Navigating the Road to SIAM

The Road to SIAM

At this year’s annual Service Manager Day I’ll be presenting a session on “The Road to SIAM.” Based on my experience implementing Service Integration and Management (SIAM) in different industries, I’ll be looking at the various models used and how I’ve seen them work (and not work) and the relationship to IT service management (ITSM) and ITIL.

With many companies choosing to take (or considering) the road to SIAM people generally want to know what differentiates a successful implementation from a less successful one. I don’t know all the answers to this question but I’ve picked up a few clues from the side of the road (amongst the litter and roadkill) that I’d like to share with you in advance of my presentation.

The choice of an operating model is important in shaping SIAM in your organization, and the road to SIAM, but it’s only one factor. Others factors include:

  • Knowing what you want to achieve.
  • Knowing your suppliers.
  • Understanding your contract.
  • Not forgetting internal suppliers.
  • Identifying the dividing lines.
  • Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your toolset.

So let us look at each of these in turn.

Know what you want to achieve on your road to SIAM

What are you looking for from your SIAM provider? SIAM comes in many flavours, it can be an operational function, managing the day-to-day activity within processes across suppliers, or a governance function, ensuring the cooperation between vendors and monitoring their performance. SIAM can of course be both of these, or anywhere in between.

Above all else in performing a SIAM implementation it’s important to ensure your intended business outcomes are properly pre-defined so that they do not mislead your efforts. End to end improvements brought about by SIAM come at a cost, and clearly being able to demonstrate the return on investment across the service, not just internally to IT, will decide if SIAM has been perceived to be a success.

Know your SIAM suppliers

It may sound simple but many organizations struggle to maintain an accurate list of their suppliers, and of course, a list is not enough! You also need to understand:

  • How important that supplier is to your company.
  • How mature that supplier’s service management capability is, and whether it can work in a SIAM environment (working collaboratively with other suppliers).
  • Where are the interfaces with that supplier and your company and any interfaces between that supplier and other suppliers.
  • How is your relationship with that supplier? Are they going to work with you, or against you? And don’t presume if the current relationship is broken that the fault lies with the supplier.

This is a key element in the road to SIAM.

Understand your SIAM contract

It’s important to be fully aware of the contract that you have with your suppliers. These are frequently diverse and it’s critical to understand how much the contract with each supplier will impact on the ability of that supplier to function within your SIAM framework. Additionally where the contract is in its lifecycle may well affect the behavior of a supplier. A supplier with four years to run on their contract may behave in a vastly different way to one with foue months left, and not necessarily in a good way!

Don’t forget internal providers on your road to SIAM

It’s very easy to focus on external suppliers (especially in a complex organization), but most organizations have internal teams providing part of the end-to-end service delivery to the business. These teams need to be addressed within the project and aligned with all external suppliers (via Operating Level Agreements (OLAs) etc.) to ensure value is delivered as expected.

Identify the dividing lines

One of the key things to consider when establishing your SIAM organization is where are the divisions in responsibility and accountability. It’s very easy to duplicate effort, replicating activities across the SIAM service provider, the suppliers and the retained organization. It needs to be clear who is responsible for delivering the service, communicating the service, and understanding the performance of the service. A combination of use cases, and a multi-dimensional RACI matrix (including the SIAM provider, the retained organization, and one or more suppliers) can help to tease out the intricacies of these relationships in both service delivery and governance.

Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your SIAM toolset

There’s frequently an assumption that a successful SIAM organization will mandate the use of a standard set of tools across the multiple suppliers within the SIAM ecosystem. While this can be beneficial it’s frequently not practical in the real world, either because of existing contracts with current suppliers, or because the cost (and risk) of migrating to a new tool set will materially impact the viability of the SIAM transformation. Understanding the limitations of current tools and the interfaces required will inform decisions around processes and ways of working, ensuring optimal return on effort expended. Having said that, most modern toolsets are capable of supporting SIAM driven workflow and the use of APIs means that interfaces are relatively easy to build between toolsets. Tools also exist that explicitly address the integration issue.

Obviously, the above are just some of the determining factors, and standard project/ transformation success factors apply, but understanding how these impact in a multi-supplier landscape can mean the difference between success and failure.

If you liked this road to SIAM article, here are some more SIAM articles:

Martin Goble
Global SIAM Competency Lead at Tata Consultancy Services

Martin Goble is the SIAM Competency Lead for TCS where he has successfully delivered a number to SIAM solutions to customers worldwide He has been working in Service Management for 16 years, but started life as a biochemist. Opinionated, passionate, and not afraid to be wrong he aims to get you to think, and learn from all his experiences, failures and successes both.

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