For many years, IT organizations have kept most of their proprietary technology and service providers, such as server-racking and software development, within the company. But with today's fast-paced innovation across industries, organizations have realized the need for leveraging external expertise and advantages from no-code tools.
Outsourcing competencies are necessary for specific operations such as cloud storage and Software as a Service (SaaS). However, once you have onboarded suppliers, partners, and vendors, maintaining an end-to-end overview of ongoing projects and services is the next challenge. This is where Service Integration and Management (SIAM) comes in.
What is SIAM?
According to the SIAM Foundation Body of Knowledge, Service Integration and Management (SIAM) is a management methodology applied in projects and work environments that involve services sourced from several providers.
The simple answer to “What is SIAM?” is that it's an acronym for “Service Integration and Management.” It is a method used to create focused and strategic communication channels between teams and vendors collaborating on projects within a company.
SIAM empowers organizations to onboard project-specific resources, such as specialists and experts. In many IT organizations, the same vendors work with the team on different projects. Through Service Integration and Management, it becomes easy to manage the external support through predetermined processes, workflows, and management styles.
Hiring and managing so many internal team members for individual or small projects can be challenging and is no longer advisable thanks to the global adoption of remote work. For this reason, most organizations hire vendors and suppliers that provide essential professional services and meet project requirements under service-level agreements (SLAs).
SIAM ensures that all collaborators providing services to your organization or working on any collaborative project are coordinated and aligned. Participants in SIAM can be broken down into three broad categories:
- Customer organization: The organization employing vendors is known as the customer organization. Analyzing this organization, one can identify the services, vendor dynamics, and management that must be outsourced.
- Service providers (operational): These are the service providers offering their services to the customer organization. Service providers may be internal or external. External service providers are not part of the organization; their performance is managed with contracts and SLAs. Internal service providers are a part of the organization and are managed through internal agreements and targets.
- Service integrator (tactical): The service integrator role integrates and manages all the services providers in the company. It aims to create a cross-service, end-to-end system with operational governance over the service providers and vendors with a clear understanding of the customer organization's requirements.
SIAM models explained
SIAM models depend on factors such as:
- The complexity of the systems within the organization
- Application of the SIAM Service Integration and Management services
- SIAM expertise that can be outsourced or handled internally
Depending on these factors, four SIAM models can be adopted by any organization:
Internal service integrator
In an internal service integrator, the control of all service providers is managed within the organization. This requires the customer organization to have a high SIAM expertise in internal teams to manage all suppliers and vendors. Internal service integrators are great for saving costs.
External service integrator
An external service integrator is a third party responsible for managing the vendors in the customer organization. In this situation, the service integrator is a SIAM expert with sufficient experience. External service integrators may be expensive and contribute significantly to the company's costs.
Hybrid service integrator
The hybrid service integrator model consists of internal and external integrators. For smaller, less critical projects and vendors, the company uses internal SIAM resources. For bigger projects and vendors with greater impact, the company hires SIAM specialists and experts. Companies often start with a hybrid service integrator model and then shift to an internal model after significant knowledge transfer and experience.
Lead supplies as service integrator
In this SIAM model, a key supplier or vendor manages other vendors for the customer organization. This requires a high level of trust between the organization and the managing vendor. However, once trust has been established, it becomes a highly efficient mode of Service Integration and Management.
Advantages of using the Service Integration and Management models
SIAM Service Integration and Management can solve many management issues in organizations today. When it comes to vendor management, SIAM brings many advantages:
- Creating defined roles and responsibilities for all involved teams, vendors, and partners
- Establishing an adequate level of transparency, communication, and collaboration among internal and external teams
- Setting a single point of authority to monitor the performances of vendors and service providers
- Increasing cross-vendor communication, workflow automation, and quick resolution of issues
- Helping the customer organization leadership surpass their innovation and project goals by formalizing relationships with specialist vendors eager to contribute their value
- Elevating the quality of the product or service offered by the customer organization
- Bypassing the costly, labor-intensive quality assurance practices needed when managing individual vendors
- Establishing a company standard to measure vendor performance
- Streamlining workflows and processes across the company and taking end-to-end ownership of the product so there is minimal service disturbance
Challenges of using SIAM models
It is crucial to understand the challenges SIAM models may bring before choosing the best option for your organization. You may replace existing problems with new ones if your systems are incompatible with SIAM best practices.
To avoid challenges, ensure you tackle the following points when creating your Service Integration and Management plan:
- Misalignment of SIAM goals between key stakeholders
- Lack of clear understanding of the SIAM models and application in the involved teams
- Lack of concrete SIAM metrics to track project success
If the points above are not considered, the customer organization may fail to implement SIAM successfully, leading to undesirable results such as:
- A higher SIAM implementation budget in comparison to results achieved
- Depreciation in the quality of the product or service
- Pre-existing tools and processes are better than the new SIAM model
- An inability to scale the SIAM model to address company needs
Understanding the potential risks and SIAM best practices makes it possible to overcome these common challenges and mitigate them.
SIAM best practices
The goal of the SIAM model is to optimize processes for maximum efficiency, better quality, and quick delivery in teams. However, this is not always the outcome.
To succeed with Service Integration and Management, one must follow SIAM best practices. These include:
- Making use of a vendor agreement: A vendor agreement ensures that the interests of both the parties, i.e., the company and the supplier, are protected.
- Starting small: Test the SIAM models and SIAM technology with small projects and vendors to estimate how ready your organization is for a change.
- Identifying impact: Some vendors may be more important for your company than others. Identifying strategic service providers will help you make the most of your SIAM strategy.
- Adopting a relationship mindset: While not all vendors have a high impact, it is helpful to build a collaborative relationship with your external collaborators. This creates a positive environment and aligns your vendors to your company's goals.
- Ensuring you have a multi-vendor approach: The entire point of the SIAM Service Integration and Management approach is to ensure the customer organization can work with multiple vendors without any problems. To make this happen, the company must create an environment open to collaborating with these vendors.
- Putting the right tools in practice: Companies must choose the right service and performance management tools to ensure transparency and accountability in the SIAM model. Even if each vendor uses different tools, you should have a robust project management tool like Wrike to centralize and streamline the organization's SIAM initiative.
Why you should use Wrike for SIAM solutions
A well-structured SIAM model establishes an environment of cooperation and collaboration that can exponentially increase the output of your organization. Good SIAM models define the roles and responsibilities of internal and external teams and keep everyone aligned and on track with the project goals and timelines.
Wrike helps implement SIAM seamlessly by providing a single source of truth for cross-functional, multi-sourced teams, increasing productivity, transparency, and trust between the customer organization and vendors.
Wrike enables both parties to take end-to-end ownership of the product or service and ensures smooth operations throughout the project duration. With intuitive SIAM technology like Wrike, you can get your expected outcomes from your vendor agreements.
Wrike helps manage necessary vendor processes such as business relationship management, information security management, audit, control, and quality assurance. Using Wrike, you can ensure all your vendors and service providers, such as software development, networking hardware, and even cloud services, are streamlined and aligned.
Are you ready to set up and implement a SIAM strategy for your organization? Get started with a two-week free trial of Wrike today and get your vendor relationships on the right track.