As we force ourselves into even higher gears of technological innovation, the trend in the market is to move closer to multi-sourcing and high-end services from best-of-breed suppliers; e.g. one supplier might be good at delivering People Performance Management, while another provider is excellent at providing Information Management. So instead of outsourcing all infrastructure and databases to one supplier, it may be attractive to partner with that vendor, who is e.g. leading in cutting edge solutions to People Performance Management and Information Management – including all operations, maintenance and development.
For the organisation procuring such services from still more high-end providers there is a challenge of how to succeed with the management and administration of services, which doesn’t necessarily fit with each other. How to manage the multi-sourcing setup providing insight and accurateness of the information management of the different service providers.
The term to manage the multiple vendors to provide consistent services to the end-users is denoted Service Integration and Management (SIAM). The objective is to provide a single business-facing IT organisation, however, as these vendors deliver different types of services, the term services often gets blurred in discussions – and can often be quite different things! Hence, there is a pitfall in trying to establish a huge services framework as a theoretically based exercise. To succeed, we recommend building the services step-by-step as the digital governance is established in the living architecture.
According to the research paper by Goldberg et al, SIAM is the discipline to procure and blend services from multiple external and internal providers. As the SIAM management eventually will have a cost, and the best-of-breed providers may be hard to compare with more traditional outsourcing providers, there may be a challenge on cost.
Many clients face different issues implementing and getting the SIAM layer to perform satisfactory. Simply to succeed with SIAM, the organisation needs to understand the architectural structure of the IT landscape, and how it is managed by delegating accountabilities of a digital governance. However, the main pitfall is still that most stakeholders are reluctant to buy ‘services’, e.g. if they have a preference for certain vendors, certain products, certain solution patterns. There is this paradox, as to succeed with service integration, you might have to go around services as a term. To establish an end-to-end SIAM solution you need to work on the digitalisation of the metadata and information management of the different vendors. To succeed with SIAM, you need to manage your sourcing assets with all the relevant dependencies as part of managing the digital governance. This is almost a prerequisite to manage SIAM as an ongoing digital process.
Before moving into SIAM, an organisation should consider many factors. We have listed 7 pieces of advice to succeed with digital services integration:
- Map out your Business Capability Map so you have a consistent view of ‘what does the business do’, and what is done where in the business
- Then map the business applications and business projects and other sourcing deliverables. This allows a direct coupling from IT to Business, and allows in parallel the business services construction. Try to avoid layers of academia and ‘noun services’, start building the typical orderings and offerings requested from stakeholders and end-users.
- Enable a digital solution of the management of the service integrator; managing the information exchange between own organisation and external providers. What is the live information you get from the providers to secure your information is up to date.
- Enable a digital solution of the management of the service integration, managing the information between the different providers. What is the alive information you need to manage the vendor?
- As the SIAM solution evolves there will be a living representation of how infrastructure relates to business applications, and development, and further into the business. Make sure this end-to-end model is clear, alive and governed using terms common for end-users (not the academics).
- Align the vendor management with the information management to align scope and expectations across the provider contracts. The information management should be an online living architecture which at heart supports the SIAM solution. Ensure silo-services and non-silo services are experimentally approached, validated, and approved.
- Get yourself an advisor who can help you to build the SIAM portal with an agile mindset. Most of the services and groupings of a SIAM solution must mature, the fastest route is to experiment, validate and grow. It is like a restaurant, where the services menu card is not ready day 1, but testing a menu card, you will see which services are asked for, in what type or spiciness, and what other meals could be composed from some of the same ingredients.
The integration of interdependent multi-sourcing services is difficult for many clients, but for those clients who manage the information management as a living architecture with digital governance, it is a minor step. The challenges of assuming this is done by IT Service Management is often a too simplified picture, and the challenges to solve the services enabling before building the SIAM portal seems often academic with limited success and low impact. We advise to bring alive the digital platform using interaction in the planning and definition of the SIAM solution. This is the safest way to enable your digital services transformation.
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