Architecture, which defines the fundamental organization of a system, is characterized by its components, the relationships between those components and with their environment, and the principles that are used to guide the design and further development of the objects involved. As such, service management also has its own architecture: the service management architecture (SMA).

Service management architecture: The fundamental organization of a service management system in its components, their relationships with each other and the environment, and the principles that guide its design and development.

Architecture enables an organization to make consistent decisions in the future. If you are considering improving your service organization, then a service management method based on a powerful service management architecture is the appropriate approach. Practical means and instruments have been made available on the basis of a sound theoretical foundation. With USM this approach is made suitable for all types of service delivery. The USM method is independent of the tools that your organization already uses. Dozens of organizations have already illustrated how they have learned to apply such a method to their great satisfaction.

Service management architecture (SMA) is a unique offer of the SURVUZ Foundation, assisting organizations to use a standardized service management method throughout their organization. This standardization enables the integration of services and disciplines in an Enterprise Service Management or Integrated Facility Management strategy.

USM applies a three-layer architecture according to the image below.

Frameworks, models and standards

An SMA often applies frameworks. Most of these are determined by a best practice approach: these frameworks describe routines and provisions that (apparently) work well in practice. Examples are ITIL, ASL, BiSL, COBIT and IT4IT.

When applying an SMA, information architecture models are always important: all management systems use information flows. These models (TOGAF, eTOM, etc.) mainly offer guidance in terms of the design of information processing. These models are also largely determined by a best practice approach.

In addition, standards play a role: general standards describe formal requirements that have been accepted to a greater or lesser extent by the market. Compliance with such standards feeds the confidence that an organization that complies with it does "good". These standards are also largely determined by a best practice approach. Examples include ISO20000, ISO27000, ISO9000, ISO15504 (SPICE), ISO41000 and their derived products such as TIPA.

Rules versus principles

All these sources actually provide information about the goals to be achieved, and can therefore be characterized as rule-based approaches that originate in best practices. For example, anyone who thinks that an organization can be efficiently set up by introducing the more than 80 practices of ITIL, ASL and BiSL (and preferably COBIT) and combining these on interfaces, fights a lost battle in advance. A more sustainable approach can be found with a principle-based approach, as provided by an SMA (read "Rules versus principles"). USM made a very explicit choice in terms of its underpinning principles.

Deploying an SMA

An SMA can be used in practice to realize the goals - or combinations of goals - from different frameworks, models and standards, in such a way that the organization itself learns why it applies those practices in practice. This prevents the known relapse behavior when applying best practices, and saves the organization costs and lead time of improvement projects. In short:

A sustainable improvement of a service organization requires a service management architecture.