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In a world of seemingly limitless choice, focused on customer experience, most IT Organisations (ITOs) have dispensed with single-vendor outsourcing and fully in-house provisioning and instead adopted a multi-sourcing strategy.

This allows them to secure the best quality, most flexible, cost-effective and scalable IT operations and technology infrastructure solutions aligned to their business needs. Service Integration & Management (SIAM), a single, central
management function, is the most effective IT operating model to overcome the challenges of managing multiple vendors and ensure integration and consistency, minimise risk and incentivise accountability.

In addition to the Service Management function, SIAM also encompasses the overarching governance model, supporting tools and cultural changes necessary to successfully deliver the business-critical IT services that give the wider organisation a competitive edge.

Critical Success Factors

As investment in SIAM increases, so do the organisation’s expectations about the outcome of using a SIAM model. However, as many high-profile organisations have found, if it is not implemented strategically and completely, the SIAM model can fail, compromising the IT organisation’s ability to deliver quality, business-aligned IT services. Through our involvement in the design, build, implementation and optimisation of SIAM models for SMBs and larger enterprises across multiple industries, Syniad IT has derived a number of critical success factors. Following these recommendations alone doesn’t guarantee success and we recommend that you partner with a trusted SIAM advisor to ensure that your strategy achieves your desired outcomes. Armed with these success factors, your organisation will be more likely to understand how to deliver a strategic, business-aligned SIAM program, avoiding the most common mistakes, creating a thriving supplier ecosystem, and a platform to deliver world-class IT services to a demanding business.

1. Is SIAM the right model?

Following an initial SIAM Baseline Assessment most organisations initiate a transformation program aimed at establishing or improving a SIAM capability. Your sourcing strategy is likely to recommend a multi-service provider model, due to the many benefits outlined above and a multi-sourced model will normally require a SIAM model to support it.

2. Develop a target Operating Model

Developing a Target Operating Model (TOM) for the IT organisation is critical. Taking the sourcing strategy as a key input, it should describe the structure of the IT organisation, which process model you will adopt, your approach to tooling in general and specifically to your ITSM tool and the over-arching governance model for the SIAM ecosystem. Here you will also tackle the biggest question of all; “Should SIAM be retained or sourced?”. The answer to this question will depend upon a multitude of factors that will be unique
to your organisation. Undoubtedly, there are benefits and disadvantages to each approach, which a trusted adviser should be able to help you navigate.

3. Align the SIAM Model to the business strategy

When defining the part of the IT organisation which will be tasked with business and IT alignment, you should consult directly with the business! This should involve understanding how key business stakeholders wish to engage with IT in terms of service governance (e.g. service performance reviews, measurement and reporting of service performance and the development of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) aligned to business outcomes for the service), along with their strategic direction and goals. It’s a good idea to get advice from your contract and supplier management team(s) to ensure that the SIAM model is developed on a sound commercial and contractual footing.

Getting end-user input from key business stakeholders is also vital to ensure that the problem statement for the SIAM model is clear. This problem statement can then be referred to during implementation, along with other business requirements, such as the contractual framework. To succeed,
the SIAM strategy must be aligned to these requirements.

4. Define your tooling strategy

Don’t assume that your SIAM ecosystem service providers will own and maintain your IT tools. There are benefits to the retained organisation owning these tools, particularly the Service Management toolset, so that you can control your master data, workflows and ticket data, from a single-source-of-truth.

For more information on defining your tooling strategy, read “Why you Really Need a SIAM Tooling Strategy”

5. Design the IT organisation structure

Once you’ve defined your IT Strategy and Operating Model, you need to develop a comprehensive ITO structure. We recommend that, while you design these to meet the specific needs of your business, you also use established process and governance frameworks, such as ITIL, COBIT and ISO20000 to ensure that the activities, and their division between the retained organisation and the sourcing partners are clear.

