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ISO/IEC 20000: The International Standard for Service Management

ISO/IEC 20000, often referred to simply as ISO 20000, allows IT organizations to ensure the alignment between ITSM processes and overall business strategy, which in turn ensures the best service for the customer and value for the service provider.

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


Benefits of ISO 20000

The main benefit of using ISO 20000 as a basis for IT Service management is that it provides a structured framework for service benchmarking and improvement, and it allows for independent assessment and external verification of an organization's ability to meet customer requirements.

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
  • Helps leverage ITIL practices to optimize resources and processes

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 ISO/IEC 20000-1:2011 - specifies the requirements for a service management system (SMS). It details requirements for the service provider to plan, establish, implement, operate, monitor, review, and maintain and operate an SMS. The requirements within the standard include the design, transition, delivery, and improvement of services to meet agreed service requirements. 

  • Part 2 ISO/IEC 20000-2:2012 - gives guidance on implementing a service management system (SMS) that is fully aligned with ISO20000-1. The aim of this part of the standard is to enable an effective understanding of the requirements of Part 1, enabling better deployment and use of an SMS.

  • Part 3 ISO/IEC 20000-3:2012 - provides guidance on scope definition and the applicability of ISO20000-1, covering the demonstration of conformity to its requirements. The guidance in ISO20000-3 takes the form of practical examples, typical scenarios and recommendations that show how the scope of an SMS can be defined. Guidance on the different types of conformity assessment and assessment standards is included.

  • Part 4 ISO/IEC TR 20000-4:2010 - details a process reference model (PRM) that meets the requirements of ISO/IEC 15504, the process assessment standard. The PRM provides a high-level description of the service management processes within ISO/IEC 20000-1 and will help you understand each process’s objectives and expected results, enabling you to assess the maturity of your processes in line with the standard.

  • Part 5 ISO/IEC TR 20000-5:2010 - is an exemplar implementation plan, providing guidance on how to implement a service management system (SMS) to fulfil the requirements of ISO20000-1. It is useful for those planning service improvements and intending to use ISO 20000 as a business goal and could also be useful for those advising service providers on how to best achieve the requirements of ISO 20000-1.


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.


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.


Need help implementing ISO 20000?

Our expert consultants can help you implement an SMS that complies with, and can be certified to, ISO 20000.