SIAM in Government

With several major Australian organisations currently embarking on SIAM, Harold Petersen – who has been involved in designing and implementing several major SIAM operating models – explains why the time is NOW for government departments and agencies.

©iStock.com/jeancliclac 

©iStock.com/jeancliclac 

Services Integration and Management (SIAM) is a newly emerging extension to IT Service Management (ITSM), addressing the challenges of multi-sourcing – the situation almost every government department and agency is in today. If you’d like to understand exactly how and why SIAM came about and where it fits within the ICT organisation, my colleague Michael Billimoria’s article, SIAM: Transforming service delivery. The ‘new black’ for multi-sourcing provides excellent background reading.

Simply, the aim of SIAM is to integrate contributions from service provides. It focusses on shaping the delivery of end-to-end business outcomes that are strictly transparent to end-users, rather than the minutae of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ ICT activities which have been assigned to service providers in the first place. 

SIAM is about orchestration and control of multiple external as well as internal providers, and integration of their technical services into end-to-end business outcomes. Effective integration and orchestration of service providers requires holistic alignment across seven enterprise enablers (see the image below). 

The SIAM function can be likened to a conductor who directs the contribution of the various sections in an orchestra in order to deliver an integrated melody. SIAM is a logical extension for departments currently using ITSM within a multi-sourcing environment.

SIAM drivers in government

So why should your department be considering SIAM? Three trends in government ICT represent good reasons for deployment:

  1. Cloud First policies are better enabled if you have a SIAM capability because the framework makes it much easier to ‘plug in’ a Cloud Services Provider within your service delivery layer.
  2. Digital Strategies will be faster to design, integrate and execute once you’ve got a transparent view and true control over your entire ICT delivery environment. Bringing new services online is made easier once you have the delivery framework in place, and better understand how it interacts with your existing or potential new business processes.
  3. Business Enablement is an important goal of SIAM. Once you’ve redefined service delivery along the lines of business outcomes and established an orchestration capability, rather than the individual management of multiple service providers, you are set to provide the necessary interfaces for business users to select the services and resources they need, when and how they want them. It makes you more agile, cost effective and able to deliver integrated end-to-end business solutions. You’ll have the control to be able to optimise service levels rather than always be juggling multiple technical service providers, who all work in silos.

If your department is planning to embrace any of these initiatives, enabling them with a SIAM framework will help manage the change, ease the pain and achieve the intended benefits.

SIAM can also be instrumental in reducing the cost and effort of service delivery, by providing a compliant and reliable framework for specifying requirements, acquiring, monitoring and controlling ICT services. Provisioning costs of ICT services can be optimised by better understanding the value, contribution to end-to-end solutions and holding internal and external providers to account for their contributions.

The key to SIAM success is keeping it real

Applying SIAM in government simplifies and reduces the costs of managing ICT service delivery while more closely serving the needs of your business users and citizens by enabling the provision of integrated business outcomes and agility to innovate such outcomes. 

Preparing to apply SIAM entails a close examination of the way you work now and your goals for the future, in order to develop a practical and customised Strategic Blueprint for an effective and workable SIAM platform. The importance of this stage cannot be underestimated or the process rushed, as there is no cookie-cutter approach to deploying SIAM. The model must adapt to you, not you to some esoteric ideal of SIAM!

Apart from the importance of designing a SIAM architecture that is practical and aligned to your unique environment, another crucial element is the ability to transform to the new SIAM operating model. Such transformation requires strong program management capability and an approach whereby the transformation program team collaborates on all levels within the ICT organisation to implement holistically integrated aspects of SIAM. This includes people, organisation, process, tool alignment, cultural, service mapping, information architecture and governance enablers.

It is crucial to apply a practical approach in leading a SIAM implementation. Application and mastery of traditional best practices such as ITIL, COBIT and MSP is important, whilst – if applied in a practical and aligned fashion – the inclusion of newer and emerging approaches such as Lean IT, Lean Change, DevOps, Agile and IT4IT will fast track the realisation of benefits and reduce ‘book-learned’ discussions.

The most important aspect of the implementation is to apply such frameworks in a way that strikes a chord with actual stakeholders on all levels within the business-as-usual environment. It is crucial to ‘keep things real’.

Is there a unique government ‘flavour’ of SIAM?

We’re engaged with several large Australian government, public and private enterprises, embarking on SIAM implementations – so is SIAM in government totally different from SIAM in business?

In our experience, the answer is ‘no’. Remember, the entire ITIL®/ITSM world originated from the needs of the UK government, so the model applies to government’s essential needs. Similarly, the principles of SIAM are highly applicable to government – as are its objectives of improving business outcomes by ‘filling the cracks’ between multiple service providers while reducing the costs of managing ICT service delivery in a multi-sourcing environment.

A key difference is your individual culture. When designing a Strategic Blueprint for implementing SIAM, we are primarily guided by the existing organisational culture, people, business requirements and ICT landscape. This makes every SIAM implementation unique – whether in Federal or State Government or the private sector. Important pre requisites for success are insight and proven understanding of the organisation and its culture as well as the capability to design and manage a SIAM transformation programme in collaboration with the internal ICT organisation.

Why SIAM is an opportunity for government NOW?

We’re seeing a drive from many government IT leaders to orchestrate service delivery in order to better integrate and control it. Having outsourced many functions piecemeal, there is a strong desire to reform the process and make overall service delivery more effective in achieving the core outcomes that users and the public now require.

In the current environment of government cost-cutting, and the exposure of some significant project failures in federal government as well as on a state level, we also detect a sense of urgency to address the complex challenge of managing multiple providers while achieving better value for taxpayers and complying with world’s-best practices for government ICT services.

Another advantage of SIAM in government is that, given the nature of eternal change due to electoral and policy cycles, it offers a service delivery baseline and a platform for greater agility. This gives you the flexibility to set your sail to the prevailing political winds whilst retaining the core principles of compliance and best practice.

Perhaps the most exciting promise of SIAM is the opportunity to achieve a Whole of Government approach to ICT service delivery. Under a proven best-in-class approach, government ICT professionals stand to cross-learn from their colleagues in other departments and agencies, or even situationally enable greater integration of vendor services across agencies as part of the transformation drive – as a result, delivering a consistent, flexible and compliant experience for users and citizens alike. 

Based in Canberra, Harold Petersen is Director Advisory for CSC Consulting, responsible for overseeing seven National Practices in a consulting force of over 300. 

Specialising in SIAM, PPM, ITIL, ICT Strategy & Governance implementation projects and programs, his 25+ years’ industry experience includes Director for UXC Consulting in Singapore and Malaysia, IT Service Delivery Manager for a major Australian bank and IT Service Executive for Asia Pacific accounts within a global outsourced services provider.