Use ISO 20k for competitive advantage: ITSMf chair

Use ISO 20k for competitive advantage: ITSMf chair

ISO 20k provides needed discipline for ITIL framework.

Accreditation is crucial to milk the most from IT Service Management (ITSM) deployments, according to the Australian ITSM forum (ITSMf).

ITSM and associated frameworks, such as the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2), align IT services to business operations, outline acceptable use, and establish operational rules for IT governance.

These frameworks are useful to iron out contention points between IT and the business because it enforces frugality in technology expenditure and sets clear expectations of IT deliverables.

Once IT and business share common goals, technology can be pushed even further using ISO 20000 (20k) to improve marketing appeal, according to ITSMf Australia chairman Peter Cross.

ISO 20k, accepted as Australia's ITSM standard last year by Standards Australia, works on a higher organisational level than the aforementioned frameworks, and certifies based on compliance to a set of 10 components that centre principally around risk management.

"ITIL is a processed-based framework that is used to implement ISO [20k]," Cross said.

The ISO 20k certification can give competitive advantage to organisations with ITSM implementations, according to Cross, because it conveys a baseline understanding of the frameworks such as ITIL.

However, the sluggish return on investment from gruelling ITIL implementations mean organisations are slow to take on and pay-up for the ISO 20k standard.

The problem for the 20k certification, according to Cross, is that many organisations dived into ITIL when it was fast-tracked as a de facto ITSM standard, through the British Standard 150000 and Australian Standard 8018, by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

Cross argues the ISO 20k standard is crucial to ITSM implementations because it stipulates benchmarks that must be met in order to receive ISO certification, whereas ITIL 'certification' can be done through a self-assessment.

"For example [20k] dictates you must record all incidents, problems and change request, while ITIL provides an implementation process. It is the yardstick for organisations to measure their ITIL deployments," he said.

"20k shows what needs to be done, ITSM frameworks offer a way to do it that matches your business."

There are about 70 service providers including Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and local IT services companies Maxaam and ASG that have deployed ISO 20k.

He said 20k provides a structured and authoritative framework not available in other ITSM deployments, which can be used to help transition between ITIL version 2 and 3. The structure consists of 130 "shalt-do statements" which must be implemented and passed in an audit by a registered third party for ISO 20k certification.

The stand-out for 20k above other ITSM frameworks is its requirement to get the business behind IT. These managerial components were "killed-off" in ITIL, according to Cross, when budgets became tight because the framework was established as a tactical response to short term problems.

"You have to demonstrate management commitment and buy-in to get 20k certification; many projects fail without it and its almost not worth taking on ITSM without managerial commitment," he said.

Cross said organisations can make ITSM audits easier and more robust by implementing the Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT) framework early as possible. The model provides business with a set of governance and control measures for improved IT management and auditing.

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