2018 is going to be an exciting year for service managers, with the launch of VeriSM, the ITIL update and the ongoing growth of SIAM, DevOps, Lean IT etc. We asked ITSM Zone mentor and SIAM Professional Lead Architect Michelle Major-Goldsmith to share her thoughts about VeriSM, the new kid in town for service management. Thanks for your input Michelle!Michelle Major-Goldsmith

As the great band the Eagles said: “There’s talk on the street; it sounds so familiar. Great expectations, everybody’s watching you”.

If feels like there’s a constant buzz lately. So much talk about management models, best and enabling practices and frameworks. It seems there is often ‘a new kid in town’. So, let’s consider the latest, VeriSM. You can get an introduction to VeriSM here.

Service management goes digital

There’s been a lot of social media ‘conversation’ about it since its announcement at various conferences and through a range of marketing mediums. It’s being hailed as ‘a service management approach for the digital age’.  And, why not? After all the field of service management is changing rapidly as the industry shifts towards digital transformation, the evolution of new management practices and the ‘commoditization of IT’. Organizations of every type are seeking a flexible approach to service management in which all service provider capabilities work together.

For those who are unaware, the International Foundation for Digital Competencies (IFDC) took the initiative to create VeriSM™ in cooperation with a team of over 70 professionals from around the world, led by Claire Agutter (Winner of the ITSMF UK Thought Leadership Award 2017). As one of the VeriSM authors Rob England, the IT Skeptic says:

“Service management must constantly refresh and evolve in our rapidly changing world. We are going through an IT Renaissance, the like of which we have never seen before. VeriSM™ brings together the latest thinking to help us keep pace with that transformation.”

This being the case, VeriSM, well why not? Of course, some might say, why so? Why now?

There are some concerns about the explosion of best practices. As the fabulous Daniel Breston said when he took to Twitter recently: “Why do we seem to be on an endless quest for new best practice?”

It sometimes feels that hardly a month goes by without someone announcing they have the latest new best practice available to revolutionize how corporate IT organizations deliver IT services. It’s a lot to take in…

Now regarding this apparent ‘explosion’, in my opinion it’s a predictable response as we try to keep abreast of our evolving environment, we need enlightened opinion, expertise, knowledge and experience to advance further. I believe the VeriSM approach offers an effective way to help us understand how to build an operating model where we can make best use of the plethora of frameworks, methods and standards that are out there.

What does VeriSM look like?

In brief, VeriSM describes a service management approach from the organizational level, looking at the end-to-end view rather than focusing on a single department, like the IT department only. Based on a model (see figure below), it shows organizations how they can adopt a range of management practices in a flexible way to deliver the right product or service at the right time to their consumers. VeriSM allows for a tailored approach depending upon the type of business, the size of the organization, its business priorities and culture.

The VeriSM model

In the model, governance overarches every activity, ensuring a focus on value, outcomes and the organization’s goals. Service management principles are then agreed for the organization. These make sure that all products and services are aligned with the needs of the organization. Principles are defined for areas including security, risk, quality and use of assets, and then communicated to all staff who are involved with the development and operation of products and services. The unique element of the VeriSM model is the Management Mesh which can be adapted depending on the requirements for a product or service. The Management Mesh includes:

  • Resources
  • Environment
  • Emerging technologies
  • Management practices

For each product or service, these areas are considered and the Management Mesh is flexed where necessary.

VeriSM ‘yeah’ elements

So, VeriSM is an approach that offers value-driven, evolving, responsive, and integrated service management. There’s lots to see here, but let’s just look at 3 aspects that appeal to me:

1) Service Management is for everyone not just IT – one of the things I like the best is that when VeriSM looks at defining service management principles the intention is that these principles apply across all areas of an organisation; HR, Sales, Marketing and not just IT! This makes perfect sense. It reinforces the importance of this approach by suggesting that every organization is now a service provider. That is certainly true. Public or private sector, small or large – everyone is now in the service market. Even organizations that focus on selling products (for example: retailers) need to provide services attached to those products to be successful (for example: customer service, shipping, returns). It’s not only private sector or profit-seeking organizations that need to focus on services either. Services are just as important in public sector environments, where good service can deliver a better experience for consumers or citizens. Value still needs to be delivered, whether financial or non-financial. To be successful, all organizations need to adopt an overall service management approach that delivers what their consumers need.

2) Guardrails – the 2nd thing is this idea of service management principles being defined and acting as guardrails. These principles are relevant to all products and services and include areas like security, quality, cost and risk. The principles are defined at the organizational level and communicated throughout the organization, acting as guides and standards for all product and service development and operation. In theory, this means that product and service teams can work with a variety of management practices, but still need to meet the requirements of the service management principles.

3) Evolving Management Mesh – the 3rd ties back into what I said at the top of this blog and why I relate to VeriSM. That is, when it comes to the confusion around all the management practices, in VeriSM, we are told that not all those practices will be relevant for every organization. Careful consideration should be given to any new practice added to an organization’s Management Mesh. It tells us to identify the capability gaps and issues to be resolved before selecting a management practice. It utters the cautionary warning “Just because others are doing it, doesn’t mean your organization should”.

Take a look at the ‘new kid in town’

If you haven’t seen the VeriSM book I suggest you do. If you are not quite ready to take on the ‘big book’ look out for the Pocket Guide which will be published in March 2018 by Van Haren Publishing.  It encapsulates the essence of VeriSM and provides a sound starting point. Within the core VeriSM book, as well as the model, it is bursting with fabulous real-life case studies, interviews, quotes, examples and scenarios which add authenticity to the model and help enhance understanding of its core principles.

So, for my mind, new approaches are not only necessary but exciting. I do understand the confusion but I think this book helps. On top of that there are so many fabulous resources and people out there most willing to have a chat with you and show you how it all works and often for free! Today, many organizations and governments offer their services in a rapidly changing environment. VeriSM supports how to use all organizational capabilities, from IT to marketing, finance to customer service, to deliver value. VeriSM isn’t about blindly following ITSM ‘best practice’ – it’s about building a model that works for your organization. In fact, VeriSM is not an ITSM methodology – it is a holistic, business-oriented approach to service management, which helps make sense of the growing landscape of best practices out there, and can help you integrate them to add business value.

I say ‘Howdy’ to the new kid in town!