Service integration and management (SIAM) is a management approach that has evolved over the last decade and is now rapidly growing in popularity. But what is it? How can you benefit from it? And most importantly, why should you care? In this blog, I’ll tell you the SIAM basics and why 2017 is set to be the year that SIAM gets serious.
OK, so what’s SIAM?
If you’d asked this question a year ago, you’d have received ten different answers from ten different people. It’s one of the interesting things about SIAM – it’s evolved in response to business problems, so each organization has its own take on what SIAM is and the best way to apply it.
In the last year, a number of organizations with SIAM experience have collaborated to develop the SIAM Foundation Body of Knowledge, so we now have this definition:
“Service integration and management (SIAM) is a management methodology that can be applied in an environment that includes services sourced from a number of service providers.
SIAM has a different level of focus to traditional multi-sourced ecosystems with one customer and multiple suppliers. It provides governance, management, integration, assurance, and coordination to ensure that the customer organization gets maximum value from its service providers.”
You can learn more about the SIAM Foundation Architect Group here.
How can I and my company benefit from it?
Put simply, SIAM helps companies who are struggling to manage their suppliers. Introducing the concept of a “service integrator” gives the company, and the customer, a single point of contact, as shown below.
The service integrator is a specialist function that coordinates the service providers, providing an end-to-end view of provision and encouraging the service providers to collaborate, innovate, and improve.
As more and more organizations source services from different service providers, SIAM gives them a structure that allows them to add and remove service providers quickly and efficiently, with contracts, agreements, and a culture that drive the right behaviors from all parties.
If you’re a service management professional, you’ve probably been in the situation where your network supplier is blaming your database supplier who is blaming the applications team for an incident. In a SIAM model, the service integrator coordinates the response and drives a culture of “fix first, argue later.” An incident is just a small example of course; imagine a group of service providers working in an integrated way to support strategic goals.
It’s a win for the customer who gets the service they want, but it’s also a win for the service providers. A SIAM model should give them a structure to work in that encourages quality and innovation, not finger-pointing, blame, and worries about their future.
Sounds a bit idealistic? Maybe it is, but we already have many industry examples of SIAM models working well (as well as some working not so well!). External sourcing of services isn’t going to go away, and SIAM provides a reasonable approach.
Why should I care?
SIAM has been building momentum for years, and 2017 marks the point where it becomes a defined set of management practices that you can read, learn from, use, comment on, and help evolve.
If you’re an IT management professional of any flavor, SIAM is definitely an area you need to be aware of, even if it’s just reading a blog or two. SIAM will complement and build on many other management practices like IT service management (ITSM), and show you how to adapt and augment processes in a multi-supplier environment.
SIAM’s not just for IT services either; as we start to talk about enterprise service management, watch out for SIAM principles being applied to all types of service.
Want to learn more? In 2017, the year of SIAM, we have:
- The publication of the SIAM Foundation Body of Knowledge and SIAM Foundation Process Guides – available as a free download from Scopism.com and shortly as a hard copy from Van Haren Publishing.
- The launch of SIAM Foundation training and certification – a global scheme launched as a partnership between EXIN, BCS, and Scopism, available from March 1 2017.
- The launch of SIAM Professional training and certification – already in development, and due to launch later in 2017.
- The world’s first SIAM conference – a chance to network with other SIAM professionals in Leeds, UK on March 30 2017.
- Several useful blogs such as: “Navigating the Road to SIAM,” and “Service Desk meets SIAM: Integrating people, process, and tools.”
Service management and IT management is evolving rapidly to better meet business needs, and I’m excited to see SIAM grow as part of that evolution.
Claire Agutter is the lead tutor of ITSM Zone, an organisation that specialises in best practice e-learning. Courses include BRM Professional, Certified Agile Service Manager and the DevOps Foundation. Claire is also director of Scopism.