This ITO structure should drill down to role and process level, accounting for each of the key roles, which should be categorised by whether they are being performed by the customer organisation, the SIAM function, a service provider or a combination of each.

6. Define the SIAM scope

It’s essential to clearly define the scope of the SIAM function, whether retained or sourced, so that it’s clear where the accountability lies. The key considerations at process level are the
degree of authority it possesses and the level of interaction with sourcing partners and the business. The best ways to determine these is through scenario-based testing, which will reveal the key roles you’ll require to manage common situations, such as the resolution of a major incident.

7. Encourage positive behaviour

KPIs can be a source of frustration in an outsourced environment, as each party may have a different way of defining and measuring “success”, or an inconsistent method by which they are measured across different service providers is adopted, either due to tooling, process or organisational
constraints. The way we measure our service providers heavily influences their ways of working and their behaviour when dealing with each other, the SIAM provider (if applicable) and the customer organisation.

KPIs must encourage the desired behaviour and outcomes: innovation, collaboration, business focus and service awareness. They also need to discourage adverse behaviour and outcomes like silo thinking, inflexibility,
mechanical working and lack of business empathy. To achieve this, the IT and contract teams need to work closely to create value added KPIs across the entire service provider ecosystem.

8. Undertake a Skills Gap Analysis

When devising your SIAM based Operating Model and Organisation design, you may discover skills gaps.

This is typically to the following factors:

  • Service Management is largely undertaken by the service provider in the legacy sourcing contracts
  • Retained staff are heavily biased towards supplier management as opposed to service management or vice versa
  • A need for greater understanding of the activities required to achieve integration of the service provider’s services to business services
  • No previous experience of the governance models required to manage a multi-service provider ecosystem
  • Failing to report and conduct an ongoing review of service performance

Understanding these gaps and mapping them back to the skills required to deliver the Target Operating Model, IT Strategy and Organisation design, is key to success.

9. Procure, configure and test the tools

Your Tooling Strategy forms the basis for procurement decisions relating to the tool which will underpin the SIAM programme. The SIAM toolset comprises several tools that together provide the required functionality – see our White Paper, “Why you Really Need a SIAM Tooling Strategy”

There are huge benefits to the customer organisation owning elements of the SIAM toolset, particularly the ITSM tool, which acts as the focal point for so many of the process activities in a SIAM model.

These benefits include:

  • Flexibility of tool configuration
  • Speed of tools configuration
  • A centralised point for setting and configuring the tool strategy, so it meets the needs of the business without being constrained by the service providers’ ways of working
  • Ability to act as an objective arbiter for prospective tool changes

We also advise that the customer organisation has ownership of testing the
tools in the context of an end-to-end process and organisational model. This ensures that accountability for changes to the SIAM toolset rests with the most objective party in the ecosystem, without influence or bias from the service provider community.

10. Embrace cultural change

Implementing your SIAM Operating Model is a major cultural and behavioural change program.

This can involve:

  • training existing staff
  • hiring people with experience of operating in a SIAM model
  • recognising the need to change ways of working
  • identifying specific cultural change objectives

Embracing the need for cultural change will enable you to optimise your SIAM model. Often something simple, such as hiring new staff with a fresh outlook, can provide the impetus for change, as new approaches and attitudes will soon filter through to other team members.

11. Build the SIAM capability first

Using the Organisational Design, Operating Model and Tooling Strategy as the blueprint, the retained or sourced SIAM function should be established prior to transition to the new sourcing model. This ensures that the SIAM function can influence the new service providers, establish ways of working and demonstrate value from the outset. It also enables you to tweak the SIAM design before all the service providers come on board.


This advice is drawn from Syniad IT’s extensive SIAM experience. Every client is different and while it’s never advisable to apply a wholly prescriptive strategy, these Critical Success Factors provide a solid foundation for any business considering a switch to a SIAM model.

To find out how we help organisations like yours read our ultimate guide to SIAM.