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ISO 20000: The International Standard for Service Management

What is ISO/IEC 20000?

ISO/IEC 20000, often referred to simply as ISO 20000, is the international IT service management (ITSM) standard that enables IT organizations (whether in-house, outsourced, or external) to ensure that their ITSM processes are aligned both with the needs of the business and with international best practice.

ISO 20000 helps organizations benchmark how they deliver managed services, measure service levels, and assess their performance. It is broadly aligned with, and draws strongly on, ITIL®.

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Benefits of ISO 20000

ISO 20000 can help your organization benchmark its ITSM, improve its services, demonstrate an ability to meet customer requirements, and create a framework for independent assessment.

Some of the most common benefits of ISO 20000 certification for service providers are that it:

  • Offers competitive differentiation by demonstrating reliability and high quality of service
  • Gives access to key markets, as many organizations in the public sector mandate that their IT service providers demonstrate compliance with ISO 20000
  • Provides assurance to clients that their service requirements will be fulfilled
  • Enforces a measurable level of effectiveness and a culture of continual improvement by enabling service providers to monitor, measure and review their service management processes and services
  • Drives down the costs of conformance to a multitude of regulations, including the PCI DSS and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX)
  • Helps leverage ITIL practices to optimize resources and processes.

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ISO 20000 parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

ISO 20000 uses a process-based approach for continual improvement and is split into five parts. Parts 1 and 2 outline the requirements for implementing a service management system (SMS) that enables IT service providers to enhance the quality of service they deliver to internal and external customers.

  • Part 1: Service management system requirements

    Part 1 - ISO 20000-1:2011 - provides requirements for ITSM and is relevant to those responsible for initiating, implementing, or maintaining ITSM in their organization. It provides a specification for an SMS. Organizations can have their SMSs independently certified as conforming to the requirements of ISO 20000-1:2011.
  • Part 2: Guidance on the application of service management systems

    Part 2 - ISO 20000-2:2012 - describes the best practices for service management processes within the scope of part 1.
  • Part 3: Guidance on scope definition and applicability of ISO/IEC 20000-1

    Part 3 - ISO 20000-3:2012 - provides vital information on writing a scope for an SMS, as well as providing information on implementing an ISO 20000-1 SMS.
  • Part 4: Process reference model

    Part 4 - ISO 20000-4:2012 - helps you develop a process assessment model according to ISO/IEC 15504 process assessment principles.
  • Part 5: Exemplar implementation plan for ISO/IEC 20000-1

    Part 5 - ISO 20000-5:2012 - provides an implementation plan for an SMS that meets the requirements of ISO 20000-1.

More information about implementing ISO 20000 can be found in the bestselling book, Implementing Service Quality based on ISO/IEC 20000. This step-by-step guide will improve your chances of successful certification as it covers the whole implementation process, making it essential reading for every stage of the project.

ITIL and ISO 20000

There is an important and close relationship between ISO 20000 and ITIL®, the methodology for managing IT as a service. ITIL provides advice on best practices in IT service management, including options that may be adopted and adapted by organizations according to business need, local circumstances and the maturity of the service provider. ISO 20000 sets the standards that service management processes should aim for.

You can read all about ITIL and its relationship with ISO 20000 in the popular title, Pragmatic Application of Service Management. Written by service management experts, this book will teach you how to integrate COBIT® 5, ITIL®, ISO 20000 and CMMI-SVC, combining the best from each approach.

ISO 20000 documentation

As part of implementing an ISO 20000-compliant SMS, you will be required to produce documentation aligned with the Standard. Although there is no particular approach for how to structure your documentation, you will need to produce documents and records for all processes in the scope of ISO 20000, and the number you produce will vary depending on your company size.

You can use the ITSM, ITIL® & ISO/IEC 20000 Implementation Toolkit to meet these documentation requirements. Developed by industry experts, the templates, policies and procedures in this toolkit will accelerate your project, helping you implement and execute your own SMS with minimal stress. 

Discover our bestselling ISO 20000 products and services

Whether you're just starting your ISO 20000 project, or you need the tools and training to move to the next stage, discover our range of bestselling products and services below to support your on your journey.

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