Service Management (SM) is a general term for managing service organizations. Service management has been applied to organizations in many industries, as evidenced by the following examples from recent decades:

  • IT Service Management (ITSM)* is the management routine of an IT service provider
  • Integrated Service Management (ISM)** is a methodical application of service management to IT service providers; known as 'the ISM method'
  • Functional Service Management (FSM) is the methodical application of service management to Business Information Management; known as 'the FSM method'
  • Unified Service Management (USM)*** is the methodical application of service management to a service domain, whether it concerns IT, other facility tasks or primary tasks; known as  'the USM method'
  • Business Service Management (BSM) is a term for the application of service management to primary process domains ("the business") - in practice this is easily supported with the USM method
  • Enterprise Service Management (ESM)**** is a term for the application of service management in an end-to-end setting of a service organization; in practice, USM supports both the individual disciplines and the whole enterprise
  • Facility Service Management is better known under the short name Facility Management (FM) - the domain that is fully supported by the USM method
  • Field Service Management (also FSM) is an application of service management to workflows and logistical resources during maintenance work (also called "service") in, for example, telecoms, healthcare, waste processing; can also be supported with the USM method
  • is the site of a trade union for the cleaning industry….

Service management is, therefore, a generic concept. It cannot be claimed by one specific industry. The term method is also generic. The combination of the two brings us the concept of a Service Management Method:

Service Management Method (SMM): a fixed, well-thought-out course of action, based on principles, for the management of services.

The SURVUZ Foundation has specified an SMM that can be applied to all industries: Unified Service Management. The process model in this method contains only pure and singular, customer-focused processes that do not overlap with each other and that can, therefore, be used in an integrated workflow model. The USM process model includes all activities that occur in a service organization, regardless of whether they are placed at a strategic, tactical or operational level: processes are independent of the management perspective. The USM process model combines all the insights from modern process models, but goes a considerable step further, making the model more learnable and applicable, but above all better supported with workflow tooling.

Working methodically

If you approach service management methodically, you will, for example, get an ISM, FSM, BSM, ESM or FM method, each a variant of these SMMs. The USM process model is the final step in the evolution of process models, and in its generic form supports all these methods in a straightforward way. All methods (read What is a method) have a special feature in common: the method is always independent of its application. SMMs can be applied to different domains. The result of that application therefore always bears the characteristics of that specific domain. A useful classification of service management in practice is, for example, based on the primary/secondary paradigm, distinguishing:

  • general supporting disciplines such as IT management, Business Information Management, Facility Management, Medical Technology, Human Resources. Here we find e.g. ITSM, ISM, FSM, ESM and FM, but in all cases also USM.
  • combinations thereof in interdisciplinary Shared Service Centers (iSSCs). Here we find ESM and USM.
  • specific industry applications such as municipal services, healthcare services, banking services. Here we find BSM, ESM, and USM.

The application of a service management method in these different domains leads to a uniform approach that simplifies supply chain management and outsourcing to a high degree. Using the same language and approach for different service domains promotes the "manageability" of those domains at the "enterprise" level and in supply chains.


* The term IT Service Management has been a common term for decades. Nevertheless, in 2004 (where the British Computer Society failed in 2006), itSMF France succeeded in registering this term as a brand. The deposition has since expired….

** The term Integrated Service Management was used for the first time in 1996 (IT Beheer Jaarboek, Jan van Bon ed.), and in 1999 it was registered as a Benelux brand, by Bureau Hoving & Van Bon (BHVB) and KPN.

*** Unified Service Management is a term that was introduced by Inform-IT in 2016, when developing a generic service management method.

**** The term Enterprise Service Management was first used in 1999 by BHVB, as the rationale under the ISM method, and was even registered as a Benelux trademark. In the following years, the term was used occasionally by mainly tool providers. Nowadays, the term is increasingly used to indicate initiatives that extend across multiple departments or disciplines, in line with the meaning that BHVB originally assigned to the term.