What are the most common ISO 20000 implementation myths?

Whenever we talk about ISO 20000 implementation, we usually discuss its many benefits. Well, that’s correct and there is nothing wrong with that. But, the point is that there are, maybe, even more obstacles, which people let hinder them in the implementation.

When I talk to customers, I must admit they are creative when they look for a good reason (or, better to say – excuse) for why they shouldn’t implement ISO 20000. And, I have to admit that a few of them might actually have a good reason. But, most of these are just – myths.

Myths explained

There is one thing I want to make clear. ISO 20000 affects IT services, which are used by users, i.e., the customers who pay your bills. And, even small things, when they go wrong, are highly visible. So, if service delivery works (here I mean, without ISO 20000 in place) – there is a saying that best describes the approach: “If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.” And I understand that. Although, I still think that this approach is missing out on all those benefits that ISO 20000 implementation brings (to learn more about the benefits, read the article 5 key benefits of ISO 20000 implementation).

Let’s get back to myths. Here are some of the most widely used ones:

“We are a small company and ISO 20000 is only for big ones.” From my experience – that’s not true. As with many other ISO standards, ISO 20000 can be implemented in organizations of various sizes. OK, it would be difficult to implement it in a company with 3-4 people, but you don’t have to be a 30-person organization, either.

“We don’t have enough resources for ISO 20000 implementation.” OK, I understand that. But, there are some other options, like consultants or documentation template toolkits (like ISO 20000 Documentation Toolkit) that can help you implement the ISO 20000 standard with the resources inside your organization.

“Management doesn’t care about ISO standards.” I think they do, but they have to understand why you want to do the implementation. If you use techie (using technology vocabulary) language they won’t understand. The point is that you need them – actually, even worse – you can’t do it without them. So, how do you get them on board? Speak business language. Tell them about benefits (see more in the article 5 key benefits of ISO 20000 implementation), customers and their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction), broken SLAs (Service Level Agreements – formal contracts between you and your customers), the mess inside all these teams and processes that you can clean up … and don’t go to them to discuss. You have to have clear picture of What, Why, How, and How much. That’s the language management likes.

“Tools are too expensive.” Yes, there are very (but very) expensive tools. But, you know what? There are also excellent tools that are not expensive or are open source, i.e., free of royalty costs. And, believe me, some of them are good.

“There are no tangible benefits.” Well, this one could be challenged. Let me ask you something: What are the costs of a lost customer or an SLA breach? Or, do you measure how long it takes to resolve incidents? How many licenses do you have in place (particularly ones that are paid for but not used)? These are examples of items that you can describe with numbers, usually expressed in currency.

“Our people know their jobs, anyway.” OK, but what will happen if they leave? Are you going to start developing your capabilities from scratch? Probable yes, because you will have no other way. But, imagine that you have a documented management system (SMS – Service Management System in this case), processes, and related documents. When you hire a new employee he can easily become operational according your methodology and as part of your processes and related activities.

“No one will know, anyway.” Sure, if you don’t tell them. If you certify against ISO 20000 and put that information on your letterhead, business card or, even better, your web page … well, there is a big chance that people will notice that.

Looking for an excuse or finding a way

Let’s be honest. ISO 20000 implementation is not simple (careful – this fact shouldn’t be used as an excuse). A lot is invested: money, companies’ as well as personal reputations, people, tools… etc. And that makes everyone, from top management to the employees responsible for ITSM in the company, to open their eyes. But, if you are looking for an excuse – you will always find one. If you want to do something – you’ll find a way.

Help yourself while preparing the ISO 20000 implementation project by using this free  Project Proposal for ISO 20000 Implementation.

Advisera Branimir Valentic
Branimir Valentic
Branimir is an expert in IT service management (consultancy, training and tools), IT governance (training and consulting), project management and consultancy in IT and telecommunication. He holds the following certificates: ITIL Expert, ISO 20000, ISMS Lead Auditor and PRINCE2.