This article is a guest post and has been contributed by Drago Topalovic, ITIL & ISO20000 expert.
The first thing to consider when implementing best practices and standards in service management is motive.
Why Should We Do It?
When you provide IT services, you have to be the BEST you can. In other IT areas like development, infrastructure, and business system deployment, you can perform slightly under par and still add perceivable value to a customer’s business. In service management, your good performance is usually taken for granted, and every error is highly visible. Service downtimes adversely impact a customer’s business, and SLA breaches are penalized.
Every resource and every configuration item (CI) has to be utilized efficiently. Business processes and functions have to be organized with defined roles, responsibilities, and action sequences. Ambiguities and a lack of definitions and organization promptly lead to user dissatisfaction. So, IT service organizations should take any help they can get.
Is ITIL Enough?
ITIL is abundant with best practices, describing life as it should and could be in IT service management. You have all the options laid out in front of you – the sky is the limit. Like living in a big city, you can go to theatres, fancy clubs, and whatnot. But, do you? Living with ITIL alone tends to move you to roads more travelled, and to neglect service management components you don’t feel comfortable with. Knowing your ITIL is good; you can competently implement all the interesting processes and functions, and safely ignore the other ones, knowing that you can turn to them when the time comes.
It differs from one type of service provider to the other, but typical evaded processes in IT are financial management, supplier and customer management, and Documentation management.
For some insight on ITIL benefits, please have a look at the article Why ITIL?.
When you live with ITIL long enough, whether you are a managed services company or internal IT in a small/midsize/large company, you start to realize a few downsides of doing ITIL alone:
- ITIL certification is personal, and as people come and go, you start to wish for a way to keep your organization’s intellectual property more anchored, instead of being strongly affected by the fluctuation of your staff.
- With all the options of best practices, it is hard to get the firm management commitment to what really has to be done, and without it, you are on a slippery slope. There are always more urgent things to attend to.
- ITIL 2011 addresses more processes and functions then before, and implementing all of them seems like mission impossible.
- It is really difficult to say when enough is enough.
Once you have improved those processes that cause you the most pain, you may realize that your focus shifts to things you didn’t consider important at first. For example, you implement Incident and Change management, and it suddenly becomes obvious to you that your Configuration management lacks the power to support these processes. That’s a good sign that your organization is growing. And, it’s usually a sign that you should start considering ISO/IEC 20000.
ISO20000 – An Opportunity to Grow
ISO/IEC 20000 provides a very strict set of requirements for implementation. The scope can prove to be very demanding for most of the growing IT service companies in the beginning. But, as you mature, you start to consider the advantages of a service management system that takes care of what SHALL be done in order to make you a competent IT service management organization, as opposed to what could or should be done.
At some point, this set of opportunities will start to feel more appealing to an organization.
ISO 20000 Benefits
By implementing ISO/IEC20000, the organization benefits from the following:
- Integrated Service Management System (SMS) supporting the vital service management functions.
- Organization focuses on all key processes. Measurements and control of integrated SMS brings new perspectives and ideas about organization’s service management business. Since all 16 processes are implemented, combined results from say, Budgeting and accounting with Capacity management will give you the better idea on which customers are more valuable to you.
- Better alignment of IT services and the business it supports. Adopting the common language and the knowledge about processes usually helps in building trust and confidence of customers.
- Better reputation on the market. Having an ISO20000 certificate is still not a very common thing; it proves you are serious about your business.
- ISO/IEC 20000 certificate stays with the company, not individuals. The SMS helps to keep knowledge about service management business within the company, as its intellectual property.
- Roles, responsibilities, and ownership of all processes remove bottlenecks and ambiguities in service management domain.
- By defining key processes and agreeing about them internally, ISO20000 helps to overcome natural barriers between organizational units. For example, Sales is forced to cooperate more tightly with internal IT in order to offer more cost-effective services to external customers.
- Vertical communication in the organization is usually greatly enhanced. Management is involved in the process from the beginning, and the feedback they receive regularly enables better quality of tactical and strategic decisions.
I am fully aware that the above benefits are primarily aligned with an IT management perspective. These are the pains immediately recognized by the IT members of the community. So, I intend to provide a separate post where they will be properly addressed from a business point of view. I would love to see some of the visitors’ comments regarding this.
The certification process for ISO/IEC 20000 is not an easy one. It’s a very demanding project, requiring a lot of resources. That is one of the major reasons it is not a common certificate. On the other hand, this makes it even more appreciated on the market.
If you are an experienced IT organization with good internal knowledge of key ITIL processes, the above-mentioned benefits should be inspiring to consider ISO20000. From my experience, it looks harder than it is. Just take the first step.
Drago is an IT Business Consultant oriented to Service Management and Customer Relationship Management, project management in SW development.
Specialties: ITIL Expert certificate, Implementation of service management tools, methodologies and processes. Preparation and implementation of ISO/IEC 20000.
You can follow Drago on Twitter here