ISO 20000 and Successful IT Outsourcing
You won’t find many businesspersons discussing ISO 20000 at their local pub. But they may want to tell you how ridiculously, exasperatingly, frustratingly bad their experience with computers/printers/lost passwords/sick networks has been.
It’s very hard to make quality management systems sound sexy . But they can have a profound effect on how you do business. Or don’t.
A little while ago I worked for a successful high technology company. Through corporate greed and mismanagement, the company got into financial trouble. And someone took the decision to outsource the IT maintenance and help service.
The company made savings, but ground slowly to a stop. Getting a simple password refresh could take 3 days. So after the Christmas break when some staff had possibly relaxed a little too much, and forgotten their passwords the company took three days longer than anyone else to start working. The increased costs of working within the company far outweighed the savings in completing the outsourcing, and sadly the company was soon no more.
I find that outsourced IT services are the bane of most people’s lives. The reason is quite simple; service levels aren’t defined in the initial contract, and response times tend to be whatever the provider thinks is good.
Unscrupulous service providers make money by over-selling their resources, like builders who try to juggle three or four jobs at once. Three technicians take on ten contracts and hope that they don’t all need something done at the same time. Very few IT Service businesses have reliable resourcing tools. So how many contracts they can handle at once becomes a greed-driven guessing game. The problem is if they guess wrong it’s you who will suffer, for example, the serious consequences of failed payroll software.
The solution was remarkably simple. Following the failure of various large government software projects, pressure was put onto the IT industry to smarten its act up. The larger companies got together and agreed on ITIL the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, a collection of requirements for the delivery of best practice IT Services.
Later, the requirements of ITIL were brought together into an International Standard, and are now known as ISO 20000, Information Technology Service Management Standard.
Now perhaps you know enough when outsourcing your IT to fully specify the service you require, or you are happy to trust the smart looking salesman grasping your hand firmly and assuring you he’ll “look after you”.
But personally, if I was aware that some of the best IT Service delivery companies in the world had agreed on the best way of delivering that service, and been nice enough to publish it in one standard, I’d demand it in my outsourcing contract.
Independent Audit and Inspection Services are an independent consultancy assisting companies to use and benefit from ISO Standards. If you need to implement ISO 20000 or measure your suppliers against it we can help. Please drop us a line.
Written by Colin Brown of ISO Consultants