing service | D - dashboard to driver | E - early life support (ELS) to external service provider | F - facilities management to functional escalation | G - H - gap analysis to hot standby | I - identity to ITIL | J - K - job description to known error record | L - lifecycle to live environment | M - maintainability to monitoring | N - near-shore to notional charging | O - objective to overhead | P - pain value analysis to PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) | Q - qualification to quick win | R - RACI to running costs | S - Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) to system management | T - tactical to Type III service provider | U - underpinning contract (UC) to utility | V - validation to vulnerability | W - warm standby to workload

R - RACI to running costs


(ITIL Service Design) A model used to help define roles and responsibilities. RACI stands for responsible, accountable, consulted and informed. Download a free RACI template.

A how to guide to using RACI.

reactive monitoring

(ITIL Service Operation) Monitoring that takes place in response to an event. For example, submitting a batch job when the previous job completes, or logging an incident when an error occurs. See also proactive monitoring.

real charging

(ITIL Service Strategy) A charging policy where actual money is transferred from the customer to the IT service provider in payment for the delivery of IT services. See also notional charging.

reciprocal arrangement

(ITIL Service Design) A recovery option. An agreement between two organizations to share resources in an emergency – for example, high-speed printing facilities or computer room space.


A document containing the results or other output from a process or activity. Records are evidence of the fact that an activity took place and may be paper or electronic – for example, an audit report, an incident record or the minutes of a meeting.


(ITIL Service Design) (ITIL Service Operation) Returning a configuration item or an IT service to a working state. Recovery of an IT service often includes recovering data to a known consistent state. After recovery, further steps may be needed before the IT service can be made available to the users (restoration).

recovery option

(ITIL Service Design) A strategy for responding to an interruption to service. Commonly used strategies are manual workaround, reciprocal arrangement, gradual recovery, intermediate recovery, fast recovery, and immediate recovery. Recovery options may make use of dedicated facilities or third-party facilities shared by multiple businesses.

recovery point objective (RPO)

(ITIL Service Design) (ITIL Service Operation) The maximum amount of data that may be lost when service is restored after an interruption. The recovery point objective is expressed as a length of time before the failure. For example, a recovery point objective of one day may be supported by daily backups, and up to 24 hours of data may be lost. Recovery point objectives for each IT service should be negotiated, agreed and documented, and used as requirements for service design and IT service continuity plans.

recovery time objective (RTO)

(ITIL Service Design) (ITIL Service Operation) The maximum time allowed for the recovery of an IT service following an interruption. The service level to be provided may be less than normal service level targets. Recovery time objectives for each IT service should be negotiated, agreed and documented. See also business impact analysis.


(ITIL Service Design) Use of one or more additional configuration items to provide fault tolerance. The term also has a generic meaning of obsolescence, or no longer needed.


A connection or interaction between two people or things. In business relationship management, it is the interaction between the IT service provider and the business. In service asset and configuration management, it is a link between two configuration items that identifies a dependency or connection between them. For example, applications may be linked to the servers they run on, and IT services have many links to all the configuration items that contribute to that IT service.

relationship processes

The ISO/IEC 20000 process group that includes business relationship management and supplier management.


(ITIL Service Transition) One or more changes to an IT service that are built, tested and deployed together. A single release may include changes to hardware, software, documentation, processes and other components.

release and deployment management

(ITIL Service Transition) The process responsible for planning, scheduling and controlling the build, test and deployment of releases, and for delivering new functionality required by the business while protecting the integrity of existing services.

release identification

(ITIL Service Transition) A naming convention used to uniquely identify a release. The release identification typically includes a reference to the configuration item and a version number – for example, Microsoft Office 2010 SR2.

release management

release package

(ITIL Service Transition) A set of configuration items that will be built, tested and deployed together as a single release. Each release package will usually include one or more release units.

release record

(ITIL Service Transition) A record that defines the content of a release. A release record has relationships with all configuration items that are affected by the release. Release records may be in the configuration management system or elsewhere in the service knowledge management system.

release unit

(ITIL Service Transition) Components of an IT service that are normally released together. A release unit typically includes sufficient components to perform a useful function. For example, one release unit could be a desktop PC, including hardware, software, licenses, documentation etc. A different release unit may be the complete payroll application, including IT operations procedures and user training.

release window


(ITIL Continual Service Improvement) (ITIL Service Design ) A measure of how long an IT service or other configuration item can perform its agreed function without interruption. Usually measured as MTBF or MTBSI. The term can also be used to state how likely it is that a process, function etc. will deliver its required outputs. See also availability.


