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SIAM: revolutionising multi-supplier IT environments
Blog //21-11-2023

SIAM: revolutionising multi-supplier IT environments

by Andrew Farran, Lead Service Architect

In today's complex IT landscape, organisations are increasingly adopting a multi-vendor approach to optimise their service delivery. As such, managing multiple suppliers and ensuring seamless service integration can be a difficult task. This is where Service Integration and Management (SIAM) comes into play. SIAM is a management methodology that's swiftly gaining traction due to its ability to streamline the governance of various IT service providers. But what exactly is SIAM? Why is it becoming popular? And more importantly, how can your organisation benefit from it?

In this blog, we will demystify SIAM, exploring the roles within this framework, why it's becoming a go-to solution for many businesses, and the challenges and benefits it presents.

What is SIAM and why is it gaining popularity?

SIAM or Service Integration and Management is a way of applying IT service management principles to environments where lots of different teams from multiple organisations are involved in the overall delivery of your services. SIAM ensures that you receive maximum value by providing governance, management, integration, assurance, compliance, and coordination across all your service providers. It helps service providers understand how they fit into the service ecosystem and how they contribute to your business outcomes and objectives.

SIAM started to be developed in the UK government about 15 years ago as a response to a growing consensus that value was not being delivered from large government IT projects as suppliers weren't necessarily working in a joined-up way. From this, the concept of SIAM was born to build an approach focused on end-to-end holistic management across all service providers and to encourage suppliers to collaborate and communicate, rather than just focus on individual targets and their contracts.

What’s the need?

In the current environment, many companies use numerous external suppliers to provide some or all of their IT services. That could be anything from the giants like Microsoft and AWS through to some small niche application providers. If these don't all work together, overall value is diminished, and organisations don't receive the service experience they require for their users and customers. Managing multiple providers also increases the burden on already stretched IT departments, either leading to burnout and other priorities taking a back seat, or meaning this task doesn’t get the management and support needed, leading to poor service outcomes.

Example scenario

Imagine this scenario. It's the end of the month and your finance system is unable to send or receive any payments. Business processes are failing, and the consequences could be huge. The ticket goes to the applications team and the applications team say no, it's not an applications issue, must be a database issue. It goes to the database team who investigate the issue further and say no, not us. Try the networks team. No, it's not a networks issue. These problems can just bounce around between different internal and external providers, and no one wants to take ownership of something that's difficult.

Following the SIAM approach, this type of incident would be dealt with collaboratively across all your service providers, with everyone focused on the end-to-end service delivery rather than their own contractual targets. The service integrator would be responsible for pulling all these teams together to focus collectively on what needs to be done to restore service as quickly as possible.

Many organisations start from this reactive position, using SIAM to bring some cooperation into their service delivery. But in the long term, building a collaborative culture across your ecosystem has huge benefits, leading to continuous improvements and innovation.

SIAM roles simplified

SIAM involves three main components: the customer organisation, the service integrator, and the service providers.

The customer organisation maintains contracts with service providers and retains key capabilities such as strategy, governance, security, and risk management. It also works closely with the service integrator to set clear expectations.

The service integrator – which may be a Managed Service Provider (MSP) such as Advanced, plays a crucial role in coordinating and overseeing the various service providers. To ensure the effective and efficient delivery of services, the service integrator will establish and enforce governance structures, processes, and standards to ensure that all service providers adhere to the agreed levels of service and quality.

They'll provide ongoing management and build and maintain positive relationships with the service providers through communication and collaboration. They will track and evaluate performance, identifying areas for improvement and driving continuous service improvement initiatives. They will also assess and mitigate risks associated with the delivery of service and manage the overall risk profile within the ecosystem. Their role is to provide coordination of activities of the service providers, ensuring they work together effectively and are focused on the end-to-end delivery of services.

Service providers, which can be internal teams or external suppliers, often work in combination. The service integrator facilitates regular meetings, forums, and governance boards to foster relationships and promote cross-provider collaboration.

