ACS (Australian Computer Society) has unveiled a new accreditation scheme designed to give Australians greater confidence when using the ICT services of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The Trust Mark scheme, launched at the ACS Innovation Hub in Sydney, provides a baseline standard for Australian businesses as they assist others in their digital transformation.

Specifically aimed at SMEs, the scheme affords an independent assurance that registered organisations maintain procedures and controls as part of their commitment to meeting the requirements of customers.

“Australia has some unique characteristics. We are a large country with businesses spread wide and far, and for the most part, small in size. Our Trust Mark has adopted international best practice principles and developed a scheme which is unique and fit for purpose in Australia,” said ACS Director of Workforce Planning and Development, Louise Smith.

“Recognition under the Scheme represents an independent assurance that these organisations have implemented and maintained appropriate customer interfaces, competence, project management and document control as part of their commitment to understanding and meeting the service requirements of their customers,” she said.

Although comprehensive, the Trust Mark scheme requirements are designed to be relevant and manageable for SMEs.

Smith said that although the ACS requirements closely correlate with the AS ISO 20000.1 service management system requirements, they are created to be more accessible for SMEs.

The initiative is viewed as a stepping stone for businesses obtaining certification to the requirements in AS/ISO 20000.1:2013 or ‘AS/ISO lite.’

“Trust Mark recognition will give SMEs an edge in the market as customers will be aware of the high standards they have had to achieve in order to gain this recognition, and we are encouraged to see organisations like Touchpoint and First Focus immediately seeing value in the program,” said ACS CEO, Andrew Johnson.

Speaking at the launch, the NSW Chief Data Scientist and Vice President (Academic) of ACS’s Technical Advisory Board. Dr Ian Opperman, highlighted the importance of garnering trust as an enterprise in the fast-moving ICT space.

“I spend a lot of my time sharing data for really important projects inside NSW Government, but ultimately every transaction – every time you share, every time you exchange, every financial transaction – is based on trust. Ultimately, it’s people dealing with people,” he said.

“One thing you can’t do is declare yourself to be trusted. Having a peak body like ACS, which has society’s interest as a whole at its heart, is a really good way of getting that trust without having to declare it yourself.”