5 things you are not considering when proposing SIAM to customers – by Rakesh Kumar

The concept of Service Integration and Management has picked up over the last couple of years. While the customer views it as a remedy to all their supplier-related woes, the service providers find it an appropriate wrapper for their services. For them, it not only provides structure to their overall transition and delivery models but also makes their position stronger in customer circles. However, given the popularity of SIAM and a constant willingness to add it to the technology and business proposals, service providers often overlook a few aspects in their proposals. These aspects, if missed, can lead to false expectations during planning and transition, eventually leading to flawed delivery.

SIAM is complementary to ITIL, not a replacement for it

ITIL is a widely accepted framework and it is competent to handle the IT service management in a very comprehensive way. However, when it comes to managing the services across suppliers and providing a single accountable layer for services, it needs support. SIAM, on the other hand, enables a unified view of services across suppliers while ensuring the sanctity of systems across suppliers and service towers. This makes these two approaches complementary and to be used in tandem.

If a proposal features ITIL® it can still mention SIAM as per the requirements (as a complementary package) or vice versa. There can be scenarios where SIAM alone is proposed with ITIL ® processes as a part of it, but a clear separation must be maintained in the solution.

Any attempt to replace one with the other can be very misleading for customers. This affects the estimates for technology, delivery, and support drastically. The solution may be grossly undersized or oversized.

SIAM is not just for IT, it’s for Business Services as well

Not every customer today can articulate their requirements clearly in terms of Service Integration and Management. This, perhaps, restricts the usability of SIAM for broader needs and, as a result, it remains at the discretion of service providers to propose SIAM as per their understanding of the scope. SIAM in its totality can help customers handle their broader challenges compared to IT services alone. IT may take center stage; however, businesses use suppliers and struggle with them in their overall supply chain. SIAM can be a comprehensive solution to cover those areas. When you add technology to this, service providers can create a win-win for all. A good SIAM proposal should look deeper into customer challenges, as one may get only one opportunity to set up SIAM.

SIAM is a journey and may start at any point

One of the biggest apprehensions I have seen in the minds of customers is about the sequential planning of SIAM deployments. Customers often see a plan to deploy SIAM as a ground-up exercise and hence are reluctant to accept such a pitch. This can negatively impact the chances of winning a deal for service providers.

SIAM deployment must be construed as a journey that can start at any point of realization of its need. It can build upon existing delivery models and service methodologies. For instance, one can build a SIAM Office on top of an existing Service Management Office and then evolve it to full-blown SIAM over the course of time. Similarly, SIAM can be used to build a delivery model for a greenfield setup, where SIAM can start by framing strategy for business support. This can then proceed to operations step-by-step.

Fitting into existing SIAM is equally important as creating a new SIAM layer for suppliers

Service providers are keen to build SIAM capability and play the lead role for the customer as this provides an opportunity to be a working partner with the business. A sense of compulsion to do this however leads to an unnecessary push for a lead provider role in SIAM scenarios. While this is not completely unfair, it may display service providers inability to adapt to existing SIAM with the customer or any other provider. This highlights the importance of understanding the requirements and proposing the right role for service providers. There may be cases where a customer would need a certain level of education in this regard, but choosing to have a SIAM lead should be customer business’s choice. This is based on the logic that, only the customer can empower SIAM to do what it is intended to do. Any unnecessary push to create or lead (or both), can make the supplier bite off more than they can chew.

On the other hand, incorporating with existing SIAM, not only shows maturity as a supplier, but also gives an opportunity to play a wider role in supplier consolidation and optimization initiatives. As not all suppliers can become lead service providers, the capability to fit into the existing SIAM and positively contribute to its operations can go a long way.

The Scale and Size of the customer’s organization does not necessarily make a case for SIAM

SIAM is scalable, however, that does not mean that it applies to every opportunity with a large scale and size. The number of locations and number of end users may not necessarily indicate the challenges that customer faces or the need for a SIAM solution. For SIAM to be a prospect, the customer must have sufficient complexity to address in its environment. This complexity may be due to many suppliers, a number of technology components, the need to migrate to new age technologies, spinoffs, acquisitions etc. In absence of these things, the solution can be simple ITSM with ITIL processes in it.

In nutshell, a proposal featuring SIAM has to be very balanced to showcase its value to the customer. An inappropriate positioning of a SIAM solution can be counterproductive and turn into a big turn-off for the customer. With SIAM as a concept still developing, understanding the maturity of customers is very important and so is showing maturity as a service provider.

About the Author:

Rakesh is a SIAM author, ITIL® Expert, and PRINCE2® Practitioner with extensive experience in providing quality SIAM and ITSM solutions to customers from various business verticals. He has has many years’ experience in design and architecture of integrated service management solutions. He has led a team of process and automation consultants in designing and deploying SIAM, processes, governance models, Continual Service Improvement Initiatives, and corresponding tools and automation for various clients across the globe.