What is ISO/IEC 20000-1?

ISO/IEC 20000-1 is a Type A management system standard, originally published in 2005 and subsequently updated in 2011 and 2018. It establishes the minimum requirements for organizations aiming to create, implement, maintain, and continually improve a service management system (SMS). The SMS encompasses policies, processes, resources, objectives, and documented information that are strategically coordinated to achieve organizational objectives. A robust SMS allows organizations to effectively steer and control service management activities, identify and mitigate associated risks, and uncover opportunities for enhancing service provision.

The requirements outlined in ISO/IEC 20000-1 are broad and applicable to organizations of all sizes, sectors, and complexities. The ISO Survey 2020 reports over 7,500 certificates issued to organizations worldwide. Contrary to the misconception that it exclusively applies to IT infrastructure, ISO/IEC 20000-1 is versatile and can be applied to various services, including finance, cloud services, business process outsourcing, among others.

As most of the ISO management system standards, ISO/IEC 20000-1 is created based on the High-Level Structure (HLS) and shares the common terms and core definitions. This alignment in structure enables an easier integration with other management systems based on standards such as ISO 9001, ISO/IEC 27001, and ISO 22301. Apart from ensuring consistency and reducing costs, integrating several management systems can increase the organization’s capabilities to deliver consistent and quality services and can assist in the maintenance and improvement of a sustainable business model.

Benefits of ISO/IEC 20000-1 for service providers

An effective SMS based on the requirements of ISO/IEC 20000-1 has the potential to shape and improve an organization’s way of working and enhance service management practices.

Some of the benefits that an organization would gain by implementing an SMS based on ISO/IEC 20000-1 include:

  • Improved service performance and increased value provided to its interested parties
  • Opportunity to seek a formal certification from an accredited conformity assessment body
  • Reduced costs, efforts, and disruption to services
  • Improved service lifecycle, including planning, design, transition, and delivery
  • Aligned SMS components with business objectives
  • Fulfilled service requirements
  • Increased confidence of the business and customers
  • Reduced risks by utilizing a risk management approach
  • Improved understanding of roles and responsibilities
  • Improved relationships with suppliers and other relevant interested parties
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