For many businesses, embarking on service integration implementation can be a bit of a journey. Michelle Major-Goldsmith offers a few tips to help you take the most direct route to success.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu
Modern IT environments, with their increasing need for speed, ubiquitous technologies and web of service providers, are encountering substantial service delivery challenges. In such environments, addressing the governance needed to achieve end-to-end service performance is key. SIAM can drive business value allowing an organisation to stay focused on their core business and addresses common challenges within a multi-provider environment such as:
- Lack of end-to-end transparency, measurement and accountability
- Governance and control
- Inadequate sharing of information
- Inability to be agile due to lack of common tools and processes.
To respond to this concern, more and more organisations are adapting their service delivery models to incorporate the role of a service integrator. The term most in use today for this integration activity is SIAM (or Service Integration and Management). There has been plenty of information written about it, more so since the publication of the formalised SIAM Bodies of Knowledge (Foundation in 2016 and just recently the Professional level). This blog is intended to provide some tips for those thinking about embarking on a SIAM implementation journey.
If you haven’t already, I recommend that you download the SIAM Bodies of Knowledge from Scopism: www.scopism.com/free-downloads.
The basic mechanics of SIAM
“It starts with not just studying the mechanics but really understanding how people operate” – Stanley A. McChrystal
SIAM is a management methodology that can be applied in an environment that includes services sourced from several service providers. It has a different level of focus to traditional multi-sourced ecosystems that have one customer and multiple suppliers. The integration layer is an enhancement aimed at providing governance, management, integration, assurance and coordination, to ensure that the customer organisation gets maximum value from its service providers. It supports cross-functional, cross-process and cross-provider integration. It creates an environment where all parties know their role and responsibilities and are empowered and held accountable for the outcomes they are required to deliver.
For instance, the concept of the aforementioned service integrator is defined, including the roles and responsibilities of this function in the SIAM environment.
Start your engine…
“There are many paths but only one journey” – Naomi Judd
As with most best practice approaches, there is no single correct way to apply the theory provided in the Bodies of Knowledge and start that journey. Each organisation has different objectives, priorities and resources. However, to be successful in a move to a SIAM model, it is important that a structured, mapped-out approach is taken. This involves looking at the SIAM roadmap stages (suggested in the SIAM Body of Knowledge) and using these as a basis to commence the journey.
The SIAM roadmap consists of four stages, which can be executed iteratively, adding updates and details with every iteration. These are:
- Discovery and Strategy: initiates the SIAM transformation project, formulates key strategies and maps the current situation
- Plan and Build: completes the detailed design for SIAM and creates the plans for the move to a new operating approach
- Implement: manages the transition from the current ‘as-is’ state to the ‘to-be’ SIAM model. This can be through either a big bang or phased approach. The output from the Implement stage is the new operational SIAM model supported by appropriate contracts and agreements
- Run and Improve: manages the SIAM model, day-to-day service delivery, processes, teams and tools and continual improvement.
Prepare for a journey
“We’re all pilgrims on the same journey, but some pilgrims have better maps” – Nelson DeMille
Before any significant trip most of us would acquire and consult a map, whether that be electronic or good old-fashioned paper, so that we understand more about the goal of our intended journey. In a similar vein, when considering a move to a SIAM model, define your vision and objectives and commit to establishing important guardrails such as governance and management models.
If your intention is to arrive at a successfully operating SIAM ecosystem, then start with considering SIAM as a structured, formalised service model. In an IT environment where many services are becoming commoditised (cloud, as-a-service, etc.) and where multiple vendors are operating side by side, issues and support challenges can arise meaning that many organisations are spending more time on managing suppliers than on delivering services. This is because they often do not have structured or formalised governance and management models to be able to do this effectively.
Moving to a SIAM model can have many benefits and an organisation should consider its own drivers to achieve the necessary clarity for the anticipated business benefits. Clarity on these benefits will form the basis for developing the organisation’s business case for SIAM.
Discovery and Strategy is a critical stage of the roadmap, as each customer organisation’s maturity, required services and level of SIAM readiness is different. Following on with my journey analogy, this is the point at which we should be checking our mode of transport for its appropriateness; making sure it has fuel, water, antifreeze or whatever other factors are required for a pain-free journey. For instance, some organisations may already have a defined sourcing strategy or mature supplier management capabilities, whereas others will need to create these as part of their SIAM roadmap. If activities are missed – or are partially completed – there could be a negative impact on the remainder of the transition project activities; much like your journey would be hampered.
Are the drivers, mechanics and other stakeholders capable of the job?
“Once you have commitment, you need the discipline and hard work to get you there” – Haile Gebrselassie
Often an organisation believes they can move to a SIAM model because they have established service management skills. While these skills are indeed useful within the SIAM model, they are not the only skills required.
SIAM is all about relationships and not just processes. Assess how much capability you and your teams have in areas such as:
- Contract management skills
- Organisational change management
- Business relationship management
- Soft skills such as conflict management, relationship management and negotiation skills.
Reflections from the ‘pit’
This article is intended to provide some useful reflections if you are considering setting off on a SIAM road trip. Even if you are not embracing a formal SIAM model, my bet is that your work environment isn’t simple (with only a single provider-to-customer relationship) and, as such, the tips could be relevant to you.