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Jon Morley of Littlefish examines why the SIAM IT model has been resisted so far by governments and what it can do for the public sector

Service Integration and Management (SIAM), an approach to managing multiple suppliers of services and integrating them to provide a single business-facing IT organisation, has had a mixed rap in the public sector. So much so that in February 2015 Alex Holmes, GDS’ Chief Operating Officer, penned a blog titled ‘Knocking Down the Towers of SIAM’. Many saw this as the government turning its back on SIAM. But that was not quite the intention of the blog. Instead, it highlighted how the SIAM model in use across much of the UK public sector needed to evolve and ensure it was fit for purpose to address the challenges the sector faces today and the needs of users.

The demand

Demand in the market is rapidly rising for SIAM, so much so that the SIAM foundation architect group led by Scopism developed the ‘SIAM Body of Knowledge’ to establish best practice and support the new SIAM foundation training course. They’ve collectively formulated and built a framework that helps organisations to move from one outsourcer to multiple providers to get the most out of their investment in IT, without losing visibility through day-to-day management and overarching governance.

Making it work

So, for those in the early stages of moving away from a monolithic supplier to best of breed SIAM what are the key considerations? How can departments ensure success? And what developing trends need to be considered? There are three main ingredients. SIAM needs people, process, and technology to work and without all these considerations it will simply fail or at best be cumbersome.


It really is a collaboration process for all parties and very often there may need to be a cultural shift in behaviours. Think about the skills you now need, more suppliers mean the importance of supplier management is increased. The need to have service management professionals who are subject matter experts but also understand how to build and maintain relationships across organisations is also important.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that now more than ever, with the development of cloud services and fast iterative application development practices, the role of IT is to deliver business outcomes, not to be inward focussed and cause the business to purchase their own uncontrolled ‘shadow IT’. Does your IT function have the right level of business understanding and engagement? Are individuals able to focus on the business as their primary customer each day and not be unnecessarily sidetracked worrying about the performance of the various service providers?


Processes and data need to be flexible and able to integrate with others – particularly the service providers. Make sure your governance model avoids unnecessary and costly ‘man marking’ or mandating of processes that deliver little or no business value. ITIL is sometimes deemed to be at odds with the requirements of today’s application development and support teams. How will the required flexibility be achieved but control maintained?

Data quality and its influence on service reporting are key. Objective measures of performance that align to business requirements focus everyone on the right things. Will my processes integrate properly? Are downstream dependencies met? Also, major incident management without high-quality configuration management input in the form of service maps will see inefficient resolution and elongated outages for the business.


For service management tooling what are you using and how are you managing it? Is there a clear service management tooling architecture that maps out the dependencies and has clear lines of responsibility? For example, own tools vs. external service providers’ tools – be flexible and look at the best toolset for the job but be cognizant of driving unnecessary costs both ongoing and one off.

Also, automation is critical on every level. Users expect multi-channel interaction with service desks and fast provisioning of service requests. The business expects highly available services with proactive monitoring and automated fixes for infrastructure and application issues. In house or specialist development, third party teams expect fast provisioning of cloud-based infrastructure. With the integration capabilities possible in today’s service management tools through their APIs, it would be foolish to run a modern SIAM ecosystem relying on manual inputs and interventions.

What next?

Disaggregation is happening now, and the public sector is aware of a clear opportunity to reap the benefits of massive service quality improvements and cost efficiencies through transitioning to a best of breed supplier model.

Once a clear SIAM methodology is in place, consistency can prevail and business transformation can happen, offering unlimited benefits such as improved customer satisfaction, a higher quality of service, optimised costs, and more direct control over decision-making and directions. The key is to own your own environment and do so in a way that allows you to focus on and adapt to the needs of your business. That is how you really put the management back into service integration.


Jon Morley

Service Delivery Manager




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