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An Introduction to SIAM

04/03/2015
Increasing user experience is driving the need for IT to play a critical role in delivering business outcomes. As a result and to ensure end-to-end delivery across the business value chain, businesses Increasing user experience is driving the need for IT to play a critical role in delivering business outcomes. As a result and to ensure end-to-end delivery across the business value chain, businesses need to look at ways to ensure that the business needs and IT work together.   In order to do this, organisations need to work, act and think smarter. There are a number of ways to do this, including establishing a discrete Service Integration and Management (SIAM) function to integrate IT services.

SIAM is not new and there is no "one size fits all" approach.   Indeed, for a number of years the UK Government has been looking at, or tried to establish, SIAM functions. Some have been successful (e.g., FCO) and some have not (e.g., MOJ). There has been less emphasis on the use of SIAM by private organisations but I think this will change over time as businesses realise that they don't have (amongst other things) the internal skills set or resources to provide the IT needed to deliver business outcomes in a cost effective way.

Over the next few months, I will be publishing a series of blogs on SIAM which will cover the following (and other) common questions:

1. What is SIAM, its role and how it differs from the traditional outsourcing model?

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of SIAM?

3. What are the main risks and how can these risks be mitigated?

4. How can I ensure that I implement an effective and successful SIAM function?

This first blog will address the first of these four questions

What is SIAM?

In its shortest and simplest terms, it is a way to manage multiple ICT suppliers/services and integrate them to provide a single business-facing ICT organisation.

If, as you do, you Google "service integration and management" (unfortunately, Googling "SIAM" brings up lots of information on the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics!), it will throw up several definitions, including:

"Service integration and management lets an organisation manage the service providers in a consistent and efficient way, making sure that performance across a portfolio of multi-sourced goods and services meets user needs" (gov.uk);

"an approach to managing multiple suppliers of information technology services and integrating them to provide a single business-facing IT organisation" (Wikipedia); and

"a tower based IT service delivery model that is being rolled out across Government and within some Private sector organisations" (uk.atos.net).

You'll also be presented with lots of colourful diagrams.

Although these definitions and diagrams are helpful, it is up to the business to ensure that it has a clear definition of what SIAM means to it. In addition, the business will still need to have its own Intelligent Client Function (ICF) as there will be a number of functions that will have to be retained (e.g., enterprise architecture, security/regulatory compliance and overall governance of the SIAM).

The Role of SIAM v traditional outsourcing

Essentially, the SIAM's role is to maximise the performance of end-to-end services to the business in the most cost effective way – ensuring that the services and suppliers work and collaborate together, and providing a robust service desk.

Compared to the traditional "single supplier" outsourcing model, SIAM enables businesses to have the flexibility to multi-source their IT services without having to be reliant on one organisation or a prime contractor which doesn't truly offer value for money, offers little flexibility and doesn't enable the business to take advantage of new technologies.

As well as service management, and implementing and managing ITIL (the two elements of SIAM), the SIAM will typically also be responsible for continuous improvement, innovation, transition, managing change, and responding to the needs of the business.

If you are thinking of establishing a SIAM function and would like discuss the legal and commercial issues in more detail (ahead of my future blogs on this topic), please contact me.

 

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