It’s time to stand up and take notice of VeriSM

I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Claire Agutter, lead author of VeriSM, a new service management approach.  The conversation was really informative, and I wanted to share some of the key learnings here, particularly as there seems to be a lot of speculation about VeriSM.

At a high level, if you’re a C-level executive and you haven’t heard of VeriSM, you really ought to be taking notice as it could be just the approach you need to revolutionise your digital transformation journey.

VeriSM was developed to provide organisations with guidance on how to deliver products and services to their customers and consumers.  It recognises the abundance of frameworks, practices and standards which are now prevalent in IT, such as DevOps, ITIL, Agile, Service Integration & Management (SIAM), and the advent of new delivery mechanisms such as cloud and the emergence of shadow IT.  It provides an overarching umbrella under which these frameworks can co-exist in today’s highly complex operating models.  Critically, it recognises that Digital Transformation involves more than just IT, it needs involvement from the all stakeholders, particularly those we have traditionally viewed as being “in the business”.

Adopting a different approach

Over the last 20 years, IT departments have sought to capture efficient working practices, and many of these have been embodied into best practice frameworks.  However, VeriSM takes this a step further.  It recognises that organisations must operate in a joined-up way, from idea conception, through to project delivery, handover to live and business-as-usual.  This would appear to take the service lifecycle approach described in ITIL v3 to its next logical evolution.  Rather than consider the respective viewpoints of either the business or the technology delivery organisation(s), it adopts a more holistic view, which I hope will drive organisations to move away from the traditional “Business” and “IT” departments, to mixed service development and delivery teams comprising traditional business and IT roles.

Who are the IFDC?

I also confronted Claire regarding the body behind VeriSM, the International Foundation for Digital Competencies (IFDC) an independent not-for-profit organisation which has coordinated the production of this latest set of guidance.  I’d heard that the IFDC board comprises mainly training providers and it has come in for criticism as a result of this, as some see it as a means of reinvigorating a flagging ITIL training market.  Having discussed this topic with Claire, I think that VeriSM will certainly help stimulate demand for training, but having better understood VeriSM’s content, I think that demand will come from organisations who are genuinely interested in transforming their service management approach through business process & digital transformation.  Training demand will be a welcome by-product, not the raison d’être of the framework.

The VeriSM approach

VeriSM is founded upon the development of a number of Service Management principles or values, which will be unique from one organisation to another.  Examples of these could be quality, risk management, security, speed of delivery.  These act as the guiding principles which can be used by product and service development teams who will work within those service management principles.  I really like this concept.  It moves organisations away from the trap of jumping on the latest management principle or fad, in favour of going back to first principles at the most senior levels of organisation, which can these be disseminated down to product delivery and service management teams.  I challenged Claire on the ability of today’s CxO population to undertake these “back to basics” reviews and we agreed that the failure to do this, at a time when the pace of change is so great, could be disastrous later down the line.

The VeriSM publication

I was really encouraged to hear that the authorship of the VeriSM publication comprised 70 authors and reviewers, drawn not only from training organisations, but also from consulting backgrounds, practitioners and toolset providers.

Whilst a draft table of contents has been produced, and an e-book is available in draft form, the hardcopy publication is due on 15th December. Claire is keen to point out that this is the introductory VeriSM publication.  Not only will the content evolve over time, but the publication is seen as the first step, which will be supported by more detailed content in the future.

Early adopters

In the meantime, there have been a number of early-adopter organisations who have stepped forward.  These are global multi-nationals from varying sectors, who are already bought in to the concept of defining service management principles and removing the organisational boundaries which sometimes exist between the business and IT, to form multi-disciplinary delivery teams who are equipped to undertake the transformational changes necessary to drive the future needs of the organisation.  This transformational change reaches further back in to the product development lifecycle than ITIL’s Service Design concepts, to service conception, where the service management principles above will drive product development approach and direction.

In conclusion, VeriSM promises a framework which is cognisant of the broad range of service management and delivery frameworks at the disposal of the average business leader.  It seeks to provide an umbrella and an overarching set of principles under which organisations can drive their transformational change agendas, whilst adopting the most appropriate mix of service management principles and frameworks to suit their needs.  I’m excited about the prospect of this and will get my order in for the book.  I’ll post a short review here once I’ve read it.