Interview with Jan Begg, Chair of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 40, IT Service Management and IT Governance

Posted by on Apr 23, 2018 in News | 0 comments

Chair ISO/IEC JTC1/SC 40: IT Service Management and IT GovernanceWhy are standards important for IT Service Management and IT Governance?

Rapid technological advances combined with changing expectations of people and businesses are shaping our sociotechnical future. For decades standards developed by JTC 1 have been recognized as fundamental and valuable in organizing, communicating and creating the essence of an organization. The primary aim of international standardization is to facilitate the exchange of products, goods and services through the elimination of technical barriers to trade, further it increases interoperability and promotes innovation.

Now that business operations are conducted in a data rich environment via a complex system of service provision, the governance and management of these arrangements is critical for success, survival and competitive advantage.

What is the ISO/IEC JTC 1 role in IT Service Management and IT Governance Standards? What part is SC 40 playing?

JTC 1 activities cover all aspects of information technology and digital techniques including the specification, design and development, integration and interoperability of systems, services, tools and applications. The standards developed by JTC 1 span all industries of the modern global economy and since IT penetrates every industry sector and accelerates economic growth of the global and national economies, it is a major political interest of governments and various public organizations. SC 40 was formed in late 2013 to bring the governance, service management and business process outsourcing standards and activities together in one subcommittee with Standards Australia (SA) providing the Secretariat

SC 40 is responsible for 22 published standards, with a further 9 in various stages of development and various study groups. In 2018 we have 36 participating countries, 14 observers and approximately 20 liaison relationships, including the relatively new ISO/TC 309 Governance of Organizations and ISO/TC 307 Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.

Implemented well, board level governance of information technology is a critical subset of good organizational governance and our 38500 series is recognized as better practice by regulators, auditors, policy makers and consultants across the world. At the management level ISO/IEC 20000 is one of the most successful Management System Standards (MSS), used internationally for over a decade and now being further developed for a more complex world. The IT Enabled Services-Business Process Outsourcing (ITES-BPO) providers need to deliver strategic, sustained business value while managing risks. The ISO/IEC 30105 series was developed to improve consistency, delivery quality and predictability in the delivery of ITES-BPO services. The standards aim to provide clear return on investment for customers and service providers.

How might the governance and management framework change?

The current digital age combined with shifting political and economic power has produced a steady stream of innovative technologies and unpredictable ways of conducting business. Governance principles have not changed however management systems and the way to apply the principles to new technology is the new challenge.

Imagine a boardroom where a robotic director works alongside human ones, analyzing company and competitor data, monitoring social media and making governance recommendations based on an algorithm and concepts of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Whilst the CEO and the management team react to changing patterns of customer behaviour, making rapid changes to their customer facing processes by procuring business services from across the globe.

What hasn’t changed is that CEO is expected to meet numerous short and longer term targets; hence they will pick and choose to get the outcomes being measured. The governance and management system is no longer within one organization and governance of IT is no longer simple.

Recently the Chair of the largest global organization of governance professionals issued a wake-up call to directors that they cannot make decisions in isolation, they must engage in wider issues of community and economic concern. The way we do business cannot be the way we have always done business. Increasingly boardroom discussions include digital disruption and the impact their organization has on society.

What is ahead for SC 40 in the next few years?

Our response as standards developers to digital transformation needs to be timely and practical for our customers and stakeholders. Specific guidance is being sought by our business leaders prompted by concerns about safety, security and assurance. Issues created by cyber security, big data, data analytics, IoT, autonomous systems and service delivery via cloud-based solutions may be categorized by legal, privacy and social value.

Business-model disruption due to advances in technology has been a hot topic for management, consultants and academics for at least 20 years. The discussion has finally made it to the boardroom as the list grows of traditional organizations losing market share to start-ups with highly digitized operations and low requirements for capital expenditure.

Our SC 40 work program is influenced by this changing environment and stakeholder expectations. We are progressing a full revision of 20000 series, our governance experts recently published guidance on application of 38500 to the governance of data (38505-1) and will build on that with a technical report including case studies. Work is underway on IT-enabled investments, assessment of the implementation of Governance of IT and governance of AI.

For example the ITES-BPO industry is transforming its value proposition to its customers from a pure play labour arbitrage provider to a business partner. The industry is currently driven by greater automation and the application of analytics across entire value chain, our recently published 30105 series is the first guidance targeted at this. There is a need for further standards to help both providers and clients within the BPO domain.

A number of recent high-profile incidents have underlined the lack of governance of information technology and the increased “commoditization” of services. This has been particularly noticeable in large undertakings with many third-party providers, where parent organizations have not ensured that every party has very clearly delineated areas of responsibility.

We are collaborating and cooperating across JTC1, TCs and liaison and all organizations interested in governance, service management and ITES-BPO. Where applicable we will do combined work projects within ISO/IEC, JTC 1 and technical committees to investigate such aspects as more agile approaches, concerns about privacy, fraud and compliance, smart cities, distributed ledgers and AI.

How did you get involved in developing standards and why IT Service Management and IT Governance?

JTC 1 approved the creation of the subcommittee in November 2013 and SC 40 held its first plenary meeting in Sydney in June 2014, John Sheridan, was the inaugural chair for the first 3 years and I was honoured to take over as Chair in November 2016. Since 2010 I had participated in standards development in Australia, and then led the Australian delegation to international meetings in Governance of IT and chaired the Australian mirror committee. I am the editor of a guideline on principled-based standards and have done research on implementation of strategy, presenting the findings in academic publications and at international conferences.

My early career and later executive roles were in software development and major business transformations in Australia, New Zealand, USA and UK. For over a decade I have split my time between non-executive roles in healthcare, infrastructure, education and aged care, governance consulting and pro-bono activities. I am a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and I am passionate about finding ways to apply our collective knowledge of how standardization improves the performance, compliance and success of organizations.

I am inspired and in awe of our talented SC 40 experts and participants from other organizations and committees.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *