Mark Braham's article poses an interesting hidden question. Will the new ISO regime at long last enable businesses to operate around a single (i.e. unified) management system?

With a few caveats, we believe it will.

Unlike management regimes and fashions that have gone before it, ISO:2015 contains all of the seeds for success. It:

  • focuses the organisation on the value it delivers: not its meaningless functional silos;
  • is process-enabled, which when combined with a value-driven model facilitates true business improvement: top-down, bottom-up and end-to end;
  • encompasses all activities: not just those that can be automated and creates a framework where all can be managed under the same roof.

Of course there will always be the naysayers. There will be those that refuse to adopt a process-driven approach to operational management: preferring to stick doggedly to reams of ineffective procedures. There will also be those that follow the BPM route: adhering to the dictum that automation is the answer to everything. But we believe that both groups will eventually see the error of their ways. The procedure adherents will see their competitors take market share as the effectiveness and agility improvements resulting from process cause and effect analysis have a marked impact. The automation crowd will finally see - as most CEOs have already seen - that you cannot exclude the human forever. To do so is expensive folly.

So what are our caveats? Firstly, ISO: 2015 will be for many organisations a major leap forward - possibly one that they have to take in much smaller steps in order to make it work. Secondly, despite all common sense, the procedural approach to standards management seems to be growing rather than waning at the moment. Either that will have to change or the ISO regime will have to adapt if it is to have the impact its surely promises.