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What is ISO/IEC 20000?

ISO/IEC 20000 is the first international service management standard, a multi-part series of related documents. It defines the requirements for a service provider to deliver managed services of an acceptable quality for its customers. To achieve ISO/IEC 20000 certification, an organization needs to demonstrate that it uses management systems and practices in order to be compliant to the standard.
ISO/IEC 20000 is aligned ISO/IEC 9001 and ITIL®. ITIL is a comprehensive set of best practice for IT Service Management with a supporting professional qualification scheme and world-wide user community. ITIL and ISO/IEC 20000 share a common sense approach to service management - do what works. One of the most common routes to achieving the requirements of ISO/IEC 20000 is via the adoption of ITIL service management best practices.
Formal certification schemes for international standards provide confidence in the level of capability that a service provider has achieved certification for ISO/IEC 20000-1. These schemes required audits to be performed by accredited certification bodies and accredited assessors that have to demonstrate that they work to internationally agreed standards of quality and service. 

Who uses ISO/IEC 20000?

Service providers have a crucial role in delivering services and products that enable their business and customers to deliver value. One of the key factors to success is to think about the service that is enabled by the technology, not the technology itself. Many service providers adopt service management best practices and standards to improve their interaction with their customers and integrate IT service delivery across their suppliers and partners. They also want to be able to benchmark their service management capability effectively and efficiently.
The ISO/IEC 20000 series is used by organizations that:

  • go out to tender for their services;
  • require a consistent approach by all service providers in a supply chain;
  • wish to benchmark their IT service management;
  • wish to perform an independent assessment;
  • needs to demonstrate the ability to provide services that meet customer requirements
  • aims to improve service through the effective application of processes to monitor and improve service quality.

What is the ISO/IEC 20000 series?

The series includes: 

  • ISO/IEC 20000-1: 2005 – Information Technology - Service management - Part 1: Specification
  • ISO/IEC 20000-2:2005 Information technology - Service management - Part 2: Code of Practice
  • ISO/IEC 20000-3:2005 Information technology - Service management - Part 3: Scope and applicability
  • ISO/IEC TR 20004- Information technology - Service management - Part 4: Process Reference Model
  • ISO/IEC TR 20000-5:2010 Information technology - Service management - Part 5: Exemplar implementation plan for ISO/IEC 20000-1
  • ISO/IEC TR 15504-8 – Process Assessment Model for IT Service Management - under development.

About the Author

Shirley Lacy is Managing Director of ConnectSphere, a company that specialises in the application of service management best practices to deliver value and help service providers to achieve ISO/IEC 20000 certification. Shirley has a wealth of experience planning and implementing service management. Shirley is a UK representative on the international standards committees that develop ISO/IEC 20000 and process assessment standards.
If you want to find out more about ISO/IEC 20000, contact ConnectSphere


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