Professionalism and Credentialing in Service Management
June 21, 2011
Matthew Burrows
Share this

We have a number of qualifications and certifications in our industry, but these often only prove our textbook understanding and our ability to pass exams. The sheer quantity and structure of some of these can make it extremely confusing. As a result it is difficult for individuals, employers, customers and all involved in Service Management.

I can tell by the amount of discussion and activity, and the number of invitations I’ve received this year to talk about this subject at conferences and seminars, that this is an area many are looking for help with.

Employers and Recruitment Agencies, and customers buying service management-related services (consultancy and training), would be helped if they had some standardized way of assessing the skills, experience, capability and professional standing of individuals.

Service Management professionals, whether working in an operational environment, providing consultancy or training services, or any other aspect of service management, would benefit from the ability to demonstrate their professional standing, competency and experience.

Professionalism in Service Management

Some argue about whether Service Management is a profession. A common definition is that a professional is someone who gets paid – as simple as that! I would hope that the majority of us operate in a professional manner, striving to ensure we act in an ethical and moral way.

If we want to be seen as professionals, and be recognized in a similar way to other professions such as Doctors, Pilots, Accountants and Lawyers, we need to demonstrate certain things. You wouldn’t be happy to fly in an airplane where the pilot has no practical flying experience to support the various desk-based courses and examinations he has successfully passed. Pilots have to show they can actually fly a plane by flying it under the guidance of an instructor for many hours, maintaining their skills by flying on a regular basis and continuing to prove other core capabilities and their fitness to operate – which includes medical tests, more theory and more practical flying tests.

As individuals working in Service Management, wouldn’t it be good to be able to get better professional recognition and to provide independently-verified proof of our professional standing, including our practical experience and capability on top of the list of qualifications and certifications?

As someone hiring service management staff or looking for consultancy or training services, wouldn’t it be good to have some additional tools which help evaluate and differentiate between different candidates or offerings.

itSMF International have introduced a new credentialing scheme for all itSMF Chapters and members around the globe. This aims to provide a set of internationally-recognized credentials to meet the needs described above.

In addition, the wider use of SFIA – the Skills Framework for the Information Age, is also evident with many training organizations aligning and advertising which SFIA skills each course is designed to support. Customer organizations and their Recruitment Agencies, looking to hire Service Management staff, are using SFIA to define the job roles and responsibilities. Consultancy Service Providers are aligning their consultants to SFIA levels, and using SFIA to describe their capabilities.

About SFIA

The SFIA Foundation is a not-for-profit organization whose members are BCS, e-skills UK, IET, IMIS and itSMF UK.

The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) provides a common reference model for the identification of the skills needed to develop effective Information Systems (IS) making use of Information Communications Technologies (ICT). It is a simple and logical two-dimensional framework consisting of areas of work on one axis and levels of responsibility on the other.

It uses a common language and a sensible, logical structure that can be adapted to the training and development needs of a very wide range of businesses – or simply used ‘off the shelf’.

SFIA enables employers of IT professionals to carry out a range of HR activities against a common framework of reference - including skill audit, planning future skill requirements, development programs, standardization of job titles and functions, and resource allocation.

It is easily accessible to ICT practitioners and users, employers, education and training providers, and government.

What is priSM®?

priSM®(Professional Recognition for IT Service Management), is a credentialing program aimed at IT Service Management professionals. The program provides a framework and guidance for continuing professional development while building upon member’s existing training, certifications, education, and experience. The achievement of a priSM credential aims to provide the individual with a broad range of benefits including industry and potential employer recognition, and post nominal use (depending on level achieved).

In addition to having to meet a clear set of criteria to gain the credential in the first place, Credential Holders have to commit to Continual Professional Development (CPD) which is tested each year in order for them to maintain the credential, and they must sign and abide by a Code of Ethics. The priSM Institute provides support to these individuals through CPD and Mentoring, which is backed up by the local itSMF Chapters events and other activities.

The priSM® mission is to promote professional recognition of Service Management professionals based on their experience, educational achievements and professional activities. This helps to move our profession in an important direction, supporting service management professionals throughout their careers and helping those who hire staff or consultants.

priSM® is owned by itSMF International, and is being rolled out globally. The Regional priSM Institute for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and the Regional Institute for the Americas are both fully operational. The Regional Institute for Asia Pacific is due to be established later in 2011.

