While service integration and management (SIAM) is nearly ten years old, it has yet to reach a high level of mainstream understanding and adoption. This is changing rapidly though, as more organizations start to understand their need for SIAM, with this blog created to allow those who are new to SIAM to quickly understand:
- What it is
- What a SIAM operating model involves
- Why it is needed
- The key benefits.
Please read on to learn more.
A Quick Overview
SIAM is a management method adopted by organizations that need to manage multiple third-party and internal service providers. It provides the basis for effective governance and management of a multi-service-provider ecosystem through the introduction of a “service integrator” role that effectively aggregates and consolidates the services provided (by the multiple service providers) to deliver a cohesive and reliable portfolio of services to the business.
A SIAM model will include:
- A customer organization
- A service integrator
- One or more service providers.
An example structure is shown below:
An Example SIAM Structure
What a SIAM Operating Model Involves
When people talk about SIAM, there’s a tendency for them to focus on the process areas which we most commonly experience in IT, such as incident, problem, and change management. But SIAM’s reach extends beyond these and the other traditional IT service management (ITSM) processes described within ITIL, the popular ITSM best practice framework.
SIAM instead covers the entire service lifecycle, from idea conception, through to demand management, project and service portfolio management, and into production with the ITSM processes made popular through ITIL. And as the focus of SIAM covers the entire service lifecycle, it must be underpinned by robust contract, commercial, and supplier management processes.
In some organizations adopting a SIAM operating model, this increase in contractual content and complexity, and the need to adopt a more collaborative approach with suppliers can represent a step change in terms of the skills and the number of contract and commercial staff required.
The processes most commonly seen within a SIAM operating model will therefore include (listed in alphabetical order):
- Audit and control
- Availability management
- Business relationship management
- Capacity management
- Change management
- Commercial/contract management
- Continual improvement
- Event management
- Financial management
- Incident management
- Information security management
- Knowledge management
- Monitoring, measuring, and reporting
- Problem management
- Project management
- Release management
- Service catalogue management
- Service continuity management
- Service introduction, retirement, and replacement
- Service level management
- Service portfolio management
- Service request fulfilment
- Software asset and configuration management
- Supplier management
- Toolset and information management
Thus, not just the commonly-adopted ITIL processes, and not just the wider set of ITIL ITSM processes either.
Why SIAM is Needed
There are a number of key drivers that have triggered the need for organizations to reconsider how they procure services, and how they organize themselves to manage those services. With the rise in the prevalence of SIAM models brought about by factors that include:
- A strong desire by organizations to move away from the monolithic outsourcing deals that characterized the early 2000s.
- A dramatic change in the expectations placed upon IT departments (by the business units they serve) to work with more flexibility, agility, and speed.
- The closer alignment of IT with the business. IT enables every business change, and is now seen as a trusted business partner rather than an internal service provider.
- An increase in the breadth of capability of IT support tools, particularly workflow management, knowledge management, and interoperability with other tools – which has led to the development of innovative service propositions by the service provider community.
- The need for IT to contribute to business-wide cost reductions.
- Industry advancements in the definition of SIAM and greater awareness of its benefits among CIOs and service providers.
The Key Benefits
The key benefits that encourage organizations to adopt a SIAM model include:
- The ability to better meet the demands of the business – business demands continue to grow while becoming more complex and challenging. SIAM provides the basis for IT to respond more effectively to these demands.
- The reduction of operational risk – a SIAM model gives organizations the opportunity to spread operational risk across multiple service providers, as opposed to relying upon a single service provider.
- The ability to access “best-in-class” skills – by leveraging a SIAM operating model, IT organizations now have greater access to expertise across a wider range of technologies from a broader range of suppliers.
- Increased accountability – the scope of SIAM contracts allows for greater transparency and clarity of the services being provided, allowing IT organizations to hold service providers accountable for their element of the end-to-end service chain.
- Flexibility in the service provider model – in theory, SIAM provides the ability for organizations to adopt a more flexible model, whereby service providers can be onboarded/offboarded with greater ease. In practice, organizations prefer a stable environment but, as SIAM contracts mature, this feature will undoubtedly start to be seen more commonly.
- The ability to introduce competitive tension for commodity services – SIAM provides organizations with the opportunity to allow service providers in the SIAM ecosystem to bid for specific projects, based upon their core capabilities. This aspect is most commonly seen in discrete projects with less-complex deliverables, such as application development.
- The development and ownership of intellectual property – SIAM enables organizations to define and own their own data models, processes, procedures, and operating models – supporting the ability to flexibly onboard and offboard service providers without a loss of specialized knowledge and/or capabilities. In addition, this ownership allows organizations to easily take control in assessing and improving their operating models.
So that’s some of the key whys and whats of SIAM. Please also look out for part two of this two-part blog series that looks at the realities of SIAM.
Moran Lev is the co-founder and CTO at Epicon. He has over 15 years of experience in enterprise-level IT management and his specialisation is developing cutting-edge software solutions for large-scale cloud and on-premises enterprise software companies.