For many years Steve Ingall, former Head of Business Services at iCore Ltd, has been working with organisations on their Service Integration and Management (SIAM) strategy; the approach to deliver this; and the implementation of the agreed model. Steve says “Recently I have seen a surge in an attempt to ‘professionalise SIAM’ through various means, including the establishment of practitioner qualifications, bodies of knowledge, and the usual publishing houses. All good textbook stuff from what I can see and I do commend people to read these. However, not a lot of depth and practical advice in what I have seen.”In this two part blog Steve covers the background of SIAM, his experience implementing SIAM, some pitfalls to avoid and some critical success factors to embrace.
Having worked with many organisation on the development of a SIAM organisation, going back almost 25 years, Steve believes that actually ‘SIAM’ is just another badge created to give a name to good industry practice that has been around for a long time. Steve recalls “I worked in the Civil Service back in the early 90s when almost every year we were put through a ‘Market Test’ to prove that we, as the internal IT Department, were providing VFM compared to outside service providers. That testing was no different to how organisations need to look at their sourcing strategies today and the potential for establishing a SIAM capability”.
Deciding how to source your IT is a corporate decision and these days it is invariably going to be a multi-sourced outcome. This means that how the business and technology department work together to manage this multi-sourced environment (and the associated IT Ecosystem that it creates) also has to be a corporate decision. There are a number of SIAM options which typically boil down to:
- In-house provision
- Outsourced to a service provider solely for SIAM
- Outsourced to your lead IT service provider
- Hybrid of in-house and outsourced (using 2.)
- Hybrid of in-house and outsourced (using 3.)
[These are explored in more detail in Part 2]
There are many papers, documents and opinions on which is the best option but Steve states “This really depends on the strategy of the business, by which I mean the business and IT working as one. There is no one answer to this but there is a right answer for your organisation. You just need to agree on it.” iCore have in the last 15 years worked on many SIAM projects which have involved a range of sectors including a global communications provider (lacking governance over a service wholly outsourced to a single supplier); a UK national airport (forced to move to a multi-vendor environment from a ‘cartel’); a divested banking business (having to establish a new IT delivery model from scratch); a utility company (looking to insource from a costly long-term outsource agreement); and a national infrastructure energy supplier (wanting to remove the SIAM piece from a large managed service provider). Each has required a different set of challenges but the basic approach has been similar.
As already stated these type of sourcing and operating model decisions are corporate decisions and need to be aligned with the agreed business / IT strategy. Organisations have often flip-flopped from big single managed service provider to multi-service providers to insource / hybrid over the years (the latter becoming the model being deployed for those wanting to utilise Agile / DevOps practices). This usually cycles round as organisations seek to drive for more efficiency and effectiveness and reduce cost.
There are a number of over-arching capabilities that organisations need to have to support them to make an effective sourcing decision, including:
- Customer Service (e.g. customer satisfaction, user experience, demand management)
- People management (e.g. talent, skills, knowledge, succession management)
- Vendor management (e.g. procurement, contract and performance management)
- Supplier management (e.g. tiering and risk)
- Finance management (e.g. budgeting, spend, charging)
Plus regulatory, ethical and social considerations.
These help inform the strategic sourcing decisions of what to keep internal, what to externalise and how to manage and control those outcomes. In Steve’s experience these are not always evident or consistent, leading to issues down the line when the sourcing decisions are made and SIAM is attempted but badly executed.
The global communications provider (GCP) mentioned above had outsourced the bulk of all its global IT Services to a single managed service provider (MSP), and had retained certain roles as what they thought would form their SIAM capability and would be essential to govern, manage, assure, integrate, and coordinate the services once outsourced. However, when iCore were asked to review why the GCP IT organisation now felt “out of control” it transpired that the retained roles were mainly technical resources and not contract, relationship or commercial people. The MSP had started to undertake ‘SIAM’ responsibilities and the GCP retained organisation had started to man mark the technical resources in the MSP and not perform SIAM responsibilities. As a consequence it was not working for either party.
As well as the strategy and the operating model there is also a matter of the ‘leadership’ to get the right decision and to then implement this. This comes from the C Level in the organisation with input from the CEO, CFO, COO, and CIO plus any Chief Digital, Chief Security and Chief Data officers that exist. Invariably it falls to the CIO to implement and the CIO needs to be supported by a strong IT Senior Leadership Team (usually the Head of Applications, Head of Infrastructure and Head of Service Delivery and corporate functions).
The CIO needs to demonstrate strong leadership and provide clear direction for their management team (and the business) to follow relating to how IT is sourced and therefore managed such that it adds value to the business. To balance this, those implementing the strategy also need to ensure that they remain aligned to the strategy and, with the right level of autonomy, seek to implement it in the right way for the business.
PART 2 – In part 2 we will look at some of the pitfalls associated with SIAM, some critical success factors and some concluding comments from Steve.
iCore provides consultancy and pragmatic approach to delivery helping many organisations to change their IT Service Delivery to adapt to new and emerging technologies, frameworks and working practices. iCore consultants have practical Service Management experience, working in technology departments for top 250 companies.
For more information about iCore, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3821 1252.