What is VeriSM?

In an industry with numerous service-management frameworks and standards, yet another service-management approach may simply add to the confusion, but not if that approach provides a method to integrate all of the frameworks. This is just what VeriSM seeks to accomplish. VeriSM was developed as a new approach to service management, suited for the digital age and enabling practitioners to gather appropriate resources to achieve an intended outcome.

It is a softer approach, focused on the relationship between service providers and service consumers, with a strong emphasis on governance. It is also appropriate for all types of providers to use it, enabling true enterprise service management in virtually any type of organization. VeriSM’s capability to support a diverse set of providers, both internal and external to an organization, and with its capability to pull best-of-breed strategies from multiple frameworks give it a decided advantage over many other service-management approaches.

VeriSM provides an agile, adaptable approach that can be customized for any organization and any type of initiative or service delivery. This flexibility enables organizations to craft an operating model that is both distinct and customized for their unique needs.

Key concepts in VeriSM

VeriSM is based on the premise we all consume services and products which providers enable (as it says in the book, “consumers consume, and providers provide”); thus, there is a strong emphasis on services and their value. VeriSM enables providers to respond to the demand for services by:

Providing a mechanism, the “management mesh,” for developing an operating model that combines an organization’s environment, resources and management practices with the emerging technologies available to it. The mesh enables people engaged in an initiative to set their own framework from which they will operate together, establishing processes, communications and other operational standards to which they’ll all adhere. This clarifies roles and expectations across multiple teams involved in the initiative, enabling their success. Each area within the management mesh is comprised of multiple factors.

- Environment includes an organization’s value, culture, legislation and compliance that affect it, competition and the general marketplace.

- Management practices enable organizations to select the process and governance frameworks to be used, drawing on ISO 20000 and 27000, DevOps, Agile, Lean, Six Sigma, SIAM and other industry best-practice frameworks.

- Resources include people, funding, physical assets, time, knowledge and capabilities.

- Emerging technologies, which will be continually changing as new technologies are introduced to the marketplace.

It is the management mesh that enables oraganizations to leverage as many service-management disciplines as needed to achieve successfully an outcome, making sense of how they all fit together, rather than them being at odds with each other.

Organizations adopt their management practices based on how they are integrated, using service stabilizers, such as process, tools and measurement, with them. To build the mesh, organizations will start with their governance foundation and service-management principles and build the mesh on top of these.

Ultimately, VeriSM ensures solutions are based on need, using the provider-consumer loop below, which shows that consumers invest in solutions to achieve value through enhanced productivity or by enabling them to provide revenue-producing services that ultimately provide a return on the initial investment.

What is the VeriSM approach?

VeriSM approaches the provider-consumer relationship with a focus on working together to create services of value to the consumer:

The focus on the customer changes the way people work:

Governance and organizational culture are at the source of this approach:

To support this capability, the VeriSM foundational text includes descriptions of a number of modern frameworks and how they can be used in the management mesh to achieve a particular outcome, but it also focuses on developing the individual knowledge and abilities of all team members. Placing a value on lifelong learning demonstrates how gaining knowledge about a variety of approaches can help an individual leverage these approaches when an organization needs it.

In the development experience mentioned above, for example, concepts from DevOps and Site Reliability Engineering can be merged with ITIL’s Change-Management process to ensure developers can operate autonomously, in service to the consumer while changes are properly recorded in case there are future issues in the production environment.

Why is VeriSM different than other operating models?

A key component of VeriSM that distinguishes it from other operating models and frameworks is its focus on everyone understanding their responsibility to deliver service management; the concept that everyone is involved.

It is this flexibility that makes this operating model so powerful and different from other models and frameworks. While ITIL and other IT frameworks have components that can be used in a similar manner, convincing business executives to buy into an IT framework is more difficult than gaining adoption for an operating model that emphasizes providers and consumers, rather than IT alignment with the business. Additionally, VeriSM focuses on service management in the digital age, an important distinction given that business is now almost wholly reliant on technology. By crafting an operating model that supports multiple providers and the gathering of organizational capabilities, it gives organizations the capability to drive consistent values and practices throughout the organization. In short, VeriSM can be brought directly to business executives for adoption. Ultimately, VeriSM is a service-management mindset, rather than a set of processes that comprise a framework or standard.

Basics of VeriSM

At the foundational level, VeriSM focuses on several constants:

Governance and Values

The focus on organization and governance lays the groundwork. Understanding everyone’s role in an organization leads towards its success, and how their unique abilities can be leveraged is one of the basics of the model.

The Consumer

Instead of focusing on the activities to be performed, the focus is on providing business value for both internal and external consumers, developing solutions they need to be successful.

Abilities

People with distinct competencies and abilities are grouped according to the functions they perform: human resources, accounting, information technology, customer service and others. By thinking of these not as departments, but rather abilities, it’s easy to address situations where an organization has several groups with customer service or technology roles and then gathers them when all are involved in a particular initiative. It also makes it easy to engage and organize the needed resources to achieve the intended outcome.

