VeriSM™ in a VUCA World

Well, I doubt by now that there is anyone in the service management industry that has not heard about VeriSM™.

If you haven’t click on this link to the official website page, this link to the official LinkedIn group or have a look at some of the conversations taking place on the Back2ITSM Facebook page – always a good source of ‘opinion’.

I was approached in July this year (2017) and asked if I would like to participate as an author on a project, which at that time had a working title of New Service Management.

Following a brief discussion with Chief Architect Clare Agutter, my answer was a whopping yes!

There were numerous drivers for the creation of the VeriSM publication (to be launched in December 2017) and the associated certification (to be launched in January 2018).

The ones that especially resonated with me were:

• Holistic service management
• Digital transformation or digital disruption

Holistic Service Management

In my mind, there are two parts to this. The first is a recognition that service management has to be an organisational capability, not an IT capability.

Every organisation has to focus on delivery of value to the consumer in return of value for the service provider, whether in the public or private sector.

The delivery of value-add services to consumers involves many parts of the organisation, not just IT. It can involve finance, marketing, public relations, manufacturing, sales, legal, logistics and so on.

The second part is that there are many ‘tools’ that can underpin the service management capability.

The list of available ‘tools’ includes ITIL, Lean, Agile, DevOps, and SIAM to name a few. None of them are particularly new in the scheme of things but an active discussion which still permeates the service management industry is “which one do we use?’ The question should not be “which one?” but what is the outcome that we are trying to achieve (which delivers value to the consumer) and what tools are best suited to help deliver that outcome.

If we only have a screwdriver and hammer in our toolkit, they are not going to be much use when we need to do some sanding!

VeriSM helps organisations develop their organisational service management capability by using an integrated set of approaches and acknowledges that the approaches used will change over time as the organisation has to change direction when internal and external conditions prevail.

VeriSM is:
• Value-driven: focuses on providing value to the business
• Evolving: an up to date approach which will continually evolve
• Responsive: facilitates a tailored approach depending on the business situation
• Integrated: helps you fit all the different practices together
• Service
• Management

The actual definition:

Verism is the artistic preference of contemporary everyday subject matter instead of the heroic or legendary in art and literature; it is a form of realism.

Read those last 4 words again and you have the reason for VeriSM.

Digital transformation or digital disruption

I agree with many that these are buzzwords at the moment and have different meaning to different people.

I would rather refer to digital disruption because we have been transforming for a long time!

The first computers were introduced in the 1930s but we have been finding faster and automated ways of doing things way before that. The dishwasher was invented in 1886 and the first electric vacuum cleaner introduced in 1901.

It is the speed with which things are changing that is being about the disruption.

We are living in VUCA world – hence the title of this post.

VUCA is not a new acronym. It was coined by the military to describe conditions following the Cold War. It is used to describe and reflect upon the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world we live in.

It has been adopted in the business world to describe the environment and the challenges facing organisations today.

• Volatility: An unrelenting increase the speed and turbulence of change

• Uncertainty: As a result of the Volatility, we are unable to predict future events.

• Complexity: Widespread confusion, with no clear connection between cause and effect, affects all organisations nowadays.

• Ambiguity: the multitude of options and potential outcomes resulting from them

Service providers have to be able to rapidly respond and adapt to the constant changes brought about by the needs of the consumer and the capabilities of the provider.

The organisation’s service management capability will be critical to it being able to remain flexible and responsive as well as value driven.

The challenges we face are not going to stop growing in size and increasing in velocity. VeriSM helps make sense of the growing landscape of frameworks that are trying to help address those challenges. It provides the glue that holds all those frameworks together to ensure value is delivered, whilst being ready to adapt the mix and combination in response to changing needs.


It is important to note that VeriSM does not introduce some new-fangled way of working.

It will not ask you to throw out what you use today.

What it will do is show you how to fit all the available approaches, as needed, into an overall organizational context.

It will show you how to flexibly adopt different management practices to meet different service management situations in a world in which change is now constant, volatile, uncertainly, complex and ambiguous.

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