December 16, 2015

SIAM governance is a joint effort

Eija Laamanen

Lead Product Manager, Tieto

When you have made the decision to jump on the SIAM bandwagon to increase the efficiency of your IT and have all the tooling in place, you still need effective governance to keep the engine running smoothly. Eija Laamanen discusses what good SIAM governance is made of.

While the idea of SIAM (Service Integration and Management) is to streamline and make the purchasing of services from multiple vendors more efficient to create business benefits, it creates a new set of challenges for a company’s IT management. On the one hand, IT purchasing moves closer to business requirements, but on the other, the operating environment becomes more complex, as IT needs to work with a large number of partners.

A new kind of governance model is necessary for responding to this new kind of need. It is, of course, possible to build in-house governance capabilities, but they entail a high resourcing and operating cost, which for most companies doesn’t make sense. This is why a more feasible solution is often to select an external SIAM partner, to whom the management of the entire SIAM structure is assigned. When the management of a multivendor environment is a joint effort, both the provider and the client have enough skin in the game to act in a responsible manner. This fosters a sustainable model for SIAM.

Governance = Collaboration

SIAM should primarily be seen as a collaboration model, even though the word “governance” appears in the discussion many times.

Sustainable governance, and SIAM too for that matter, should be moulded around the following principles:

  • Continuity
  • Permanence
  • Collaboration
  • Goodwill

In a SIAM model where the SIAM partner is nominated to oversee the entire operation, its SIAM Management Office (SMO) works with all the different suppliers, by proxy of the client, and has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the end-to-end service provision works as intended. This, however, should not be allowed to lead to a situation where the SIAM partner is just the angry headmaster who is looking for opportunities to rap knuckles when something doesn’t work ideally.

A good SIAM partner creates and oversees governance and management standards that everyone can abide to, as well as the best practices on how to achieve it. It is the SIAM partner’s job to unify all the different parties in the arrangement into a solid team whose goal is to deliver what the client needs.

There is a lot of talk about automation in connection with IT modernization, but in SIAM, too much automation of governance can lead to challenges in collaboration. That is why people skills and the ability to promote cooperation are among the most important characteristics of all SIAM partners.

The idea behind SIAM is to provide structure in a multi-supplier environment. Like in all team sports, ground rules are necessary – and someone has to enforce them – but in the end, the goal is to work together to give the client the results that have been agreed on, at all levels of governance. The starting point of collaboration is to think about how to reach the common goal, not play power games.

SIAM Gov.png

SIAM Governance model

Building trust between parties

By enabling a good collaborative culture between your company, the SIAM partner and the multiple service providers, significant improvements can be achieved.  

The SIAM partner is responsible for building, maintaining and developing

  • Formal establishment of roles and responsibilities
  • Joint workshops and continuous development of mutual understanding and knowledge sharing
  • Joint governance of parties to discuss common interests and concerns
  • Transfer of controls in SIAM processes


Good SIAM governance enables the management of all service providers’ performance and service levels in a multisourcing environment in a structured way. It ensures end-to-end transparency with clearly agreed responsibilities.  It makes management, governance and controls consistent, while at the same time decreasing duplicate governance and coordinating work. Clearly defined and standardized roles, responsibilities and interactions of resolutions and escalations ensure solutions also in case of conflict of interest.  Most importantly, SIAM builds structures for collaboration and trust among multiple service providers and their customer.

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