Focus on Outcomes

Understanding the difference between outcomes and outputs is another basis of the model. While an output is a tactical result of an activity, such as printing invoices, outcomes are more strategic, the result of the use of a product. Rather than printing invoices, an outcome may be the ability to produce invoices quicker as a result of better technology, making it possible to support additional customers without needing more staff to achieve this outcome. Of more importance, VeriSM helps to determine which capabilities must be integrated to produce that outcome: IT, accounting, customer service and legal capabilities might need to review all aspects of invoice production to determine the product features needed to produce more invoices within a set period of time. These providers can review both the entire process of creating, approving and printing an invoice and with the technology, using techniques, such as value-stream mapping, to find and resolve bottlenecks or opportunities to improve technology.

Integrating all of this, the VeriSM model focuses on enabling a provider to gather capabilities from across an organization to work on initiatives that create the products and services its customers need to achieve their intended outcomes.

Individual growth and the value of a culture that encourages a lifetime of learning is important to sustaining success. Focusing on developing abilities enables people to expand their expertise continually, thus strengthening an organization’s capability to find the abilities it needs for specific initiatives. This shifts the focus from earning certifications towards increasing one’s understanding of management frameworks and standards, and with their industry’s specific technical/operational knowledge to continue to increase expertise and competence.

People who have both depth in their specialty as well as broad knowledge across a number of capabilities or technologies, known as T-Shaped individuals, are highly sought as a result of their competencies. This results in placing a high value on lifetime learning, which benefits both the individual and his or her organization in return and many organizations favor this learning direction.

VeriSM vs. ITIL

Ultimately, the biggest difference between VeriSM and ITIL is that ITIL is a set of best practices that enable IT to work effectively with the business and align its activities to those of the business. Conversely, VeriSM seeks to support an enterprise service-management approach, one where the business drives the values, initiatives and operating model used to provide them.

This doesn’t mean VeriSM leaves IT outside the picture, but rather brings IT into the circle of capabilities that will deliver solutions, engaging IT within initiatives, rather than leaving it to support initiatives from within the IT silo. This shift makes it easier for organizations to adopt VeriSM enterprise-wide, as it doesn’t rely on IT pushing a framework towards the business, but rather focuses on enterprise-level adoption from the start.

Explaining VeriSM letter by letter

VeriSM is intentionally designed to enable support organizations to provide digital solutions that offer value to their consumers. The acronym can be explained based on the definition of VeriSM as follows:

Benefits of VeriSM

There are a number of key benefits to this approach:

Companies, such as Toyota, gained success by adopting the use of technology earlier than others to improve manufacturing flow, or Uber capitalized on the Internet of Things and mobile apps to create a new, yet disruptive business model. Digital transformation has a large, positive impact on the competitiveness of any organization and VeriSM’s unique approach assists organizations in achieving this transformation. When digital transformation is part of an organization’s strategic direction, VeriSM enables that organization to execute successfully on its vision by giving the staff involved clarity, direction and a set of practices on which its members can agree, and then execute.

The focus on service also provides benefits for commercial service providers, ensuring customer satisfaction as a result of improved service-management and operational models. Even within organizations, lesser benefits will include more satisfied employees due to improved communications and training and resulting from the improved service they receive internally. The table below shows just a few of the benefits of VeriSM within a single organization, both internally and externally facing:

Value of VeriSM by Provider Type within an Organization
INTERNAL PROVIDER COMMERCIAL PROVIDER
Focus on the business as a consumer Focus on the business as a consumer
Elimination of support/operational silos Focus on outcomes customers need
Increased speed of time to value for projects Faster time to market = increased revenues
Increased internal agility across capabilities Increased satisfaction = good reviews
Increased employee satisfaction due to growth Good reviews = increased customer base

The VeriSM model

The VeriSM model starts with governance and basic service-management principles, centered on the management mesh at the core, focused on delivering and supporting services conceived with the consumer in mind and then validated by the consumer at delivery.

The diagram that follows demonstrates the model and adds four key principles that overlay the management mesh, activities that leverage the defined operating model using the management mesh that help execute and achieve the desired results. Think of these as stages within the model:

The model supports these activities based on:

This unique combination of factors creates the operating model an organization will use to deliver services related to a particular initiative. The value comes from the flexibility of how these are integrated for each initiative. The governance and principles are somewhat static, as leadership drives them, but the structure of the management mesh, for example, which resources and technology are used, will vary from project to project. This enables an organization to create a variety of operating models, each specific to the needs of the organization at the given time a project is being executed.

Target audience of VeriSM

If not already apparent, then VeriSM is relevant to all; we are all service providers at one time or another.

While many frameworks and standards are industry-specific, VeriSM cuts across an organization and provides a common language that an organization can use, removing silos and making it easier for people to create a way of collaborating that works, regardless of whether they are IT, HR, Legal, Accounting or Office Services professionals. VeriSM doesn’t replace any certifications or educational programs within their specific industry, rather it leverages any and all practices a particular industry might contribute to achieving the desired result.

Scope of VeriSM

It can be said that VeriSM has no defined scope or that the scope is very fluid. As an operating model that is easily adjusted and adapted, any organization can use it at any time to achieve any particular result. The scope originates with the initiative itself: VeriSM recommends setting the scope of the initiative or project as one of the areas to be considered when chartering or beginning the initiative. Not only can the organization use VeriSM across providers, but also providers can use the concepts within their organizations for internal projects.

Within VeriSM, the scope is also part of the governance structure, as it sets the limits and boundaries of what is included in a given project. By setting the scope in this manner, the project team is clear about the scope of what is and is not included.

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