ISO Show

#153 Breaking down ISO 20000 Service Management  


Last week we gave you an introduction to ISO 20000, the Service Management Standard. As a refresher, the aim of the standard is to provide a framework for an effective end-to-end service management system which encompasses the entire lifecycle of a service from concept and design, through to service removal and end-of-life.

It’s best adopted by businesses who provide a service, particularly those that operate a help / service desk system.

For some this may still seem a bit nebulous, especially for those that may not be familiar with Service Management terminology. To help demystify this Standard, we’ve brought Steve back to take a deeper dive into what makes this Standard unique.

Join Steve Mason and Mel in this weeks’ episode as they explore Clauses 7 and 8 of ISO 20000 in more detail, and how certain aspects can apply to any business.   

You’ll learn

  • What is ISO 20000?
  • What is included in Clause 8 of ISO 20000?
  • How can ISO 20000 apply to any business?


In this episode, we talk about:

[00:43] What is ISO 20000? Go back and listen to our previous episode to learn what ISO 20000 is, a brief overview of the key clauses and the benefits of adopting the Service Management Standard.  

[02:00]  A recap of the main requirements of the Standard:

  • 4.0 Context of the Organisation
  • 5.0 Leadership
  • 6.0 Planning
  • 7.0 Support of Service Management System
  • 8.0 Operation of the Service Management System
  • 9.0 Performance Evaluation
  • 10.0 Improvement

Clauses 7 and 8 are where the main differences lie between this Standard and others. It includes requirements for aspects such as:

  • Service Portfolio
  • Relationship Agreements
  • Supply and Demand
  • Service Design and Transition
  • Resolution and Fulfilment

[03:15] Similarities with other ISO Standards – Ultimately, this standard in terms of the structure, it looks like any other ISO standard, i.e. we’ve got context of the organisation, leadership, Planning, performance Evaluation and improvement. These will be familiar if you’ve worked with ISO 9001, ISO 14001 or ISO 27001.

 [04:05] Clause 7 –  Support of Service Management System: This is where we’re really looking at the competency awareness communications and documented information required by the standard. In 7.5 there is a really useful list of all the documented information that’s required in the management system – one that we wish was included in every ISO Standard!

That required documented information doesn’t have to be in writing, it could be on computer or established system.

Another key aspect of Clause 7 is Knowledge – this is about ensuring all knowledge is documented and sharable and not just stuck in people’s heads. For Service Management, this may involve the creation of a customer portfolio where you can record any incidents that occur during a service call, and how you dealt with it ect.

Competence is also another major component – Make sure people are competent to do their job, i.e. they’ve been trained to do things properly and effectively.

[06:40] Different ways of knowledge sharing – Knowledge sharing doesn’t just have to be written down – it could be done via a recorded video. We use Loom a lot at Blackmores to get things across quickly.  

There are also a number of service desk tools available that can help you put together process flow diagrams to make things easier to understand.

[08:15] Clause 8 Operation of the Service Management System: Before you do any sort of service management, you need to plan it properly – otherwise, if you fail to plan, you’ll plan to fail.

First you need to understand what resources you have, what activities there are in the service management to deliver that service to the customer and ensure that they’re coordinated.

A top tip from Steve: Separate resources into five groups: people, technology, information, finance and service partners.

[09:55] Planning your Service – Now you understand what you’re trying to deliver, it’s time to plan your service.

First you want to take a look at the flow of the service through the organisation. Which departments does it go into? Is there good connection between departments? Can you ensure that a customer’s order is going to stay the same through the whole process, you wouldn’t want possibilities for miscommunication to occur.

We’d recommend drawing up a flow diagram for this process – just so you can clearly see who is doing and communicating what at any stage.

[11:20] Getting Operations in order – once you understand what the process is, you need to begin to control and involve the interested parties within the life cycle of your process.

This isn’t just the customer; this also includes confirming what services you’re actually delivering – as you’ll be looking to improve these services as time goes on.

You also need to consider the whole service life cycle. This includes things like if a customer wants to move to a different service – how would you deal with that? Have you got a process in place to handle the return of customer assets if they disengage from your services?

[12:30] Service Level Agreements: It’s a good idea to establish Service Level Agreements and Delivery Level Agreements early on. This is so you typically know what you are going to be delivering to a customer and how quickly can you deliver it and ensure the whole process is sustainable as well.

This will also clarify key accountabilities for everyone involved with delivering a specific service.

Clearly defined services – Finally, it also provides a clearly defined service for Salespeople. This avoids the situation where they simply sell what they think sounds good but isn’t backed up by any resources to actually deliver the service they sold.

You need to have a clear strategy that sales can use and go out and sell – this may be referred to as a Service Catalogue.

[15:18] A Service Catalogue in action –  In Blackmores case, our Service Catalogue is online on our website. We have all the ISO Standards we can assist with listed, in addition to a description of how we can help companies implement an applicable Management System.

You don’t have to have all your prices listed out at that stage, that can come later when you have a full view of the customer requirements and agreements are made.

[18:20] Asset Management –  In 8.2 there is a consideration for Asset Management on your side. You should take care of any assets relating to the customer, where it’s stored and how it’s being looked after.

Standards such as ISO 27001 (Information Security) and ISO 55001 (Asset Management) already have some considerations for this.

[19:05] Configuration Management –  Configuration management is understanding how the parts of the service fit, so you don’t disassociate them from each other.

The Standard asks you to identify what’s known as CIS, these are configuration items, and these are all the things that you need to deliver your service. We’ll dig more into this aspect in future content – so keep an eye out!

[20:40] A final top tip from Steve:  Collaboration and communication that involves leadership. If you just devolve it down to parties doing the work and just get them to work in silo, it will not work for you. It’s a collaborative standard – both inside and outside of the business.

[21:20] Resources available –  We’ve got a number of ISO 20000 related resources available on the islogyhub – contact us to learn more!  

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