Is SIAM the white knight on the horizon for ITSM?

Rachel Seaniger explores why organisations have been setting up their ITSM initiatives for failure, and questions why they plan on investing less in the next year.



The recent 2015 Telsyte Australian Digital Workplace study has provided valuable insights into how organisations view their IT Service Management (ITSM) capability including some rather worrying issues around a commitment to continuous improvement. Only 19% of the companies surveyed intended to invest in ITSM beyond the next twelve months and most organisations have no plans to invest in it at all.

The cork usually stays in the bottle

I’ve carried out many ITSM maturity assessments across Australia and can back up the survey’s findings with my own experience. There’s very little maturing. Allocating anything over a Level 2 (using the ISO/IEC15504 international standard which rates process maturity between 0 and 5) is so rare it’s a cause for celebration.

Let’s not forget, this is about support for the strategic way of delivering the best IT outcomes to help achieve a company’s goals. It’s a very important part of the plan for future success, and yet a “set and forget” mentality overrides the need to prioritise the creation of a comprehensive strategic plan and provide the resourcing for required action.

One of the factors at play is that ITSM is heavily influenced by multiple providers. The Telsyte study confirms this certainly isn’t going to change. Most organisations (51%) engage with a service provider for ITSM with just 31% having a dedicated ITSM practice.

We’ve been setting ourselves up for failure

It’s not that ITSM isn’t important, it’s to do with the fact that many organisations don’t have a holistic ITSM picture, let alone a strategy that aligns with the business. Ask any ITSM professional: they’ve all been involved in ad-hoc ITIL® process implementations, which seem to produce limited results. Implementing process here and there will put in place measures and targets, but ultimately won’t affect any change on their own.

We need to learn from successful ITSM implementations, which are mainly organisation-wide transformation style initiatives, not just IT initiatives. Success comes from alignment with organisation/enterprise strategy and putting the right strategy in place from the start.

SIAM enters, stage left

Service Integration and Management (SIAM) has been nominated as one of the eight key developments in business technology for 2015. SIAM requires the definition of the whole initiative as default, it drives the creation of the right strategy up front. Further to giving ITSM direction, SIAM gets on top of the issues created by multiple providers by providing a governance and reporting structure to actively manage them. SIAM turns the focus on business outcomes rather than technology.

This is the future I want to hold up to those who see ITIL® or ITSM as old hat and less relevant to today’s IT world. For those who are committed to delivering quality IT services and adding real value to business, SIAM is the best news we’ve had in a while.

This is what your customers want – and need!

Our CEO, Nick Mescher, recently provided insights into the importance of the customer’s digital experience, also based on information gained from the Telsyte survey. He noted that "If IT can’t quickly adopt to a customer focused strategy, they will become irrelevant". Customer satisfaction with your business processes, effective customer engagement and relationship management – the very success of your business - relies on a lot of phrases that start with the word ‘customer’.

This is the main driver for aligning ITSM with your organisation’s broader strategy. Your business is, or at least should be, prioritising initiatives to improve customer experience. In this increasingly complex world of business technology, it’s essential that your ITSM capability can enable and support these initiatives. It needs to grow up – and fast.

The key question, is how this will be done when organisations plan on spending less on ITSM next year? 

About the Author

Rachel Seaniger is a Senior Consultant and the ITSM National Practice Lead at CSC Consulting .