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Assessment models and tools

Introduction

Assessments help a service provider to establish a baseline and quantified improvements to be compared to the baseline. Assessment models and tools can help you to perform assessments, plan improvements track progress and report performance.  The benefits are the ability to perform assessments using a consistent approach with a comparison to best practices and standards.  The outputs can be used to prioritise opportunities for continual improvement in a cost-effective and efficient way.


Best practice maturity and capability models can be used to assess and evaluate the extent to which processes are implemented for that organizational unit.  A service provider can quickly identify their strengths and weaknesses, in comparison with best practices. This provides input to a plan for improving the service, and will ensure that resources are allocated for improvements to those areas that will deliver the most improvement in service quality.


Maturity models can be found in ITIL®, CMMI, COBIT and the ISO standard 15504. They are based on assessing the performance of an organization by specifying capabilities across 5 stages of maturity.  

Compliance tools

ISO/IEC 20000-1 defines the minimum set of requirements for a service provider to demonstrate that it has adopted best practice service management. The scope covers planning, design, transition, delivery of services and continual improvement. An assessor or auditor can determine whether specific requirements are already being achieved and where there are gaps.  
The ISO/IEC 20000-1 requirements are compulsory for a compliance and certification audit. Many organizations can and have achieved these requirements in two or three years, if they are starting with nothing - for example, no processes and no measurements. Some organizations will have started to implement best practices according to ISO/IEC 20000 and a benchmark comparison will help them to see how much further there is to go on their two to three year journey to fulfil the requirements in ISO/IEC 20000-1. This is incredibly useful when planning organizational change and transformation.
Many organizations also develop their own compliance tools that they use to assess compliance against their own processes and procedures.

Process capability model

The ISO/IEC 15504 series of standards sets out the requirements for performing a process assessment. The process capability model can be used for all processes in a business. Adopting the standard helps to ensure that the assessment output is consistent and provides evidence to substantiate the ratings. There are general requirements that apply to all types of assessments and specific requirements that apply to assessments of process capability and organizational maturity. COBIT 5 recommends the use of ISO/IEC 15504-2 for performing process capability assessments.
The capability levels in ISO/IEC 15504-2 are  shown below.  

capability-levels.jpg

The bottom line

Many organizations use assessment models and tools to baseline and benchmark their achievements against best practices.  The costs of benchmarking are outweighed by the benefits of understanding the strengths and weaknesses compared to best practices and standards. Acting on the information provided in baseline and benchmark report will resolve issues, gaps and help to prioritise improvements.
News UK owns some of the biggest and most popular British newspapers of today. The Enterprise Technology team used an independent and non-biased full assessment of its internal Service Management operations. It has been very successful in its assessments and improving its Service Management capabilities year on year. See the case study here

About the Author

Shirley Lacy is an ITIL® author  She is UK Principle Expert on the ISO and BSI committees that develop service management and process assessment standards.  

Find out more about ConnectSphere’s assessment services here.

Service Improvement Manager
Service Improvement Manager (SIM) brings together many years of consulting experience and extensive knowledge into a complete solution that lets you measure, manage and improve your processes in a pragmatic and cost-effective way. SIM lets you assess, measure and improve everything from your services to processes and systems. 

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