While SIAM is commonly adopted by large organisations, it's suitable for any organisation facing challenges delivering IT services across multiple suppliers. The principles remain consistent, but the roles and resources may vary based on the size and type of the business.

SIAM benefits

There are many benefits to be gained by adopting a SIAM approach to managing your service providers. These include:

  • Improved service quality: SIAM helps to ensure that different service providers work together cohesively, leading to improved service quality and consistency, and are focused on delivering value to their customers collaboratively.

  • Optimised costs and increased value: by optimising your service provider relationships and reducing duplication, SIAM can lead to cost savings. It also encourages ongoing service improvement and innovation through feedback and forums ensuring services remain relevant and competitive.

  • Improved governance: SIAM allows for greater transparency and clarity of the services being provided and establishes clear roles and responsibilities for the service providers, the service integrator, and the customer organisation alike. This enables all parties to have clear accountability of the elements of the end-to-end delivery of services they provide.

  • A scalable, flexible network that can meet your current and future demands: SIAM can provide the ability for organisations to adopt a more flexible model where service providers can be onboarded and off boarded with greater ease. However, many organisations value stability and would rather drive improvements from their existing supplier relationships and provide enhanced business value.

In summary, SIAM could help your organisation beat the ever growing and more complex challenges and demands of your business by providing a framework focused on value, end-to-end management and collaboration across internal and external services.

Considerations when adopting SIAM

Every SIAM transformation is different and there will be challenges along the way. Some of these may include:

  • Building the business case to actually begin the work: it's really important to start with a strong business case as undertaking a SIAM project will likely affect many areas within your organisation.

  • Cultural change challenges: a successful implementation of a SIAM model often requires a cultural change from both the service providers and customer moving to a collaborative, transparent relationship where issues are used to learn lessons and improve rather than appoint blame. The service integrator as an agent of the customer organisation also needs to be empowered and the customer needs to step back from the traditional roles of managing suppliers.

  • As with all large projects, organisational change management is crucial. It is important to communicate what is happening, when and why. It is key to get stakeholders involved as soon as possible and as much as possible.

  • Commercial challenges and existing contracts: the reality is your organisation is not a greenfield environment where you can set up your requirements upfront when selecting the contracting suppliers. Rather, you have legacy contracts and suppliers that you need to migrate into your new model. This may involve renegotiating or terminating contracts, or even accepting that certain suppliers won't be integrated into your model.

  • Tooling automation that underpins your style model. Your tooling strategy is another big consideration. It could be that you have your own platform such as ServiceNow and require all your service providers to use it. But don't forget to consider licencing management and development requirements. You may alternatively wish to integrate your service provider's own tools into a primary service management platform, thereby linking all the key information together.

  • Don't forget your internal support teams: you're unlikely to have service agreements and service targets in place, but these teams need to be moved into the silent model in just the same way as external service providers. It is therefore key to look holistically across the service and manage everyone who is involved, though the styles and approaches may differ.

  • Finally, an emerging area in SIAM is how to deal with large suppliers like Microsoft and AWS, as these often form a crucial part of your services. These providers aren't coming to your monthly meetings. You are unlikely to have collaborative relationships with them, and they aren't easily integrated into your chosen ITSM platform. It is therefore important that strategies are developed to make sure the required information is captured as part of your SIAM transformation.

Advanced is a leading provider of service integration – we have years of experience helping organisations across industries with complex environments. We can help you:

  • Design an approach tailored to your organisational needs and objectives
  • Build a solution in line with the SIAM framework that integrates your existing suppliers and services
  • Operate as the service integrator within the SIAM framework that delivers value and outcomes for your business
  • Provide a dedicated team that acts as your trusted partner and advisor

Learn more about our Service Integration approach or to discuss how we can help your organisation, get in touch today.

Blog Guide Managed Services
Andrew Farran

Andrew Farran


Lead Service Architect

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