The A – Z of SIAM (Service Integration and Management)

Ever wanted to know more about service integration and management (affectionately known as SIAM)? Well, if you have, then your luck is in thanks to this A – Z of SIAM blog and the 26 wonderful letters of the alphabet. People seemed to love my previous A – Z blog, on enterprise service management, so let’s see if lightning can strike twice.

IT departments are constantly having to keep up with increasingly complex business requirements and deliver services that meet customer expectations which, given the technological world we now live in, are often very high.

But how do you keep up with the demand?

One way that’s increasing in popularity is to multisource. This means that organizations are looking for external vendors to support them on their service delivery journey. And using a mixture of in-house specialist teams and service providers is a great way for organizations to ensure that they’ve got the best people delivering the best services, resulting in a better end-user experience.

However, it does present challenges – as it can be difficult to successfully manage the many different service providers and to get everyone aligned with the company mission. Enter SIAM, which is an approach developed to help resolve the challenges that managing multiple service providers presents.

To help explain SIAM, here’s my A – Z guide to help you understand if it’s what your organization needs.

Alignment

Adopting a SIAM approach can help your teams (within your organization and external ones) to become better aligned. Using SIAM, you’ll produce a standard set of processes and procedures that each supplier you bring onboard will follow, which helps to ensure consistency across all in-house teams and those that are outsourced. Ultimately, SIAM works to get vendors and in-house teams working together, making the big picture clearer and the journey to get there smoother.

Better Working Environment

Without a model such as SIAM in place the working environment can be pretty hectic when you’re trying to manage multiple vendors and in-house teams to deliver your organization’s goals. Oftentimes you may experience issues with vendors working in their own way (and to their own agenda), an inability (on the vendors’ part) to keep up with business requirements, or even arguments between suppliers when things are going wrong. Having a SIAM model in place can help you to deal with these issues by providing structure and guidance, in turn promoting a better working environment.

Control

SIAM gives your organization the ability to manage external vendors effectively by having set procedures and standards in place. Each time a new vendor comes on board your organization can make sure that they agree to the way things work and then hold them to these standards. Thus, putting you in complete control.

Drive the Right Behaviors

Because you have your standards in place, and vendors sign up to them from the get go, your organization has the ability to drive the behaviors of the vendors. It can help you to build solid relationships with each supplier and it works to ensure that everyone is following the path you wish to put them on. Ultimately, a collaborative workforce is much more likely to “get on” and do things the right way than a fractured workforce with little guidance on how they should be meeting your organization’s needs.

End-to-End View

SIAM gives your organization an end-to-end view of the entire service delivery journey. You’ll be able to map out clearly where the services are coming from, how they’re being delivered and what kind of end-user experience is taking place. Having this vision will help your organization to ensure clarity and spot where there might be issues so that you can resolve them quickly.

Fix It First (and Look for “Blame” Later)

The SIAM capability looks at fixing incidents when they first occur, before anything else. One of the biggest challenges an organization faces when it chooses to outsource is the relationships between each of the suppliers. SIAM aims to create a collaborative environment and increase accountability thus if there are arguments among suppliers these are dealt with only after the resolution of the incident.

Governance Improves

One reason why SIAM is becoming so popular within businesses is the fact that it helps to improve an organization’s governance. By having a set of standards and policies in place, which all suppliers sign up to when you take them on board, helps to keep teams accountable and makes it clear when a vendor is not adhering to policy. Without having this in place, it’s easier for suppliers to shift the blame elsewhere and makes it much harder for your organization to keep control.

Happier Workforce

Because SIAM helps you to create an environment where you’re driving the right behaviors, limiting argumentative situations, and promoting collaboration, you’ll notice that you have a much happier workforce. Disputes are settled quickly and at the right time, and teams are working together to ensure services are delivered as expected. Plus, the increased clarity and guidance removes unnecessary stresses that can upset your workers.

Increased Innovation

The SIAM capability creates an environment that pushes your organization’s suppliers to be the best that they can be. This means that rather than simply getting the job done, they’re given the room to think innovatively and to look for ways to continue bettering their approach. The vendor is happy because they’re pushing to be the best and your organization is happy because it’s getting an awesome service.

Join Forces

SIAM encourages vendors to work together. By joining forces, you can reduce arguments, progress quicker, and deliver outstanding services to your end users.

Keep Track

It can be difficult, when managing multiple, external service providers, to stay on top of the end-to-end service journey that your organization is delivering. SIAM enables you to see the full chain of service delivery elements so that you can keep track of the entire process, pinpoint issues, and see what’s working well.

