September 23, 2015

SIAM – a passing trend or here to stay?

Niraj Sood

Business Development, Tieto Managed Services

Service Integration and Management, or SIAM, is one of the hot topics in the outsourcing business. Is it a passing trend, or should companies be prepared to take it as a staple in their efforts to effectivise operations and optimise costs? Niraj Sood discusses.

SIAM is coming of age

The concept of Service Integration and Management (SIAM) has actually existed, in one form or other, since the mid-1990s. In the early days, it was not as structured and systematic as today, but as outsourcing grew and began to include a wider range of services, organisations started to talk about multisourcing, and its associated complex service provisioning structures, giving rise to the need of SIAM.                

The changing role of IT

At first, organisations handled multisourcing in-house, but very soon the complexity in outsourcing grew so much that the sheer number of interfaces began to stretch the resources of in-house IT teams. As the driving force behind outsourcing is to enable corporations to focus on their core business and leave all non-core activities to external partners, it was only natural that CIO offices started to look at possibilities to alleviate their resource and competency pains. They were clearly seeing a need to manage multiple external vendors and services more efficiently instead of the prevailing ad hoc ways, which did not reveal the true value derived from the outsourcing of services.

The outsourcing world is becoming a complex ecosystem

The way I see it, the need for SIAM will continue to grow. The world is moving towards an ecosystem model where dependencies are continuously increasing. No matter how you try to consolidate vendors, the business environment is changing fast all the time, resulting in new partners popping up who can serve you better than the existing ones in a certain area or function. Neither can you limit the deployment of new solutions, because that would be an obstacle in the way of new business opportunities.

Business operations typically think in silos looking only at their own area of responsibility. This creates pressure to commission new IT solutions, and if the in-house IT is unable to respond quickly, the business areas make their own purchases bypassing the IT organization. Eventually, however, these solutions grow beyond the capabilities of the business department and end up being dropped in the lap of IT.

This constant flux combined with the need for reliable integration, a good user experience and the total value will make efficient SIAM all the more important. The ecosystem model brings with it increased complexity, which is why you need to have the operation managed professionally to see where your investments go and what benefits they produce.

To produce real business benefits, in-house IT needs to move higher in the ecosystem, into a more strategic role focusing more on roadmapping the future than managing a bunch of existing solutions. SIAM outsourcing – combining and integrating internal and external IT services – is an efficient way of achieving this.

The way forward

As practically every company is challenged with simultaneously decreasing operating cost and achieving higher operational efficiencies, it is extremely important to have predictable output with quantifiable benefits. SIAM, having reached the age of a healthy teenager, though not without growing pains, is on a sure path toward adulthood, and is definitely here to stay.  A good SIAM partner helps streamline and normalize different vendors’ offerings for a more in-depth view. 

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