As the project editor of ISO/IEC 20000-1, I spoke on day one of the 2018 Annual itSMF UK Conference (ITSM18) about why the standard has recently been updated and what has changed. And I’m pleased that many delegates spoke to me after the session with positive comments about the new top-down and more strategic approach.

I then spent the rest of the conference looking and listening through an ISO/IEC 20000 lens to see if everything I heard about the latest views on service management would fit with the revised standard. After all, there were problems for the standard if they didn’t! However, I’m pleased to say that after an excellent two days of presentations, I found nothing that wouldn’t fit with the standard.

A Look Back at the Sessions

AXELOS were not yet giving away much detail about ITIL 4 but they did say it was an evolution in the same way that the revised standard of ISO/IEC 20000 is an evolution too. One message stood out for me in particular from the session they delivered: ‘Value is created, not delivered. Customer interaction creates the value’. What a powerful message and one that fits perfectly with the new emphasis on value in ISO/IEC 20000-1.

The Great Relevance Debate on day two had some good quotes too such as one heard from a client ‘I bought ITIL and it didn’t work’, which would be just the same thing to hear for a standard too. The ‘adopt and adapt’ message is still applicable to the use of the many methods/frameworks, architectures, and standards for service management with many of them now being used in conjunction with each other. Unfortunately however, many are still missing this point. Another relevant discussion point was that service management is not just in the IT department but goes beyond this – the same message as we give for ISO/IEC 20000. Again, there was an emphasis on value and outcomes as there is in ISO/IEC 20000-1.

Karen Ferris gave an excellent talk on organisational change which was a theme seen throughout the conference. This had valuable messages about the need for change resilience and how leadership is key. ISO/IEC 20000-1 has a whole clause on leadership and management commitment. Organisations seeking to embed standards need to consider organizational change to make the benefits sustainable.

Claudia Pastori and Rosario Perconella provided a good case study from the European Central Bank about Service Level Agreement (SLA) reviews for the Millenial generation who are seen as flexible and adaptable – but demanding. How inspirational to see a new approach of stand-up events using dashboards showing up to date information which encourages higher participation. And yes, it can fit with ISO/IEC 20000.

Steve Leach and Claire Agutter bought VeriSM to life with a case study of its use for a start-up cloud based-organisation. It demonstrated how the VeriSM management mesh can be embedded in all areas of the organisation. Steve also mentioned that his business is considering certification in the future to ISO/IEC 27001 and ISO/IEC 20000-1. It sounded close to ready for 20000 to me.

David D’Agostino and Tony Price talked about experience level agreements (XLAs) focusing on customer goals. They emphasised how traditional SLAs often confuse internally focused metrics with KPIs. ISO/IEC 20000-1 uses the term SLA but does say in the introduction that the terms can be changed to suit the organisation – so XLAs would work.

Martin Huddleston talked about the need to keep service management and information security functions together on the basis that we do not ‘deliver security’ but it is part of service management. There was some frightening information about cyber attacks, the different motivations for attacks, and the need for threat intelligence with risks costed so that the board will understand them. ISO/IEC 20000 includes information security management requirements firmly embedded with the rest of the service management.

Last, but by no means least, Simone Jo Moore talked about machine humanity, how Artificial Intelligence (AI) providers are trying to build some emotional intelligence into AI and when it is good to combine AI with the soft skills of real humans. One excellent quote was ‘Systems make it possible but people make it happen. We cannot outsource our responsibilities to machines’. Simone encouraged everyone to ‘work backwards from the customer need and outcome and not forwards from service management’. A message I think we can all take away.

In Summary

It was nice for me to see that the new edition of ISO/IEC 20000-1 fits (as we worked for it to do) with where the industry is today – and I genuinely enjoyed the variety of presentations on offer at ITSM18.

Finally, if this blog has piqued your interested ISO/IEC 20000-1 you may be interested in attending one of the upcoming Masterclasses that I’m running with itSMF UK to introduce people to the revised standard. Please be aware that spaces are limited, so don’t delay in booking – just £295+VAT for members.

Management Consultant/Director at Service20000

Lynda is an independent consultant and trainer, and is the project editor for ISO/IEC 20000-1. She chairs the BSI committee for service management and sits on various ISO/IEC committees representing the UK. She is also one of the first people in the world to hold the ITIL Master qualification.