A SIAM Trilogy Part 1: Considering a move to a SIAM model

In our latest blog, SIAM Professional Lead Architect and Scopism eConsultant Michelle Major-Goldsmith looks at the start of an organization’s SIAM journey.

Part 1 – Discovery and Strategy

To compete in the modern world of disruption and disruptors, organizations are focusing on their customers and their experience of services, which these days are often delivered using technology.  siam-logo-centeredIn these environments, businesses are becoming increasingly dependent on their IT services, with little to no tolerance for downtime let alone failure.  Adding to this complexity, organizations globally have been shifting from monolithic outsourcing engagements to multi-sourcing models, engaging multiple service providers.  This is known as Multiple Sourcing Integration (MSI) or Service Integration and Management (SIAM).

The term most widely used is SIAM and there has been plenty of information written about it, more so since the publication, of the formalised SIAM Foundation and Professional Body of Knowledge (BoK) documents.  This blog is intended to provide some thoughts and tips, for those thinking about moving to a SIAM based operating model to support their IT services.

If you haven’t already done it, I recommend that you download the SIAM BoKs – they are a free resource available to anyone.

But, what is SIAM?

Let’s start with the history. The term ‘service integration and management’ or SIAM, and the concept of SIAM as a management methodology, originated in around 2005 from within the UK public sector.  In 2010, the UK Government published a new information and communications technology (ICT) strategy, which included moving away from large prime supplier contracts to a more flexible approach using multiple service providers and cloud-based solutions.

Interest in SIAM became global  in 2015 when AXELOS published several white papers on SIAM, and in 2016 the SIAM Foundation Architect Group was formed by Scopism.  The objective was to bring practitioners of SIAM together and create a consolidated view of their knowledge and experience. The success of the SIAM Foundation Body of Knowledge was followed by the recent release of the SIAM Professional Body of Knowledge, providing further insight and guidance in the application of SIAM practices.

“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 with one customer and multiple suppliers.  It provides 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, responsibilities and are empowered and held accountable for the outcomes they are required to deliver.

SIAM introduces the concept of a service integrator, which is a single, logical entity which combines the outcomes of the various service providers and is accountable for the end to end delivery of services and the business value that the customer receives.”

So, on to the tips….
There is no one correct way of ‘doing’ SIAM.  Most organizations already work with one or more service providers, and each organization has different objectives, priorities and resources.  However, when thinking about a move to SIAM it is important that a structured approach is taken.  This involves looking at the roadmap stages suggested in the SIAM Body of Knowledge, and using these as a basis to devise a plan.rapid-assessment-01

The SIAM roadmap describes the high-level stages and activities required to design and transition to a SIAM model. It consists of four stages, which can be executed iteratively, adding updates and details with every iteration:

I’d like to take you through some considerations for each of the SIAM roadmap stages, as part of a number of articles.  My intention here is to highlight some commonly ignored considerations, which I feel will contribute to the success of implementing SIAM practices.

This article looks at the first stage, Discovery and Strategy.

Tip 1: start considering SIAM as structured, formalized service model

Now this is not a quick decision, but the thought process to move to the SIAM model needs to begin and this will be greatly assisted by using a structured and formalized  approach.  In an IT environment where many services are becoming commoditized (cloud, as-a-service etc.) and where multiple vendors need to work together to provide business critical services, many organizations are spending more time on managing suppliers than on delivering services.  This is because they often do not have structured or formalized governance and management models to be able to do this effectively.

Discovery & Strategy is a critical stage of the roadmap, as each customer organization’s maturity, services and level of SIAM readiness is different.  For instance, some organizations 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.

Start considering how moving to a SIAM model might help to:

Moving to a SIAM model has many benefits, each unique to a particular organisation. Benefits can be a mixture of tangible (for example, cost savings) and intangible (for example, improved customer service).  The benefits and costs will be different for each organization.  They depend on many factors, including:

An organization 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 organization’s business case for SIAM.

My first tip then is to research SIAM more and discover what benefits it might bring to your organisation.  You may find that some degree of service integration is already in place but perhaps not in a structured, coordinated and defined way.  Your considerations will help define an outline business case to formalise the SIAM elements in your organisation, to obtain greater business benefit. 

Tip 2: consider if you have SIAM-appropriate skills

Often an organization believes they can move to a SIAM model because they have service management skills, perhaps they use COBIT, have established ITIL processes, employ DevOps practices or have achieved the ISO/IEC 20000 standard.  Whilst these skills are indeed useful within the SIAM model, they are not the only skills required. mentoring-01

SIAM is all about relationships and not just processes.  Assess how much capability you and your teams have in areas such as:

Consider too, your organization’s current state and analyze existing capabilities to confirm their maturity levels.  It is often a good idea to make use of the specialist skills of an external advisor, possibly utilizing a capability framework – like SFIA -, to support this maturity assessment.  This can help to provide an objective view of an organization’s capabilities.

This assessment should also be repeated in the later iterations (I’ll talk about these in subsequent articles) by service integrators and service providers who could become part of the SIAM ecosystem.  It is recommended that all organizations assess their staff’s skills, including or perhaps specifically those required in a SIAM environment, and use this as a baseline for evaluating the requirements and risks associated with a SIAM project, operation and the underlying business case and benefits.

So, my 2nd tip is don’t forget to establish a baseline of current capability.  This is very important before making any grand plans.  Baseline capability assessments should always be conducted before a transition to SIAM commences.  This will help understand the ‘as-is’ situation, and form the starting point for the desired future ‘to-be’ situation. This exercise will not only help identify the capabilities in the current operating model that are not at the desired level of maturity; but also, help to establish whether you have the capability or the appetite to address the shortfall.

These are 2 tips for starters…
This article isn’t intended to provide all the answers (a look at the BoKs can help with that!), but rather to highlight some useful reflections if you are considering SIAM as an approach.  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.

I’ll be back to offer some more advice soon with the part 2 of these ‘moving to a SIAM model’ considerations.

Michelle Major-Goldsmith