The more I think about it the more convinced I become that the way ITIL and COBIT and ISO20000 structure incident and request fails the basic test of being customer-focused or business-aligned.
From an inward-looking IT-absorbed perspective an incident looks very different to an request. From a user's point of view, they see no difference between "I need a new laptop", "My new laptop hasn't arrived yet", "I can't use this new laptop", "My laptop isn't working" and "I've lost my laptop".
We are mentally stuck on this separation of incident from everything else because within IT it looks different. It's time we pulled our heads out and looked from over the business side.
The word I like is "Response": we need to manage a response to a user contact. In fact I'll broaden that further and say we need to manage a response to something that needs responding to. It might be a user request, it might be a notification that a service level is not being met, it might be a failed IT component. The initiation comes from users, from event monitoring, from IT staff, from the payroll system... from multiple sources.
There are multiple categories of response. Each category has slightly different procedure for handling it. But we use the same overall process (create, match, categorise, prioritise, escalate, track, resolve, close...), the same policies, the same tools, the same metrics, to support the same services and serve the same customers.
Sure you would have a specialised Incident Resolution process (sub-process?), but that is as internal a process as Problem Resolution, not customer facing: it is about restoring the service. Sure you would have an Incident Manager, but they are answerable to a Response Manager and the primary discipline is Response Management. The job of the Service Desk is handling all responses to users. The two key SLTs for an SLA are availability (technology) and responsiveness (people/process). This silo-ing into incident, request and event is IT-centric and historical.