Bridging the knowledge gap – Will institutionalized trainings unleash the SIAM market potential?

Service Integration and Management (SIAM) is a swiftly developing area, and one that is closely associated with multiple disciplines like customer experience, IT service management, enterprise architecture, organisational change management, quality management, supplier governance, risk management and cloud adoption. Unlike ITIL, Six Sigma or Project Management, it is still not evolved as a structured ‘Body of Knowledge (BoK)’. SIAM is generally implemented by using branded and closely ‘guarded’ intellectual properties (IP) developed by several IT Services and Consulting organizations. In addition to this, there are number of customer organizations decided to build ‘in-house’ SIAM capabilities spending tons of money and effort to acquire knowledge and wherewithal painstakingly, resulting the ‘reinvention of the wheel’.

SIAM is more imperative than ever and requires IT to move from a ‘large grain’ to a ‘fine grain’ approach to managing the growing trend of cloud computing adoptions of enterprises across the world. Search today for cloud computing, and you’ll find no shortage of ‘gurus’ delivering scores of trainings in this front. Given SIAM’s breadth, depth and ability to generate organizational value delivery during cloud adoption projects, it is quite surprising that structured training offers have not yet been developed! (With handful of exceptions mostly delivered by organizations like IT Governance Network at UK)

Perhaps one of the causes can be, SIAM is perceived as a long term consulting engagement, rather than a straight-forward and pragmatic set of easily implementable principles.

In my opinion, lack of a structured ‘Body of Knowledge’ and inability to dispense institutionalized knowledge to both its consumers and sellers has far reaching impacts as described below.

  1. Although proved as a vital element to make large outsourcing relationships (that includes multiple suppliers) successful; sadly, it still has relatively minor attention during contracting and transition engagements. The SIAM is not considered as a natural ingredient like what ITIL is for any outsourcing contract. The reasons can be lack of deep level insights (except superficial awareness) among the decision making ranks of the client organizations. Similarly the sales functions of suppliers who are to advise the clients may not be investing quality efforts due to their lack of clarity about the strategic benefits of SIAM.
  2. For many, SIAM is a very confusing multidisciplinary model, covering concepts and practices from Service Management, Vendor Management, Service Catalog, Organizational Design, IT to business alignment, and a plethora of process improvement methodologies. Some even think SIAM as a natural evolution of traditional service management with a ‘turbo charged’ supplier management.
  3. We are living in an era of digital transformation which is fast evolving by making and breaking organizations. But becoming a successful digital organization requires the integration and harmony of several moving parts like technologies, business units and suppliers to provide uniform (digital) service experience. The crucial role that SIAM can play in this area does not seem to be well understood.
  4. Tendency to confuse SIAM with IT Service Management and a general lack of published and authenticated best practices may drive the so called ‘open’ standards in to a very ‘closed’ and ‘elite’ model.
  5. While we cannot blame organizations for keeping their hard earned SIAM knowledge close to their chest, scarcity of reference information may push the practice to an ‘elite/secretive club’. History has taught hard lessons that anything which is not popular by masses and easily understood always remains there itself if not short lived.

The SIAM provider specific proprietary models are there to stay and with all possibilities it will be continuously innovated by major players investing more and more in their models. But what if this is not transformed in to revenue opportunities and hence no Return on Investment (ROI)?

Although a perfect commoditization of SIAM models are a moot point, we can certainly learn one or two best practices from all those successful product organizations like Microsoft, VMware, ORACLE etc. and how effectively they have used their product training and certification streams to build bottom line awareness and skill set hence triggered additional demand generation. It is quite practical to tie institutionalized training discourses to bottom-line results and demonstrate a clear ROI. The key is to determine the target training approach, audience and key results expected, based on the sales results you want to achieve.

As SIAM Spaghetti is becoming more and more mature but complex, I am convinced that being a market leader and maintaining that position greatly depends not only finding additional market avenues but also convincingly demonstrating the value generated in such SIAM engagements. And this conviction will come seamless as inside out if you are dealing with a group of customers who are well read and well learnt about the services that you provide to them.

As renowned American journalist Sydney J. Harris said ‘The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows’. The ground has been well prepared and battle ready with advent of fast changing dynamics in cloud market, outsourcing strategies and inevitable need to drive efficiencies by enterprises across the world. What required is that ‘big appetite’ for SIAM players to come up with institutionalized SAIM training offers to turn mirrors in to windows thus unleashes the growing market potential.

Biju Pillai has more than 17 years of experience in IT Infrastructure Management, Service Management and Service Integration. He works as a Principal Consultant in Capgemini’ s Service Integration practice.