A growing number of itSMF Chapters around the globe are now involved, and many people have successfully applied for priSM credentials.

For more information on priSM see The priSM Institute website.

What’s the difference between a Credential (like priSM), a Certification and Membership?

Credential: awarded to an individual based on specific criteria and then maintained via a specified program of activities

Certification: based on achieving a specific set of skills, usually ‘tested’ via an exam

Membership: fee-based group that requires one to abide by group rules and pay annual dues for individual or corporate membership (for example, itSMF)

The priSM credential is owned by the priSM Institute and the credential holder must continue to ‘earn’ that credential through annual Continual Professional Development (CPD) activity.

About Matthew Burrows

Matthew Burrows is President of ISM and Managing Director at BSMimpact, as well as a regular blogger on BSMdigest's The BSM Blog. BSMimpact is a UK-based boutique consulting firm specializing in Business Service Management and Transformation. The company's impressive client list includes O2, British Airways, IBM, HP/Compaq, Centrica (British Gas), Vodafone, BMC, BT, Unilever, Virgin Mobile, and more. Burrows also serves as a Council Member for the SFIA Foundation, Lead for the Global priSM Institute Advisory Committee, President of the Institute of IT Service Management, and a Management Board Member for itSMF UK.

Related Links:

BSM - More Useful Than ITSM

Share this

The Latest

December 05, 2019

Application performance monitoring (APM) has become one of the key strategies adopted by IT teams and application owners in today’s era of digital business services. Application downtime has always been considered adverse to business productivity. But in today’s digital economy, what is becoming equally dreadful is application slowdown. When an application is slow, the end user’s experience accessing the application is negatively affected leaving a dent on the business in terms of commercial loss and brand damage ...

December 04, 2019

Useful digital transformation means altering or designing new business processes, and implementing them via the people and technology changes needed to support these new business processes ...

December 03, 2019
The word "digital" is today thrown around in word and phrase like rice at a wedding and never do two utterances thereof have the same meaning. Common phrases like "digital skills" and "digital transformation" are explained in 101 different ways. The outcome of this is a predictable cycle of confusion, especially at business management level where often the answer to business issues is "more technology" ...
December 02, 2019

xMatters recently released the results of its Incident Management in the Age of Customer-Centricity research study to better understand the range of various incident management practices and how the increased focus on customer experience has caused roles across an organization to evolve. Findings highlight the ongoing challenges organizations face as they continue to introduce and rapidly evolve digital services ...

November 26, 2019

The new App Attention Index Report from AppDynamics finds that consumers are using an average 32 digital services every day — more than four times as many as they realize. What's more, their use of digital services has evolved from a conscious decision to carry around a device and use it for a specific task, to an unconscious and automated behavior — a digital reflex. So what does all this mean for the IT teams driving application performance on the backend? Bottom line: delivering seamless and world-class digital experiences is critical if businesses want to stay relevant and ensure long-term customer loyalty. Here are some key considerations for IT leaders and developers to consider ...

November 25, 2019

Through the adoption of agile technologies, financial firms can begin to use software to both operate more effectively and be faster to market with improvements for customer experiences. Making sure there is the necessary software in place to give customers frictionless everyday activities, like remote deposits, business overdraft services and wealth management, is key for a positive customer experience ...

November 21, 2019

For the past two years, Couchbase has been digging into enterprises' digital strategies. Can they deliver the experiences and services their end-users need? What pressure are they under to innovate and succeed? And what is driving investments in new technologies? ...

November 20, 2019

Adapting to new business requirements and technological shifts requires that IT Ops teams adopt a different viewpoint, and along with that, skills and culture. A survey by OpsRamp uncovered some common thinking among IT Operations leaders on how to address talent, budget, and data management pains amid digital disruption ...

November 19, 2019

Unexpected and unintentional drops in network quality, so-called network brownouts, cause serious financial damage and frustrate employees. A recent survey sponsored by Netrounds reveals that more than 60% of network brownouts are first discovered by IT’s internal and external customers, or never even reported, instead of being proactively detected by IT organizations ...

November 18, 2019

Digital transformation reaches into every aspect of our work and personal lives, to the point that there is an automatic expectation of 24/7, anywhere availability regarding any organization with an online presence. This environment is ripe for artificial intelligence, so it's no surprise that IT Operations has been an early adopter of AI ...