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Which Service Management Framework is the Best?

Do you assume that all IT service management programs must adhere to the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL)?   In truth, there are several other frameworks available and efforts underway.    Most are variations of or are rooted in ITIL but may apply to a specific environment or context.  Some are very comprehensive, while others advocate a “lighter” approach.   A service lifecycle is an ongoing theme.   None are meant to be highly prescriptive.
Which is right for you?  Of course the answer is “it depends” on your goals, resources and business models. 
To meet the needs of organizations that were overwhelmed by the enormity of the 2000+ pages of the IT Infrastructure Library, renowned ITSM expert Malcolm Fry published “ITIL Lite”.   This approach  makes service management more realistic for organizations with fewer resources by focusing on the essentials.    ITIL Lite is an official ITIL publication.  (
For years, Microsoft has  also offered downloadable copies of its’ Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) at no cost (  MOF was intended to clarify ITIL and make it relevant to the average IT Professional.   Microsoft supplemented the MOF guidance with an extensive library of job aids, templates, question based guidance and designated management reviews.  I have always considered MOF to be “service management for the masses”.  Unfortunately, MOF did not get the intended uptake because it was seen to be Microsoft-specific.  That is in fact, not true - Microsoft actually considers you a Microsoft customer if you are running Windows on your client devices.    I highly recommend reviewing leveraging MOF’s assets in support any service management program.
Interest is also increasing in ISO/IEC 20000 (ISO20K), the international standard for IT service management.  Certification does not require the implementation of ITIL – any service management framework (including proprietary practices) can be applied in order to meet the requirements of Part 1.  What I like best about ISO 20K is that it defines the minimum critical activities that every IT service provider should be executing in order to deliver high quality services.  Whether you are interested in ISO20K certification or not, I highly recommend reading the brief, but powerful, Part 1.
Everyone should now be looking at DevOps and Agile – both in a development and operational context.   Coupled with IT service management practices, the improved workflows emanating out of DevOps and Agile will truly propel the service lifecycle forward faster.  (
One of our readers also asked about specific projects and frameworks such as FedSM (service management in federated infrastructures), DMTF (Distributed Management Task Force), CADF (Cloud Auditing Data Foundation) and a few others.  I confess that I have almost no knowledge of these efforts but respect the fact that groups are emerging to work together to improve the management, effectiveness and efficiency of IT service delivery. 
So my best advice is to learn what you can about it, cherry pick the guidance that makes sense for your organization and build a custom service management program.  The goal has never been to adopt ITIL or any other method of work.  The goal has always been to improve your ability to develop, deliver and manage high quality services that meet the needs and deliver value to your customers.


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