This blog was written to address a question asked by Ian Clayton in LinkedIn about what is the nexus of service integration and management (SIAM) and DevOps. Let’s start with some simple definitions:

  • SIAM is “a management methodology that can be applied in an environment that includes services sourced from a number of service providers. It provides governance, management, integration, assurance, and coordination to ensure that the customer organisation gets maximum value.” Source: The Service Integration and Management Foundation Body of Knowledge, available at scopism.com/free-downloads
  • DevOps is a cultural and professional movement that stresses communication, collaboration, and integration between customers that want something that requires technology and the technology professionals that can create, deliver, manage, and improve that idea or service.

To me they pretty much sound the same! Well, they have slightly different views but basically SIAM and DevOps are technology-focused movements to introduce quality, speed, and satisfaction for technology-based services. The difference is where the service is governed as this blog outlines below.

Values

DevOps and SIAM share a common set of values and principles. Reviewing these – using DevOps’ CALMS as a template – is a quick way to ascertain the similarities and differences between the two:

  • Culture: Both encourage a new way of thinking and behaving to deliver and improve a service or product. DevOps concentrates on speed of delivery while SIAM focuses on the governance of that service across various providers. They both suggest a cross-functional team to create, support, and improve the service. DevOps suggests that a product owner owns the service, while SIAM introduces a (small) team called a service integrator to act as the point of control and contact for the product or service.
  • Automation: Both SIAM and DevOps benefit from automation replacing manual tasks, facilitating monitoring and reporting, managing data and information sharing, and creating software that provides the required products or services including the virtual environment and operating system. Both are vendor or tool agnostic but strongly suggest that the tools used integrate across the lifecycle of deciding, creating, testing, agreeing to go live, going live, managing, and improving without introducing delay.
  • Lean: Lean is a customer- and employee-focused way of thinking that looks at the products or services delivered and encourages the people creating them to make it better continuously. This is coached by management in a top-down manner and if suppliers are involved, a lean organization would ensure that they are also involved in the improvement of the end-to-end value stream.
  • Measurement: You cannot rapidly create, design, deliver, and manage a technology-based service without some view of what is good, bad, or great. And metrics should cover cost, quality, time, satisfaction, compliance, reporting time, fix time, etc. DevOps suggests that these metrics are flexible enough to allow teams to do what they need. SIAM adds a layer of governance for the service provider(s) and helps to ensure that escalation and resolution are performed as required.
  • Sharing: If culture is about how to change an organization to adopt the agility, flexibility, and opportunities of best-practice technology movements such as SIAM or DevOps, then sharing underpins that change process. Sharing knowledge of what’s going to happen, practices that have worked, suitable tools, and the requirements of people or processes truly drives the innovation of services and the reduction of technical debt.

DevOps and SIAM in action

Think about the lifecycle of technology – you get a request, build a case, do some design, code your service, test that service, enable the service to go live, and once live fix any issues or add features until the product or service is replaced or removed.

How can you improve that flow of work with the right people, processes, tools, and governance to perform these activities and improve them overtime? DevOps will help from the technology aspect and SIAM can help provide the governance layer for that service or product (if multiple suppliers are used).

You have a value stream of activities across the product/service lifecycle that can be measured, discussed at all levels, improved with the use of technology, and delivered to the customer in a consistent and reliable manner. SIAM is going to suggest that you create a strong governance but DevOps will encourage that this governance structure be flexible enough to not stifle the agility of delivery and improvement. Which leads to the culture of sharing and improvement as mentioned above.

So, there you have it – there is a nexus of SIAM and DevOps and it’s ultimately about how to best integrate the providers of services that employ technology to help organizations remove obstacles and achieve their goals.