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 Feature
8 May 2009 | Dr Jenny Dugmore Blog
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Preparing for the Next Standards Meeting
This week Jenny is back from holiday and getting ready for the next international standards meeting...

I’ve been on holiday for a few days – a welcome break in the middle of a very busy time due to the preparations for the next international standards meeting.  With four documents up for ballot and one document being scoped for revision, it will be difficult for us to get through everything and as much as possible has to be done in advance.

I’ve also just dealt with a complex enquiry on ‘scoping for ISO/IEC 20000-1’.  Many organisations find it difficult to agree the scope of their service management or to define their services.  Most services are based on a sprawling complex network of multiple suppliers, many sorts of technology and multiple customers.  I know of no service provider that does not have at least three suppliers – but may perhaps not think of them as suppliers in the service management sense. 

Even an in-house service provider may have groups of customers with such different business needs that they are more like separate and multiple customer groups, each with separate agreements.  Many service providers find themselves with interfaces to a customer that also acts as a supplier. Then of course there are supply chains where a supplier or customer has already achieved ISO/IEC 20000-1 – how does this affect the ability of the service provider to do the same?

Just agreeing the scope of service management for the service management plan is difficult, but it is also one of the biggest benefits from implementing ISO/IEC 20000-1. You have to do this basic thinking but then any plans are on a much better foundation than they might be otherwise.

By chance I dealt with this particular enquiry on scoping and applicability the day before we get the results from the final ballot on Part 3.  Part 3 (more correctly ISO/IEC TR 20000-3) includes guidance on scoping, applicability and demonstration of conformance for service providers aiming to meet the requirements of ISO/IEC 20000-1. It’s also been designed for service providers who are just planning service improvements and intending to use ISO/IEC 20000 as a business goal, stopping short of formal third party audit and certification.  ISO/IEC TR 20000-3 is based on practical examples of scoping and scope statements for service providers, irrespective of whether they have any experience with other management system standards.  I expect it to be a very welcome document and I hope we can publish it this later this year. Until it’s published no doubt I’ll still get enquiries on this subject. 

And this particular enquiry?  It was centred on the applicability of Part 1 to ‘Applications Management’.  It still seems to be a very common view that in some way ISO/IEC 20000-1 ‘doesn’t apply to Applications Management’, or can apply only if the scoping is very complicated.  A very common view but not one based on reality.  Also there is no need to have “ifs and buts” about what is in a contract between the service provider and their customer, nor can a contract be used to avoid some of the requirements. There does not even need to be a contract at all. But it does matter what is in the service level agreement and the contents of the agreements must be important to the customer – it should not be in place so that it just helps the service provider’s aspiration to achieve Part 1.

What does matter far more is that the service provider must be able to demonstrate that they have governance of the processes used to deliver the service.  If they can, it does not matter – within reason – if some of the day to day activities are be done by another organisation.  For example, does the service provider have the final decision on the design of the processes, do they control the decisions on how processes are improved?  This is far more significant than if the service is ‘Applications Management’ is a type of service that ISO/IEC 20000-1 applies to.

Looking to the future again, we’re now close to the end date for the ISO survey on the future of service management standards .  I did the initial analysis of the results at the end of April but I was asked to extend it to allow more people to contribute as more people heard about it.  The interim results look very interesting – and there are likely to be a few surprises. Many thanks to those that have contributed already – you have made a difference!  A summary of the survey results will be available to anyone who does the survey – as long as they provide an email address for this.  The survey will be anonymous and the contact details will be deleted as soon as the results have been sent out.  The contact details will definitely not end up on a mailing list.  So if you have not completed the survey and are interested in service management standards, methods or frameworks, please do the survey before it’s too late. The survey must end on 12th May, so that the results will be ready for the ISO meeting. 

Any feedback and comments are always welcome!


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