This article is part of a series. I would recommend reading the articles in order, starting with “Modern IT Ecosystem”, which provides the required framing.
- Modern IT Ecosystem
- Service Delivery
- Hybrid Multi-Cloud
- Identity Access Management
- Unified Communications
- Line of Business Apps
- Architecture Community
- Data Protection
As a brief reminder, this series aims to explore the “art of the possible” if an enterprise business could hypothetically rebuild IT from the ground up, creating a modern IT ecosystem.
Within this article, I will highlight the importance of Service Integration and Management (SIAM), covering the basics of SIAM, as well as my proposed model and vendor positioning.
Service Integration and Management (SIAM) is an approach to manage, integrate and unify multiple vendors, helping them to deliver end-to-end services that meet specific business requirements. SIAM replaces the traditional approach, where vendors are managed in isolation, with separate processes and expectations, often resulting in hand-off issues and/or “finger-pointing”.
Specifically, SIAM enforces a combined “revenue at risk” model, which contractually dictates the holistic performance (shared Service Level Agreements) across all vendors, incentivising collaboration and collective innovation.
To make SIAM effective, the following IT capabilities must be established and maintained.
Service Integration Governance: Define, establish and continuously adapt the service integration governance.
Service Integration Organisation: Develop and manage a distributed organisation supporting changing business requirements.
Business Requirements: Manage business demand and develop a service portfolio in alignment with business requirements.
Tools and Information: Manage distributed information and the integration tool solutions.
Providers and Contracts: Select an appropriate provider portfolio and to manage the providers according to the outsourcing contracts.
End-to-end Services: Understand and manage the business services end-to-end, covering business and IT services.
As previously stated, a key philosophy of SIAM is the “revenue at risk” model, which enforces shared SLA’s. This model can be very difficult to contractually negotiate, especially when dealing with competing vendors. However, I can confirm it is possible, assuming the selected vendors prioritise customer outcomes.
To simplify the contractual process, I would position three service level categories, specifically:
Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
- The maximum amount of time it should take to resolve an issue.
- Commonly used within disaster recovery but can be applied to service management.
- Measured through IT Service Management.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
- A “point in time” measure used as an indicator of happiness.
- Rates the service interaction with a specific agent and/or request, designed to capture whether the interaction was resolved to the user’s satisfaction.
- Measured through a survey after the closure of an interaction.
Customer Effort Store (CES)
- A measure that aims to determine the user’s “effort”.
- Rates how quickly and easily it was to get service and resolution from a user’s perspective.
- The self-help use of knowledge articles derives a positive CES score.
All vendors would be measures against these service level categories, holistically rewarding performance improvements (carrot, not the stick). In parallel, each vendor would have complimentary SLA’s, focused on their specific business and/or scope.
The goal is for all vendors to collectively target the same outcome, prioritising a positive user experience.
For example, in the context of a Help Desk, all requests would stay with the Help Desk agent, regardless of which team/vendor would complete the work.
Sub-tasks would be allocated to different teams/vendors to help manage the work, but the user would always have a single point of contact and therefore, a single point of accountability.
Finally, the resolution time runs continuously for all teams/vendors, which helps to avoid “ticket bouncing”, where the clock gets reset to protect individual teams/vendors SLA’s.
Service Delivery Alignment
As highlighted in the article “Architecture Community”, the SIAM governance model must compliment a product-mindset, focused on removing unnecessary bureaucracy, prioritising agility, flexibility and responsiveness.
This goal, alongside the desire to continuously reduce the operational risk associated with any change, must be an embedded part of the Service Delivery approach.
In the article “Service Delivery”, I documented my proposed approach to service delivery, which incorporated the following SIAM specific principles/deliverables.
All functional and non-functional requirements (including operational requirements) must be tracked through the complete lifecycle of the product.
A Product Owner has accountability for creating the deliverables during the life of the product.
Specific service transition deliverables help to ensure stakeholder alignment, covering Information Security, Privacy and Quality.
A Service Readiness checklist must be completed and approved before any product is released into production.
With the previously defined business characteristics in mind, I would position a SIAM approach to help drive efficiencies and embed service excellence.
The document below outlines my proposed vendor positioning, all operating within the previous described SIAM model.
Vendor selection was driven by my personal experience, based on the previously defined business characteristics. For example, the Life Sciences industry, 15,000+ users, distributed across 50+ physical sites globally.
Help Desk, Workplace and Identity: I have grouped all “user-facing” capabilities to help unify the experience and drive operational efficiencies. Recognising the commodity nature of these capabilities, I would position HCL as the support vendor, enabling global economies of scale. This positioning also compliments my wider workplace investments, such as Microsoft AutoPilot, Microsoft Azure AD and Device-as-a-Service from Dell.
Infrastructure: I had previously positioned CenturyLink as my Internet Aggregator, therefore this investment could be naturally extended to cover global network services (e.g. SD-WAN, LAN, WLAN, DNS/DHCP, etc.) Considering the converged nature of the proposed modern IT ecosystem and the increasingly important role of infrastructure automation, CenturyLink would also be positioned to support the “Hybrid Multi-Cloud” hosting stack (e.g. Colocation Data Centres, Public Cloud and Edge Computing).
Application: As highlighted in the article “Architecture Community”, I would position an Application Managed Services provider to help scale solution architecture and engineering across the enterprise. This would include the enablement of application automation, used to increase business agility and streamline processes. I would positioned Infosys as my Application Managed Services provider, recognising their breadth and scale, alongside their focus on digital innovation.
Service Management: As previously highlighted, the SIAM approach can be complex to implement, recognising the need to drive alignment across multiple vendors. As a result, I would position a smaller company, Alcor Solutions, to help operate the SIAM model, focused on enabling the required governance and IT capabilities.
In my opinion, these four vendors would provide enough breadth and depth to support the entire modern IT ecosystem globally. I have attempted to scope their engagement to ensure clear roles and capabilities, with any separation of concerns being hidden from the user via the holistic SIAM model.
It would be possible to achieve the same outcome with fewer vendors (potentially driving a greater return on investment), however, this would also create greater lock-in and reduce internal competition, which can be healthy when looking to drive continuous improvement.
In conclusion, I believe my proposed positioning of a Service Integration and Management (SIAM) approach is a key prerequisite to realising the potential of a Modern IT Ecosystem.
The architecture and technology can unlock tremendous business value, but if it is not managed efficiently and effectively, any value would be quickly lost.
SIAM aims to remove unnecessary bureaucracy, prioritising agility, flexibility and responsiveness, with a focus on the outcome.