An Interview with Claire Agutter, Chief Architect of VeriSM

Conscious that not everyone in the real world reads books, or has time to investigate, we at Bright Horse decided to help inform you, our customers on the wide range of frameworks and models currently available in IT/Business, and to try and help you to understand how and why they might be appropriate for your specific transformation journey.


So, our first interview – with our first industry luminary! If you haven’t seen Claire on social media or talking at an industry event as part of the world launch, she is the Chief Architect of VeriSM, and we are delighted that she is kicking off our new series ‘Straight From The Horses Mouth’.

Claire – can you please explain to us the purpose of VeriSM – and what is it all about?

VeriSM is linked to digital transformation, and the fact that IT doesn’t just live in the IT department anymore.

Gartner have quoted that 30% of IT spend is now happening outside of IT, in the development of digital products & services, with more focus on automation. The concept of an IT person is evolving. We have to change.

What were the key drivers for this in the market?

There were a few different drivers for VeriSM. Within the ITSM industry there was the feeling that certain practices haven’t caught up, many organisations don’t know what digital transformation is and are trying to make sense of that. The other element was the other frameworks, standards and methods (like Lean, Agile, DevOps, SIAM) which are confusing organisations.

For sure and to that last point – which is why we are doing these interviews!

What is your background and how did you end up as the Chief Architect?

I have been in Service Management my whole career, went to university, dropped out and went into a job on the Service Desk. From there evolved and was a change analyst, a change manager, then became involved in ITSM implementations.

I have owned ITSM Zone as a training business for the past 10 years, I run Scopism which is a publisher for SIAM BOK, and run an e-consultancy practice.

As an individual I am very project driven – I did SIAM BOK in 2016, then onto the professional BOK then became involved with VeriSM and was asked to lead the programme.

That is a lot of work – so what gets you out of bed in the morning – what are you passionate about?

I am insatiably curious about how businesses can work better, I am in IT Service Management – as a part of the service rather than as a part of IT, I can and have talked to lots of companies and experts around the subject.

There are a LOT of frameworks, models, bodies of knowledge – how many does one industry need?

There is a tendency towards tribalism which prevents collaboration across all of the frameworks, which is needed in the bigger picture moving forward. VeriSM includes the concept of the management mesh which sits across all of the existing models and looks at what an organisation is trying to achieve – then applies the elements appropriate to achieve that – which could be ITIL, DevOps, COBIT or SIAM, there is no one defined way of working.

Who owns VeriSM?

The IFDC (International Foundation of Digital Competences) was formed because the field of Service Management is changing quickly as the industry shifts towards digital transformation, evolution of new management practices and the ‘commoditisation of IT’. As a result, IT and business operations are no longer separate. Organisations of every size and background require a flexible Service Management method to facilitate them in their development.

IFDC to put a team together to create the new approach – but didn’t want to put another product into the market alongside the other IT frameworks. We wanted to take it back to basics; look at what an organisation is trying to achieve, then apply the appropriate level of specific elements, give them a structure and show them how they fit these pieces together.

Who is behind IFDC?

The foundation is comprised of a number of organisations that exist within the Service Management space: EXIN, BCS, APMG, Van Haren.

For the launch of the first book we worked with a massive author group from around the world and it was published October 2017. This looked at VeriSM as a concept, model and the management mesh. We embarked on a global launch tour, actively looking for feedback, which was phenomenal – but we are now being asked ‘HOW’ to do it.

Training courses are coming out, and the IFDC are keen to be community driven, looking at setting up communities of practice with consultants, software vendors, and most importantly the end user community of practice.

We are equipping people for learning AND changing.

So what are the next steps?

We have around 70 people collaborating on the second book analysing how to apply all of this in practice. We are working with VeriSM early adopters who are taking on the model. The big thing for me is not to create something academic and dry into the market, but to show how other organisations are working. The author team are all starting to share practices – Vocalink, AutoTrader and Sky Betting and Gaming are all involved.

There is a detailed case study on AutoTrader in the first book. They went from a print to a digital business and launched on stock market very successfully, and have also built additional services on top of car sales – providing intelligence for car dealerships.

It is relatively easy to sell the concepts to training and consulting organisations, but for me to have early adopters and end users being interested, the greater the uptake and subsequent stories, the better it will be.

Final thoughts?

From a context perspective it is easy to be dismissive of digital transformation – but the pace of change in public and private sector means that organisations do need to think about how to transform, automate, intervene early, market themselves – how to respond to budget cuts and do things differently. The technology exists – it’s the organisations and people who are not structured to take advantage of it.

Claire, it has been a pleasure, thank you for your time and perspective, it is very much appreciated.


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