8 Key Factors to Recognize When Implementing SIAM

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I was recently asked to present my experiences of implementing multi-vendor IT operating models, based upon the principles outlined in service integration and management good practice. The presentation was well-received, so I thought I’d expand upon some of the themes I discussed for the benefit of all.

So, please keep reading to find out the eight things I’ve learned when implementing SIAM operating models.

In this article @SteveBMorgan shares his experiences of implementing multi-vendor IT operating models, offering up eight key areas of advice to help you on your own #SIAM journey. Click To Tweet

1. Change is hard!

If you choose to adopt SIAM principles, you’ll be changing your organization’s IT operating model through a combination of changes across process, people, organization design, governance, or contracting framework. Trying to bring about any kind of change is notoriously difficult. You’ll need to adopt business change principles to understand the corporate culture, as well as the culture of the people affected by the change.

Corporate inertia and personal resistance to change are the biggest challenges facing any program of this nature and this must not be underestimated if the program is to be successful. I’d strongly suggest involving the people who’ll be impacted by the change in the early stages of the project planning. This will reduce the risk of the perception that the changes are being done “to them” rather than “by them.” Taking the people affected by the change on the journey from the start is critical.

It’s also critical to ensure that leadership are on message with the reasons for the change, how individuals will be impacted, and to allay specific fears regarding job losses.

2. SIAM isn’t just ITSM

When we talk about SIAM, it’s often tempting to consider only the IT service management (ITSM) process impacts of the SIAM approach. However, its impact is much broader than this. So, ensure that the following are also considered:

  • Demand management
  • Project management
  • Commercial management
  • Solution development
  • Technical management.

The failure to consider the entire IT operating model results in opportunities to introduce benefits being missed. So, be thorough in your analysis and broad in your thinking. You may need to consult not only with ITSM leading best practice approaches, such as ITIL, but also frameworks such as COBIT to broaden your thinking.

When it comes to #SIAM you may need to consult not only with #ITSM leading best practice approaches, but also frameworks such as COBIT to broaden your thinking, says @SteveBMorgan. Click To Tweet

3. Changing existing contracts is hard

Often, the decision to consider a change to a SIAM operating model is caused by a compelling event, such as a contract change, end of an outsourcing contract, or major business reorganization. When looking at your organization’s contract landscape you’ll likely see a vast array of different contracts, each with varying start and end dates. Most critically, each with various issues in terms of your ability to change contract terms and ways of working. Which is a severe constraint in moving to a SIAM model which will call for more collaboration between suppliers, as well as a move away from the traditional service level agreement (SLA) target-based structure which was formerly favored in the big multi-sourced contracts.

Changing existing contracts is hard. Therefore, choosing the timeframe in which to consider changing to a SIAM model is critical. You’ll need to choose a time where contracts may be due for renewal or review, to allow you to change to a more flexible model.

Choosing the timeframe in which to consider changing to a #SIAM model is critical, says @SteveBMorgan. Here he explains why. Click To Tweet

4. A tooling strategy is critical

One of the most critical elements in the success of a SIAM operating model is the ability to establish a single source of truth for data and automate workflow through a toolset which spans the entire IT operating model. You can read more about our thoughts on a SIAM Tooling Strategy by downloading our white paper.

In essence, our advice in this area is as follows:

  • Don’t limit your thinking to your ITSM tool. There’s a whole bunch of other tools you should consider in the areas of IT operations management (ITOM), IT asset management, capacity management, and reporting amongst others.
  • Use SIAM as an opportunity to build, own, and maintain a data model, so you can understand where data is mastered, as well as establishing a tighter grasp of data ownership and integration.
  • Consider the data integration requirements in detail and develop an appropriate data integration model. This should enable your SIAM ecosystem to exchange and update accurate data with regards to system performance, alerts, incidents, changes, assets, and configurations.
  • Ensure that you’ve built a robust role-based access control (RBAC) model for your data such that service providers can only access the data which they require, without exposing data which may be sensitive, unnecessary, or carry a restrictive data classification.

5. Don’t assume that everyone has the required knowledge, there are lots of people “winging it!”

By nature, we’re often afraid to speak up when we don’t understand something, particularly at work. Before commencing a SIAM program, it’s a good idea to ensure that staff are well versed in some basic principles, particularly in the following areas:

  • ITSM
  • SIAM
  • COBIT
  • Agile
  • Cloud
  • Commercial frameworks.
Before commencing a #SIAM program, it’s a good idea to ensure that staff are well versed in some basic principles, here @SteveBMorgan explains what these principles are. Click To Tweet

It’s also worthwhile to consider training staff in the fundamentals of business change such that they can develop their own approaches to managing change within their teams.

6. There’s no one size fits all (approach to SIAM)

Many organizations fail to grasp the concept of “adopt and adapt.” Just as in ITIL, the guidance written in SIAM best practice documentation, such as the SIAM Body of Knowledge, is just that, guidance. You’ll need to use this guidance as the main ingredient in your own SIAM operating model, ensuring that the solution meets the specific challenges and requirements of your organization.

Beware of those offering a rapid SIAM implementation because these seemingly too-good-to-be-true offers are just that. They’ll fail to take into account your specific requirements and will fail to overcome the challenges that have led your organization to consider SIAM in the first place.

Beware of those offering a rapid #SIAM implementation because these seemingly too-good-to-be-true offers are just that – @SteveBMorgan. Click To Tweet

7. SIAM program governance is critical to get decisions reviewed and landed

As with any major change program, your SIAM program will need to benefit from robust program governance. You’ll need to make some pretty complex and difficult decisions. So, you’ll need support from various stakeholder groups, not only in making the decision, but also in “banking” them. In other words, getting them agreed, communicated, and logged such that these banked decisions cannot be overturned without further analysis, assessment, and governance.

Establish a governance model early to address such issues as organizational design, training, process design, tooling strategy, and SLAs/key performance indicators (KPIs). You may wish to establish separate working groups for these areas, each reporting into a specialist governance forum.

The alternative to establishing a robust governance forum, and a method favored by many organizations, is that of “management by committee” which results in hundreds of unnecessary meetings, failure to bank agreed decisions, and is the major cause for SIAM program inertia. Feel free to choose the method which suits you best!!

Finally, ensure that any governance model enables a high degree of delegated authority, empowering individuals to make decisions to keep things moving. Again, another cause of program inertia is the inability to make timely decisions.

8. Cultural change is your biggest barrier

As I said at the outset, change is hard. One of the greatest barriers to change is organizational and personal culture change. Culture describes ways of working, preferred approaches to how we interact with each other.

In a SIAM operating model, as new multi-service provider ways of working are introduced, we seek to challenge the cultural paradigms that may have been in place for many years. And cultural challenges often present themselves in the form of:

  • The need for collaboration in an environment where knowledge is power
  • The need for measurement and tracking in an environment where targets and monitoring are perceived as a challenge
  • The need for openness and honesty in dealings with service providers
  • The introduction of new measures and performance indicators which may shine a spotlight on particular areas of process deficiency
  • The tendency to codify and document all working practices in an environment where some working practices may be less formal and based on collaboration and conversation as opposed to documented process and procedural steps.

Implementing any change to an IT operating model is difficult. However, it’s not impossible. Hopefully, the learnings above will be of assistance in helping SIAM Program Managers structure their program, avoiding these common pitfalls.

Director at

Steve is the Director of Syniad IT, an independent IT consulting organisation, specializing in the design, build, implementation and optimisation of service integration and management (SIAM), IT service management (ITSM), and IT transformational change programmes.

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