During the many open USM workshops, we received lots of questions about USM. These questions are listed below - with the answers.

Not a difference but rather a relationship: USM offers a systematic approach to realizing an ESM strategy. It answers the question “But how?” by defining the concept and the structure of a link for sustainable supply chains and networks.

It’s not USM versus/against ITIL, COBIT or FitSM, but USM with ITIL, COBIT, FitSM - or any other source of best practice guidance. USM serves as the fundament, the management system that is not described in a practice-based framework like ITIL or one of its alternatives. These best practice frameworks serve a rich source of inspiration about the how: which practices are available out there and which of have proven to be effective? If you consider your organization to be a building, these best practices describe the floors. But we've learned for centuries that you can’t just pile up the floors without having a foundation, a fundament below it.
If you want learn in detail how USM and ITIL relate, you can read “How to make a success of ITIL® 4 with USM”. In short: ITIL is about practices, USM is about principles. The same applies to COBIT, FitSM, or any of the alternatives out there: great additional guidance, but they lack the information on the foundation that can turn the guidance into a success. That's what you need USM for...

Ask yourself: “What is the benefit of having a fundament below the floors of my building?”. Your answer will contain terms like sustainability, efficiency, etc.

But in practice, of course, it is completely illogical not to lay a foundation under your building. And yet we neglect to do so in service management. With USM you can fix that.

First of all: if you find anything that really does the same as USM, please let us know. We can always learn and improve. But we consider USM to be new thinking, based on complexity reduction and systems thinking.
Making the world aware of this is done by means of knowledge exchange: the SURVUZ Foundation delivers a website, regular introduction sessions, articles, etc., and we manage LinkedIN groups with some 250.000 experts that we can send a message now and then. We trust that word-of-mouth will contribute to the spreading of the word. Also, our partners will approach their market sections with their own messages. And we invest in higher public education: we support business schools and universities with free online learning environment.

Once you understand USM, you will find that you will able to deliver much more value to your customer/employer in shorter time, and with a more sustainable effect. You will soon find out that your customer/employer will be very happy and reward you for this value.

It’s not the one or the other, but the one and the other. USM provides the information about the fundament (the principles and the management system) and ITIL, COBIT and other frameworks offer inspiration about possible practices.

Certified USM Coaches will be able to measure the performance of a service organization with the assessment tools in their toolkit. We’re working on a self-assessment that will provide an entry into the idea of assessing your performance.
Beware: if you would assess your organization, you should be very much aware of the reference model (USM) that you’re assessing against. As most organizations abuse the term ‘process’ and have an inconsistent use of the term ‘service’, you should first understand the structure of the management system that you’re assessing against.

USM will do much more than that. On page one, each of those standards refers to the required management system, and then describes a long list or requirements to fulfil. It doesn't say how to set up such a management system, only what you should do with it for that specific standard. The only information ISO offers on management systems is in ISO 9001, which again only describes the requirements for management systems. In that perspective, ISO is a dead-end alley. USM is the missing piece here: USM defines a service management architecture and then specifies how to set up a standard management system. Once you've deployed USM, you'll then see you have already complied with 60-70% of all requirements in each of these ISO standards. The rest of the requirements can then be realized with the USM management system, for a consistent result. It will not only save you huge effort and a lot of money, it will also be enough to do this only once, so you won't have to be afraid of the auditor coming by every one or two years.

First of all, you will need to find a definition that everyone can understand and that is applicable to each and every situation and to each line of business. This is the USM definition of a service: “A service is a supported facility”.

If you translate that to the business of these people, they will soon understand that it actually comes down to two things:

  1. making a facility available in such a way that it adds value to the user
  2. supporting these users during the time they have (agreed) access to that facility

That facility will vary with the line of business and with the organization, but the support is always exactly the same.

All these modes are practices, defined by the People and the Technology component of the management system. The universal USM management system supports all practices with the same service management principles, the same service management architecture, and the same service management processes. USM provides the patterns for all these practices.

For the simple reason that USM is complementary with the popular frameworks and standards. All frameworks and standards are based on practices, while USM is based on principles. USM provides the service management system that can realize all these practices, and even any combination of these practices. USM itself does not provide all the guidance of all these frameworks, and that’s why we still need them – to get inspired by the options we have. But USM then assures that the selected practices are always managed in a systematic way.

