ITIL® and ISO/IEC 20000, the international standard for service management, have enjoyed a long and mutually supportive relationship. ISO/IEC 20000 is currently being revised for the third time, with an increased focus on Service Integration (SIAM), governance and management across a supply chain, cloud services, the needs of very small organizations and benefits realization.
ISO/IEC 20000 specifies requirements and provides guidance for a service management system to control all aspects of the service lifecycle, including resources, contracts, policies, processes and the planning, design, transition, operation and improvement of services. This Service Management System (SMS) is designed to manage all these service capabilities in an integrated way and a key focus of the SMS is to deliver value and work effectively with a shared vision. The SMS is the engine of the car - the organization needs to decide where to drive and the engine gets the car where it needs to go.
While 20000-1 specifies the ‘what’ – the minimum set of capabilities needed for a functioning management system to support the full service lifecycle – ITIL provides valuable details about ‘how’ to support the implementation and ongoing management of the service management processes. There is great alignment between 20000 and ITIL and 20000 is, of course, referenced in the ITIL books. Many organizations seeking certification for ISO/IEC 20000-1 use the ITIL framework to support their SMS.
In December 2015, recognizing how 20000 and ITIL offer different but complementary support for organizations, ISO/IEC 20000-11 was released as part of the 20000 series. In Part 11, the requirements of 20000-1:2011 are mapped against ITIL 2011 so users can find where in ITIL to look to support the requirements of 20000-1 and to better understand differences between them.
So, following the release of Part 11, how can business use ISO/IEC 20000 and ITIL together to deliver business value?
Deciding to start the journey
The first step for most organizations is actually deciding to embark on the journey. Best practice approaches like ITIL give fantastic guidance for businesses but, in the case of ITIL, at 1,300 pages it can seem quite daunting at first glance, especially for smaller firms. To address this, businesses can start with ISO/IEC 20000, using it as a more concise view of what they need to focus on and how it fits together into a system. They can then use ITIL to understand important details about the service management processes, including workflows, roles and responsibilities and example metrics. These details can be used to build the SMS.
Once a business decides to take the first step, the next challenge is to define the destination. What services and capabilities do they need, what do they have in place today and what needs to be built or improved to achieve their objectives? By doing an assessment up front, organizations can understand the possibilities, the risks and opportunities and then decide where to prioritize their efforts.
Picking up passengers
Key to the success of ISO/IEC 20000 and ITIL is getting buy-in from the top of the organization.
At senior management level, stakeholders should have a clear understanding of the benefits and how they will help to deliver business value, whether that’s a demonstrable improvement to services and targets, reduced risk and cost, or improved agility, quality and customer satisfaction.
Having the organization’s directors serve on the service management programme board for example, and having the CEO, CIO or ICT Director as programme sponsors, ensures accountability and also encourages engagement from the wider business.
To maintain this buy-in organization-wide, it’s important to regularly inform staff about programme status and articulate the benefits for different groups, for instance: fewer crises, less stress and more time for innovation and proactive solutions rather than firefighting.
Staff should also be actively engaged in the design or improvement of the processes and interfaces they’ll being using. While it’s important not to give them a blank slate of options and achieve a balance between their input and the expertise of the project team, it’s critical to have them involved to ensure that they feel a sense of ownership and that processes and interfaces are specific to the needs and capabilities of the particular organization and its customers.
Again using our car analogy, employees and other parties participating in the activities of the management system make our engine run; without them we can’t go anywhere.
Keep driving in the right direction
Continual improvement is essential to success. We start our journey at a point in time and work on improving the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of our services; as we get better we are able to deliver more and better value. Both ITIL and 20000 have been developed to support a culture of continual improvement. Organizations must embed prioritized improvement into each and every aspect of the service management system: the processes, the services and functions. Improvement should always be prioritized against the organizational objectives and in alignment with policies; this is how we ensure that the car is always driving in the right direction.
It’s also important to keep the passengers engaged and to keep the journey interesting. In 2016, that is not difficult. Today, services pervade every aspect of our working and personal lives. Best practices for service management like ISO/IEC 20000 and ITIL are essential to getting us where we are trying to go.
See our ITIL section for more information.
To read more about the relationship between ISO/IEC 20000 and ITIL and the creation of ISO 20000-11, read our blog ISO/IEC 20000 and ITIL® – introducing Part 11.