September 14, 2016

On-boarding to a SIAM journey - Nordics under the lens

Satyendra Shrotri

Head of Center of Excellence for SIAM, Tieto

We have read across many forums and papers how Service Integration and Management (SIAM) is the strategic glue that binds multiple delivery organisations together in a multi-vendor IT landscape. But despite growing recognition of this, the adoption and maturity of SIAM in Nordics remains low.

There are many reasons for this low maturity and low adoption. A recent IDC survey, ‘Maturity of SIAM in the Nordics, 2016’, provides a glimpse of some of these barriers and expectations.

The low maturity of SIAM in the Nordics has many contributors, including a lack of SIAM competence, unwillingness to change from current process, perceived threats to existing IT systems and poor knowledge of the possibilities SIAM offers. Figure 1 gives a snapshot view of Nordics and the key barriers to SIAM deployments. With these, we see that a huge opportunity to drive higher degree of efficiency, cut costs and refocus the retained IT on more business-aligned transformational programs than “running the operations”  is being lost.

What is SIAM?

SIAM is about having a common customer business aligned goal and realizing this goal with effective and efficient coordination and active participation from all delivery organisations towards the customer business. SIAM aims at aligning to the business needs and demands from IT with a business perspective.

Service Integration means the coordination of people, processes, and technology across multiple service providers (both internal and external) to manage the delivery of end-to-end services to the end-user and the business.

The need for SIAM

Businesses have recognized the value of IT Outsourcing for years.  In the recent years, the complexity of IT landscape and IT service delivery landscape has increased manyfold. Initial outsourcing has offered the business a cost advantage, but managing multiple vendors and understanding their complex delivery frameworks is something that can be very time and resource intensive.

As a result, customer IT departments over the years have started to lose their edge as they have become more and more entrenched in day-to-day operations, rather than being focused on business needs and expectations from IT. Transformational projects have lost focus, and customer IT needs to refocus on its priorities

SIAM and Nordics 

“Significant number of organizations in the Nordics are trying to use internal resources or are looking at moving SIAM in-house”

Challenges ahead include:

  • Having the right skills to deliver efficient SIAM
  • Not getting too heavily involved in “Run the Operations”
  • Lack of strong in-house SI capabilities
  • Lack of an unbiased view of the supplier landscape within the IT estate

As more organisations in other geographies have on-boarded on this journey and have started seeing the benefits and potential of a service integrator as a strategic ‘glue’ binding end-to-end services, it is time that Nordics based enterprises also arrive at a workable and efficient tailor-made SIAM solution.

Because Nordic organisations lack experience and expertise to implement models like SIAM, there will be significant implementation challenges on this journey, and figure 2 highlights how organisations are struggling to implement SIAM with internal resources.

The challenges will be multi-dimensional, from finding people with the right knowledge and experience and understanding the multivendor environment and partner capabilities, to deriving a model that fits the business need. Defining operational rules of engagement and drawing lines of responsibilities, creating, building and establishing a governance model across vendor partners, active participation in the right spirit on common forums are also among the challenges faced.

If an organisation is able to navigate these, the next big challenge will be to create a SIAM organisation with a working model that can deliver the expected outcomes. All of this needs to be achieved in a defined and committed timeframe.

This looks unachievable with the available bandwidth and skills with the customer IT organisation.

A different perspective – look outwards

Change is unavoidable. But it is critical to understand how the change is managed and how the benefits are realized on the journey. Building and establishing a SIAM function within a customer organisation takes time, effort and sincere commitment from the SIAM provider, customer IT, business leadership, and partner IT organisations.

Time is the critical factor to achieve return on financial investment, as well as delivery effectiveness for business satisfaction. As we look at accelerating the creation and operationalisation of the SIAM function, we need to reassess our position and approach.

When we look outwards, there are leading organisations who have delivered in the SIAM space and have a robust SIAM framework to start with and who also bring in experienced SIAM consultants who have designed and delivered in SIAM. It is always advisable to begin a journey with someone who has been on the same path, or even traversed the path several times.

Taking the first step in the right direction

Organisations, who are in the thought process of “should we” or “should we not” look at SIAM as a tangible framework, should in our view, take the first step in the right direction by trying to understand their organisational needs and business expectations. SIAM in its true sense is a framework that drives collaborative working towards a common goal. It is an active partnership between the SIAM provider, customer IT and partners. This kind of a partnership requires the customer IT to revisit its roles and responsibilities in order to reassess and upgrade the skills that it brings to the table. 

A key step towards achieving this is understanding the organisational readiness, its aspirations, business needs, future growth guidance, changing organisation IT demands and emerging technologies. In view of this we would suggest that Nordic organisations, as a first step towards SIAM, should perform an organisational readiness assessment that would help in understanding the various dimensions and also arrive at a customised SIAM framework. Figure 3 gives a view to this approach.

As we understand the organisational readiness, partner spread on IT landscape, IT capabilities, the strength of each vendor partner and Internal IT, it becomes much easier to realign, resource and right source the IT areas.

We suggest to ‘start small and grow big’ in the SIAM space. This will help achieve a few early wins in the game, while also setting the foundations for long-term success. Figure 4 shows how services should be built in SIAM space.

Figure 4

  • Business will view IT as changing and aligning more towards its ways of working
  • Higher degree of business understanding and business view within IT delivery organisation and less IT language (Business impact versus IT Application availability)
  • Reduction in IT efforts with more aligned working
  • Better control of day to day operations and operational alignment with clear roles and defined responsibilities spreading across vendor partners
  • Collaborative working as against conventional silo working by partners

When Base SIAM and operational efficiencies have been built and are in a business-as-usual state, organisations should look at expanding and bringing more functions and areas under SIAM way of working.


In shifting focus from IT to business, time has come for Nordic organisations to look at SIAM as a customisable and strong model that can help achieve IT goals. These include standardisation of service delivery, cost savings, re-aligning of internal IT towards business aligned IT transformations, cost optimisation and the building of a stable and coherent IT ecosystem.

Most Nordic organisations believe that a strong partner for the implementation and management of SIAM can help them make the leap into the future, and ensure the journey is a much faster, better, and more customer-focused ride.

On this journey, it is imperative that the first step is in the right direction. Understanding the needs, current state, desired state and the best way to reach the goal are vital.  We believe the journey will be much less challenging with a navigator who is experienced in these unknown waters.

Read more in the survey: Maturity of SIAM in the Nordics, 2016

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