Lighter Workload

No, I’m not suggesting that SIAM is going to answer all of your organizational problems and take all of the work away. I do believe, however, that it has the potential to lighten your workload by removing some of the stresses that managing multiple service providers can bring. By getting all of your vendors on the same page, working together to achieve the same goals, and driving the right behaviors, you can more easily manage suppliers. And, by spending less time on babysitting each provider individually, you’ll have more time to concentrate on what you’re delivering as a collective.

Multi-Sourcing Services Integration (MSI)

This is another name for SIAM. So, when you read about SIAM or MSI you’re reading about the same model!

No More Vendor Confusion

Without a SIAM model in place for managing different vendors, it’s highly likely that the different vendors will not know exactly what your organization wants (of them) or how it wants it. This means they might have a tendency to do things their own way (as mentioned under B) – and without guidance there’s little else they can do. With SIAM you have each vendor sign up to your organization’s way of working, have standards in place that they must meet, and measure their performance – this removes any confusion and gives your suppliers a clear path to journey down.

One Way for All!

The SIAM model gives your organization and its service providers one consistent way of doing things – a set model to be followed that’s clear and concise and stops vendors from veering off and working to their own standards. Caveat: there will inevitably be instances when the customer does need to work in line with the vendor status quo to achieve the expected benefits of SIAM; for instance, different vendors might use their own chosen IT service desk tools.

Processes

Your processes are key in SIAM – in an ideal world you’ll have all vendors following the same processes. This kind of utopia though might be a little unrealistic. You might find instead that some vendors will only ever use their own processes and won’t deviate for just one client, i.e. your organization. You can still make it work though – by ensuring that you have the right tools in place and a firm understanding of what is expected.

Quick Resolutions

When you have the SIAM model in place, you increase your organization’s ability to resolve issues quickly. SIAM provides a robust way for vendors to share information and work together to understand and resolve incidents. And by joining forces your organization puts itself in a position to identify and eradicate issues quicker than a siloed workforce that cannot communicate effectively.

Reporting Provider Performance

SIAM aims to help your organization to manage multiple suppliers. Part of the model is to ensure that effective reporting is in place for provider performance. If you’re not measuring performance, and regularly reporting on this, then you cannot hope to effectively manage your vendors. Ultimately, performance reports give your organization knowledge on whether or not vendors are working well and where they can improve.

Seamless Service Delivery

Because you have everything laid out for the suppliers coming on board, and because you all work together in a harmonious environment, your organization is in a great position to be able to deliver a seamless experience from the start (sourcing your providers) right through to the very end (the end-user experience and positive business outcomes). By adopting SIAM, you can prevent big bumps in the service-delivery road.

Transparency

Being this far down in the alphabet I hope that it’s clear now that SIAM has the ability to make your organization’s entire service delivery journey transparent. The ability to see how everything is working, or not, is essential to the success of multi-sourcing.

User Satisfaction Improves

When you’re delivering services seamlessly, have control over the end-to-end journey, and have the ability to resolve issues quickly, you’re highly likely to see end-user satisfaction increase. SIAM helps your organization to hide the complexities behind the scenes – because your end users are only ever interested in whether they’re getting the service experience they expect. SIAM helps you to deliver just this.

Vendor Agreement

Vendor agreements are important for making SIAM work for your organization. When a vendor joins your organization, you want to ensure that it’ll be a smooth transition and that they fully understand the way you work with your external suppliers. You’ll want them to agree to being measured, so you can assess their performance, and ensure they understand why they’re coming on board. They should also agree to what you expect of them during your time together and know that you are a collaborative workforce by nature.

Wipe Away Complexities

Using the SIAM model can help your organization to remove the complexities that come hand-in-hand with increasingly challenging business requirements. Because your organization has a model in place to follow, the onboarding process is speedy such that when requirements change – and you need to get new vendors in – things can move quickly.

(The) X-Factor

Because X is a tough letter for which to find a SIAM-related word, I’ve had to cheat a bit here. But this is what your IT organization will be considered to have when you get SIAM working properly. If you can think of a better X-word (that’s not X-ray vision because we’ve already used transparent), then please let me know in the comments.

You Win (but so do your customers and suppliers)

Your organization is getting “the experts” to deliver each service you offer, which is a big win. But having the best people on the job also means that your customers are getting a stellar service provided to them – so they win too. Your suppliers are clear on their goals, working together to get the job done, and are building great relationships with you. So, it’s ultimately a win, win, and win!

Zilch

The amount of issues that you’ll be left with once you’ve implemented SIAM – none, nadda, zero, zilch … Ok, so not quite. But it’s definitely got the potential to help you out a bit, don’t you think?

What other SIAM words would you have included in my A-Z? Please let me know in the comments.

Posted by Joe the IT Guy

Joe the IT Guy
Joe the IT Guy

Native New Yorker. Loves everything IT-related (and hugs). Passionate blogger and Twitter addict. Oh...and resident IT Guy at SysAid Technologies (almost forgot the day job!).


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