Recently, I was auditing an organization for an ISO 20000-1 registration. I was surprised to see that every individual was ITIL foundation certified. Around 40% of the staff was ITIL masters certified. I could not resist asking the CIO, “When you have already invested so much on ITIL, why do you need the ISO 20000 registration?” His response was simple –“ISO certification set a goal and we all worked towards that.”
From my experience of working in the IT Service industry, I can tell you with confidence that 90% of large and medium sized IT organizations have been implementing ITIL for the last 5+ years. How many successful ITIL implementations we have seen? I personally have not seen many. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that ITIL is a bad choice for IT service improvement. On the contrary, I believe ITIL is the only comprehensive body of knowledge for ITSM. So, then why are we not seeing many success stories? What is the definition of success? Process owners feel completion of process deployment is a success, CIOs/CTOs expect return on investment (ROI), end users expect improved services. So, it is very difficult to have all these stakeholders to agree on a common goal for ITSM. If you can understand this, you will appreciate my CIO’s statement above.
This is human nature – we work better if we see an achievable goal with a well-defined roadmap. ISO 20000-1 provides you a crisp roadmap of implementing IT services best practices. Where do you find the best practices? – ITIL books. Why is certification important? That is your achievable goal which nobody can dispute. The best part of ISO certification is continuous surveillance and recertification after three years. This is like sitting on the back of a tiger where getting down is not an option. This external driver keeps your continuous service improvements going. Obviously there is cost associated with ISO 20000 certification. If you compare this cost with the cost of ITSM tools, ITIL training and certifications, it is peanuts.
If you would like to write a success story about your ITIL implementation, use ISO 20000 as your road map and ISO certification as your goal.