The term service management system is composed of three terms: service, management and system. The definition of a service management system is logically based on the definitions of those three components.

What is a system?

Without a doubt, Russel Ackoff was one of the greatest leaders in the Systems Thinking domain. He defined a system not as the sum of the parts, but as the result of the interaction of those parts: "the essential properties that define any system are properties of the whole which none of the parts have."

A system is more than the sum of its parts; it is an indivisible whole. It loses its essential properties when it is taken apart. The elements of a system may themselves be systems, and every system may be part of a larger system. ...The basic managerial idea introduced by systems thinking, is that to manage a system effectively, you might focus on the interactions of the parts rather than their behavior taken separately.’

In proper English, we define a system therefore as a coherent set of components, characterized by the performance of that set and not by the characteristics of the components. In order to function properly, such a system must be efficiently arranged and the components must be a logically related set. If you want to learn more on the term 'system', you may want to study the great overview that Graham Berrisford has put online.

What is a management system?

Managing is the organizing and coordinating of resources, for an effective and efficient realization of goals. In organization, these resources are composed of organizational resources. Decades ago, we learned that an organization can be pictured as people doing things with stuff. These organizational resources are the people, the processes they execute and the stuff they use: People, Process & Technology.

The management system is the coherent set of organizational resources for the effective and efficient creation of organization goals.

ISO 9000:2015 defines the requirements that a management system should comply with. That is an incomplete set of requirements, but more importantly: ISO9001 does not define how a management system is constructed. That is where USM demonstrates its added value.

What is a service management system?

A service is a supported facility. Services are provided by service providers and consumed by service consumers (customers and their users).

A service management system therefore is a management system that is used for managing services:

A service management system is the coherent set of organizational resources that can be used to effectively and efficiently realize the goals of the service organization.

Why is a service management system important?

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USM defines a universal service management system. USM focuses at the realization of that service management system and therefore at the routines the service organization applies for the demonstrable realization of agreed services.

The USM definitions are based on the theoretical definitions of Systems Thinking (see above) and they focus on those routines:

  • Management system: a set of coherent elements that generate routines for the realization of organizational goals.
  • Service management system: a management system for a service organization.

The service management system realizes the goals of the service organization in a structured way. The service management system, for example, defines the organizational structure, tasks, powers and responsibilities of the profiles, rules and guidelines, culture, resources and routines (processes, procedures and work instructions). The key factor is the universal process architecture, providing the fundament for all routines.

The USM Repository

A service management system is applicable to one or more service disciplines, such as IT, HRM, finance, telephony or health care, for a single team of the organization, for multiple teams or for the entire organization. It is easy to see that the use of a common service management system for several teams or even for the entire organization will positively influence the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. The USM book covers all components and aspects of the service management system. Chapter 9 deals with the applications in practice.