ITILFND01 Service Management as a Practice

01-1 Describe the concept of best practices in the public domain (SS 2.1.7, Fig 2.3)

Best practices are a way of doing things that has been shown by others to produce good results. Generally, best practices will be developed and proven by leading organizations independently. These best practices are sometimes gathered and published so that they can become widely adopted. ITIL is the most recognized and widely used collection of best practice guidance in the industry. Sometimes these best practices are codified into a standard by which organizations can be reasonably objectively measured. ISO/IEC 20000 is an international standard based on the ITIL framework that serves this purpose for IT service management organizations. Sometimes organizations will protect their independently developed best practices as proprietary knowledge because they believe that it gives them a competitive advantage or it remains protected simply because they have never committed it to writing.

For those organizations seeking operational excellence it is recommended that publically available best practices be the starting point upon which further proprietary improvements can be developed. There are several reasons why it is advantageous to start with publically available best practices:

  • Attempting to replicate the proprietary knowledge of others is difficult because it can be unique to the culture of the organization, it is often poorly documented, and it is difficult to extract all of its elements even with the cooperation of the owners
  • Proprietary knowledge is customized to the needs of the business where it was created and my further be customized to the local or business type. This makes it of little value for replication.
  • Proprietary knowledge is often considered valuable by its owners who look to be compensated for sharing it with others. It can often be expensive to acquire.
  • Public frameworks and standards are designed to be applicable across a wide range of environments. Many organizations have used them and proven them in diverse situations. This makes them easier to adopt into your organization. Some of the frameworks and standards useful in the IT context are: ITIL, LEAN, Six Sigma, COBIT, CMMI, PRINCE2, PMBOK, ISO 9000, ISO/IEC 20000, and ISO/IEC 27001.

For these reasons, smart organizations maximize the use of public frameworks and standards to form a base of common highly performing organizational capabilities upon which they build specific proprietary capabilities. What is common and widely understood should be done in a common best practice fashion. What is unique to your organization and only understood by your organization should get special attention by internal specialists as opportunity for increased competitive advantage.

 The above content was adapted from the ITIL Service Strategy book section 2.1.7 to meet the ITIL Foundation exam requirement 01-1. Figure 2.3 is also part of the subject matter for this exam requirement. The figure is NOT reproduced here in an effort to respect the OGC copyright. It will be reproduced and discussed in the licensed version of my updated “IT Service Management Foundations: ITIL Study Guide” book and my licensed version of the ITIL foundation course.


Ron B Palmer
Ron B Palmer

Ron B Palmer is an internationally recognized expert on IT Service Management who also writes on strategy as it applies universally irrespective of its application in business, war, or politics. Ron’s approach is grounded in concepts such as quality, systems theory, complexity, fractals, and Economics. Ron holds the ITIL Service Manager and ITIL Expert certifications as well as numerous ISO/IEC 20000 certifications.