The IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) can now offer a full set of service management qualifications, having officially recognised ISEB's new ISO/IEC 20000 foundation level syllabus.

Megan Pendlebury, Head of IT Service Management at itSMF UK, explains how the entry level exam fits into the itSMF service management qualification scheme.

Since British service management standard BS15000 was fast-tracked to become an internationally recognised standard (ISO/IEC 20000) in 2005, organisations have felt a particular sense of achievement by gaining accreditation.

Plenty of hard work goes into achieving the standard, not only by those running the project, but also by the 'business as usual' staff who need to be fully engaged in the vision of achieving the standard in order for it to happen.

The itSMF scheme allows organisations to be certified via a registered auditing company against the ISO/IEC 20000 standard, giving them a stamp (certificate) of being a quality service management organisation. This stamp shows current and potential customers as well as the competition that organisations are serious about what they do and are in control of the services provided.

To complement this certification scheme, itSMF devised a qualification scheme that trains two different audiences: auditors and consultants. The auditors' qualification teaches experienced auditors the specifics of the ISO/IEC 20000 standard and the ins and outs of IT service management.

The consultants' qualification is intended for internal consultants or external contractors with a high level of service management experience, employed to take the organisation through the certification process.

There used to be a gap in the itSMF scheme as the people in an organisation who needed to really understand the standard in terms of what it is all about and where their roles fit into it, were left in limbo.

They could take awareness courses, but there was no itSMF-approved structured and examined entry level course. Some decided to sit the consultants’ qualification, which covered more detail than they wanted, leaving many unsuccessful in passing the exam.

The itSMF has now plugged its entry level gap by endorsing, and promoting, the ISEB Foundation Certificate in ISO/IEC 20000 as part of its scheme. ISEB’s Foundation exam, which had already been running a year prior to the itSMF endorsement, is aimed at staff in internal and external service provider organisations who require knowledge and understanding of the ISO/IEC 20000 standard and its content.

This means individuals at the coal face can prove their knowledge and understanding of ISO/IEC 20000, and, as the course is at the right level for them, they will have a more positive experience.

We see ISO/IEC 20000 as a major part of our industry's future. When asked why they are considering working for certification against the standard, many organisations will cite competitive advantage or their customers wanting proof of what they do. Many more people will therefore be involved in this area through time.

The only way that the global rollout of ISO/IEC 20000 can happen is if examination institutes work together to ensure that the market is clear and that the students themselves are able to get the training and achieve the level of qualification that they feel they need at any stage in their career.


The IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) is the independent and internationally recognised forum for IT service management professionals. Globally, the itSMF now has over 6,000 member companies, blue chip and public sector alike, covering in excess of 70,000 individuals.

The itSMF UK is the founding Chapter of an increasingly important global business currently comprising 53 Chapters worldwide. itSMF UK is a not-for-profit organisation, run by its members.