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SIAM – getting the CIO’s attention

SIAM: overly simplified or finally elevating IT service management to CIO attention levels?

Service integration and management (SIAM) is nothing new, and in many ways it has been over-simplified by writers. That’s the bad news.

The good news, however, is that SIAM is not just an opportunity to improve IT service delivery, it’s also an opportunity to raise the profile of IT service management (ITSM) to C-level attention.

This is a blog of two halves – a warning and an opportunity – but first let’s get on the same page as to what SIAM is.

Defining SIAM

There are various definitions of SIAM but one that we like and trust is from James Finister of TCS:SIAM team

“The vertical and horizontal coordination of people, processes, tools, technology, data and governance across multiple suppliers, to ensure efficient, predictable and flexible delivery of end-to-end services to the business user to maximize business value.” Source – SIAM: The Key Lessons.

However, SIAM isn’t always as simple as that definition makes it seem.

In terms of SIAM over-simplification, look back to what’s been previously written and repeated use of a Forrester quote that states:

“To make multisourcing arrangements effective, customers must get suppliers to work together, both from the commercial and operational standpoint. The services integration layer, comprising elements of process, tools, service-level agreements, and related structures, is absolutely critical to the success of these arrangements”. Source: http://blogs.forrester.com/stephen_mann/12-02-07-a_late_new_years_resolution_be_nice_to_a_supplier_and_see_what_happens

It does make it sound simple but, in the real world, relevant SIAM expertise is needed to traverse the various operational, organizational change management, commercial, and technology-based issues.  SIAM is about relationships, commercial expertise and careful planning, not just ITSM.

So where are the SIAM experts?

If you frequent social media sites, there appears to be lots. However, the great ITSM mind, and global SIAM cheerleader, that is James Finister is keen to point out that:

“Many so-called SIAM experts have only done it once and only for one organization”

So they are, in reality, only experts on the flavor of SIAM adopted in that organization – and its interpretation of what it is and isn’t – rather than on something that could accurately be called SIAM good or best practice.

So bear this in mind when looking to employ SIAM expertise in your organization – ask about the breadth of experience not just the depth.  There are large industry players and boutique consultancy firms, so there will be a good range of partners to choose from.

It’s not all bad news though…

Think about the perceptions of ITSM professionals and the work they do. For some, ITSM is merely the help or service desk, or the draconian level of process that’s needed to enact change. For others it’s all the work that goes into keeping the proverbial lights on (and in the process spending 70% of the IT budget). More worryingly ITSM is often not seen as a center of IT and business innovation – with ITSM professionals spending more time looking in the rear-view mirror than at the road ahead.

Whether these perceptions are truths or not doesn’t really matter. What actually matters is how to change them. Do you take the blue pill to tirelessly, and slowly, try to change the perception of the ITSM status quo? Or do you take the red pill to quickly raise the importance of ITSM through SIAM-based thinking and action?

As to why the red pill will do this, there are a number of possible factors which include that:

There are of course probably many other possible factors in play, but here our aim is to highlight the opportunity that SIAM offers to ITSM professionals beyond the better management of a portfolio of third-party service providers.

So there you have the double-edged sword that is SIAM, it might be hard to find an expert to help but there is a great upside for ITSM professionals beyond the IT services they deliver.

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If you want to read more on SIAM then we suggest the following: