Why do we need the ISO/IEC 20000 standard?

Getting your ISO 20000 certification is all about showing (with documented evidence) that you have control over the processes, policies and procedures to deliver services as per the agreed needs and demands of your customers.

Do not confuse this with your professional development certification – ISO certification is for your business, or at least a contained portion of your business determined by the scope of the project. (This is important, more about that later).

ITSM – Implementing IT Service Management, or the management of your IT Services has been tricky for many organisations in the past few decades.

There are so many different frameworks and methodologies – there is DevOps, Cobit, Lean IT , Microsoft Operations Framework and of course ITIL.

What is IT Service Management?

IT Service Management is the management of all processes that cooperate to ensure the quality of live services, according to the levels of service agreed with the customer.

It addresses the initiation, design, organization, control, provision, support and improvement of IT services, tailored to the needs of the customer organization.

The term IT Service Management (ITSM) is used in many ways by different management frameworks and organizations seeking governance and increased maturity of their IT organization.

Standard elements for most definitions of ITSM include:

  • Description of the processes required to deliver and support IT Services for customers
  • The purpose primarily being to deliver and support the products or technology needed by the business to meet key organizational objectives or goals
  • Definition of roles and responsibilities for the people involved including IT staff, customers, and other stakeholders • The management of external suppliers (partners) involved in the delivery and support of the technology and products being delivered and supported by IT. The combination of these elements provides the capabilities required for an IT organization to deliver and support quality IT Services that meet specific business needs and requirements. IT Service Management gives the following benefits to the customer:
  • Provision of IT services becomes more customer-focused and the relationship between the service provider and the customer is improved through agreements about service quality.
  • The services are better described in customer language and in more appropriate detail.
  • The availability, reliability, cost, and other quality aspects of the service are better managed.
  • Communication with the IT organization is improved by agreeing on points of contact.

What is a Service?

Means of delivering value for the customer by facilitating outcomes the customer wants to achieve

It is important to note that a service is generally intangible.

The term service as used in the standards document means the service or services in the scope of the Service Management System (SMS for short) .

What is a Process?

A process is a set of interrelated or interacting activities that use inputs to deliver an intended result

The construction of a process is rather simplistic and involves detailed documentation of the following components:

  • Inputs – what the process must have in order to begin, such as information, tools, and triggers.
  • Triggers – an event that invokes the process or an activity within the process.
  • Outputs – what the process must deliver in order to achieve the desired outcomes. Outputs are always tangible.
  • Activities – the process steps necessary to transform the inputs into outputs. • Roles – the people, systems, or tools used to execute the process.

Words are important in the ISO/IEC 20,000 standard – especially the words SHALL vs. SHOULD

Part 1 = system requirements

The current edition was  of ISO 20000:1 was published in 2018 (which means that the 2011 version has been withdrawn)

The requirements specified in this document include the planning, design, transition, delivery and improvement of services to meet the service requirements and deliver value.

Part 2 = Guidance on application and implementation (should statements) – published in 2019. It’s all about how to interpret and implement the standard.

First things first… when talking about standards, we need to talk about SCOPE. Listen to the video on the description of the scope in the standard and why this is so important.


Service Management SystemSome questions to ask when discussing ISO 20000 internally

  • How does a software provider ensure that users understand how to use systems?
  • Which interfaces exist between systems?
  • How robust are the processes in place to identify and make efficiency improvements?
  • Have policies, procedures and processes been revised or developed to support the new way of work?

** These questions appear in the ISO20000 Self Assessment Toolkit

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