Business models are fast changing. They no longer employ a single IT service provider for all their IT needs. Instead, IT responsibilities are shared between multiple suppliers, for example networks outsourced to Supplier A, infrastructure and datacenters to Supplier B and application support to Supplier C. In these scenarios, Plain Jane ITIL implementations bring about several possibilities, such as sharing of accountabilities, conflict resolution and collaboration between various suppliers.
This situation calls for an adaptation of ITIL implementation called as Service Integration and Management (SIAM), where we create a layer between the business and the supplier organizations, and this layer is called as the SIAM layer, and the overall service management accountabilities are handed over to the SIAM layer.
In a typical SIAM model, you will have a SIAM layer consisting of various roles such as incident manager, problem manager and change manager among others. Similar roles will exist with each of the suppliers as well. For example, each of the suppliers (network, infrastructure and application support) will have an incident manager, a problem manager and a change manager to manage the supplier’s respective processes and activities. Each of these supplier roles will functionally report to the respective SIAM roles. Ex: Supplier problem managers reporting to SIAM problem manager.
The objective of SIAM is to focus on the various interactions between the suppliers, enhance collaboration to ensure the suppliers work as one towards the service delivered to the customer and to resolve conflicts if they are to arise.
Example: An application service is down. The application support supplier’s incident manager has identified that the application is working as it should. After completing due diligence, he escalates the incident to the SIAM incident manager to bring in incident managers from the network and infrastructure suppliers. The SIAM incident manager duly brings all the parties together, each of the incident managers gets their teams to investigate, and work as one unit under the leadership of the SIAM incident manager. In this case, let us say that the actual issue was with a network switch that was not passing the traffic through, as it was meant to. The network supplier takes ownership of the incident, and resolves the incident, which eventually brings the application service back to life.
The example, stated illustrates how multiple suppliers can come together to deliver services to the customer. The SIAM layer acted as a conduit for information to pass through, for governance to be set in and to ensure that the customer’s interests are put in the driving seat. Without the SIAM layer, you can guess that there will be plenty of finger pointing and escalations/complaints before any of the engineers get to work.
SIAM is a must for a simple reason that none of the businesses risk their IT with a single supplier, who could be the single point of failure, and lack of competition could make him laid back. This is the future, and if you are in the ITSM/ITIL industry, I urge you start becoming aware about SIAM, and how it is different from traditional ITIL processes and implementations. There are various models of realizing SIAM, I will discuss a few of them next week.