No – most services and most agreements are currently still expressed in terms of technology. Deploying USM means that you get the opportunity to upgrade your service definitions and your service agreements to a structured format. The big benefit of this is that you will now get a standardized format that can be used as a building block to decompose services – as in outsourcing – but also to combine sub-services to one integrated whole tat a customer can still relate to. USM offers you the opportunity to make the shift to services that are more meaningful to customers

USM is based on new thinking, so it takes time before it is accepted widely. Especially in a push market that is dominated by one flavor: ITIL. The offering of USM is based on the proposition that USM provides the fundament under your building, and that you can still use ITIL guidance for the decoration of your floors. And as we all know: a building without a fundament will be at risk of collapsing when a storm hits it. A sustainable future of your organization will require a solid solution for that fundament. Most organizations completely lack the awareness of this, and as a consequence they fail to be in control. They are constantly catching up with new developments, and the chaos and complexity only grows. USM offers a way out, but it will take some time before the traditional ITIL shops will learn to see the benefits of that.

Most ITSM tools can do the basics of service management: they can handle incidents and changes, some do a bit of service level management and problem management, and most of them have a CMDB. But most of these tools do not offer the integration of everything a service provider does, especially not at the operational level: the silos are still there. This is mostly caused by the fragmented nature of most tools: they organize their functionality in modules, and these modules are not fully integrated - which means that the existing organizational silos are only reinforced by that tooling. For an integrated service delivery, you will get the best results if you build on a tool that offers the maximum integrated functionality, based on the fully integrated USM management system. Several tools offer that functionality, but only a few support it actively. For the simple reason that the sales strategy of the supplier will suffer if you succeed in doing more, in a better way, with less modules…. Luckily, there are tools out there that do support the integrated approach of USM. The SURVUZ Foundation audits these products against the specs of USM. Currently three products have passed that test: the open source tool OTRS, and two service management tools: Clientele (in the US we know this as Epicor), and 4me. You can achieve better results, make the work easier, and save a lot of money if you would use one of these products.

There are many:

  • It is a practice framework with 5 processes.
  • Traditional perspective of process (versus ‘practice’ view).
  • It applies only to smaller organizations.
  • It has not been fully field-tested.

Most of these and other misconceptions are due to experienced practitioners taking a ‘Quick Look’ at USM and quickly making judgements before really understanding what it’s all about… re-enforced by the inherent bias of existing knowledge and vested interests in what’s making them money today. They really should ”seek first to understand, then to be understood” …. especially if they really are about continuous improvement…. Beware the nature of the beast!

USM’s greatest gifts are as follows:

  1. a non-redundant, integral and integrated process model of 5 processes that has been field tested for almost a decade
  2. a universal, unambiguous, and logically repeatable definition of a service
  3. a carefully thought out set of principles and a method for applying them to any service provider for any service in any line of business
  4. the specification of this in an enterprise service management architecture, enabling the development of sustainable service delivery solutions

Highly dependent on context and what you consider to be ‘implemented’…

In fact, since USM is a method, you could argue

  1. that it can be learned very quickly, or
  2. that establishing it as a standard routine across an enterprise will (and should) take forever

Quality is never ‘done’.

Why would that be so? In fact, with far fewer processes and only 8 standard workflows, USM makes a strong case that it is simpler that many other approaches… It also does not preclude the use of other methods and practices. On the opposite: USM supports the application of any combination of best practice guidance from any framework , enabling a structured approach for maximum effectiveness and maximum efficiency.

Highly dependent on context and what you consider to be ‘implemented’…

In fact, since USM is a method, you could argue:

  1.  that it can be learned very quickly,
  2.  that establishing it as a standard routine across an enterprise will (and should) take forever

Quality is never ‘done’.

Highly dependent on context and what you consider to be ‘implemented’…

In fact, since USM is a method, you could argue

  1. that it can be learned very quickly
  2. that establishing it as a standard routine across an enterprise will (and should) take forever

Quality is never ‘done’.

Typical challenges associated with any transformative change effort… misunderstanding, fatigue, resistance, lack of clear scope, resource allocation, etc.