(ITIL Service Transition) Actions taken to recover after a failed change or release. Remediation may include back-out, invocation of service continuity plans, or other actions designed to enable the business process to continue.


(ITIL Service Operation) The replacement or correction of a failed configuration item.

request for change (RFC)

(ITIL Service Transition) A formal proposal for a change to be made. It includes details of the proposed change, and may be recorded on paper or electronically. The term is often misused to mean a change record, or the change itself.

request fulfillment

(ITIL Service Operation) The process responsible for managing the lifecycle of all service requests.

request model

(ITIL Service Operation) A repeatable way of dealing with a particular category of service request. A request model defines specific agreed steps that will be followed for a service request of this category. Request models may be very simple, with no requirement for authorization (e.g. password reset), or may be more complex with many steps that require authorization (e.g. provision of an existing IT service). See also request fulfillment.


(ITIL Service Design) A formal statement of what is needed – for example, a service level requirement, a project requirement or the required deliverables for a process. See also statement of requirements.

Download a Requirements Management Plan

Download a Requirements Traceability Matrix


(ITIL Service Design) The ability of an IT service or other configuration item to resist failure or to recover in a timely manner following a failure. For example, an armored cable will resist failure when put under stress. See also fault tolerance.


(ITIL Service Operation) Action taken to repair the root cause of an incident or problem, or to implement a workaround. In ISO/IEC 20000, resolution processes is the process group that includes incident and problem management.

resolution processes

The ISO/IEC 20000 process group that includes incident and problem management.


(ITIL Service Strategy) A generic term that includes IT infrastructure, people, money or anything else that might help to deliver an IT service. resources are considered to be assets of an organization. See also capability; service asset.

response time

A measure of the time taken to complete an operation or transaction. Used in capacity management as a measure of IT infrastructure performance, and in incident management as a measure of the time taken to answer the phone, or to start diagnosis.


A measurement of the time taken to respond to something. This could be response time of a transaction, or the speed with which an IT service provider responds to an incident or request for change etc.

restoration of service

See restore.


(ITIL Service Operation) Taking action to return an IT service to the users after repair and recovery from an incident. This is the primary objective of incident management.


(ITIL Service Transition) Permanent removal of an IT service, or other configuration item, from the live environment. Being retired is a stage in the lifecycle of many configuration items.

return on assets (ROA)

(ITIL Service Strategy) A measurement of the profitability of a business unit or organization. Return on assets is calculated by dividing the annual net income by the total value of assets. See also return on investment.

return on investment (ROI)

(ITIL Continual Service Improvement) (ITIL Service Strategy) A measurement of the expected benefit of an investment. In the simplest sense, it is the net profit of an investment divided by the net worth of the assets invested. See also net present value; value on investment.

Read more on Return on Investment (ROI)

return to normal

(ITIL Service Design) The phase of an IT service continuity plan during which full normal operations are resumed. For example, if an alternative data center has been in use, then this phase will bring the primary data center back into operation, and restore the ability to invoke IT service continuity plans again.


An evaluation of a change, problem, process, project etc. Reviews are typically carried out at predefined points in the lifecycle, and especially after closure. The purpose of a review is to ensure that all deliverables have been provided, and to identify opportunities for improvement. See also change evaluation; post- implementation review.


(ITIL Service Operation) Entitlements, or permissions, granted to a user or role – for example, the right to modify particular data, or to authorize a change.


A possible event that could cause harm or loss, or affect the ability to achieve objectives. A risk is measured by the probability of a threat, the vulnerability of the asset to that threat, and the impact it would have if it occurred. Risk can also be defined as uncertainty of outcome, and can be used in the context of measuring the probability of positive outcomes as well as negative outcomes.

risk assessment

The initial steps of risk management: analyzing the value of assets to the business, identifying threats to those assets, and evaluating how vulnerable each asset is to those threats. Risk assessment can be quantitative (based on numerical data) or qualitative.

risk management

The process responsible for identifying, assessing and controlling risks. Risk management is also sometimes used to refer to the second part of the overall process after risks have been identified and assessed, as in 'risk assessment and management'. This process is not described in detail within the core ITIL publications. See also risk assessment.


A set of responsibilities, activities and authorities assigned to a person or team. A role is defined in a process or function. One person or team may have multiple roles – for example, the roles of configuration manager and change manager may be carried out by a single person. Role is also used to describe the purpose of something or what it is used for.

root cause

(ITIL Service Operation) The underlying or original cause of an incident or problem.

root cause analysis (RCA)

(ITIL Service Operation) An activity that identifies the root cause of an incident or problem. Root cause analysis typically concentrates on IT infrastructure failures. See also service failure analysis.

running costs

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