SIAM: Maintaining control in a multi-sourced world

SIAM: Maintaining control in a multi-sourced world 2017-03-22T16:39:52+00:00

Herding cats

In today’s business world IT multi-sourcing has become the norm, with different service providers responsible for delivering different technologies and applications, often alongside retained internal functions. This makes assuring seamless service delivery, and managing overall costs and operational risk, incredibly complex – with organizations finding the reality of coordinating across multiple suppliers akin to herding cats! This is why many are investing in a SIAM function. A central Service Integration and Management function, sitting above the different external/internal IT towers, to act as a single interface between IT and the business. Its responsibility is to ensure IT service performance SLAs are met, desired cost efficiencies realized and, crucially, to act as the ‘broker’ between the business and the underlying IT service providers – ensuring IT services are aligned and optimized to meet those ever changing business needs.

In order to achieve these goals, it is critical for the SIAM function to have access to up-to-date, accurate information to quickly inform its decisions and actions, and rapidly assess and plan for the impact of change. A ‘single pane of glass’ through which it can view a consolidated picture of demand and sup

The dangers of running blind

Often, service providers have the responsibility built into their contracts to provide ongoing metrics and reporting – although the quality can be highly variable. But this leaves SIAM functions with two major problems. Firstly, how do they create the joined up, integrated picture they need to create business service-level visibility? Essential if they are to have meaningful conversations with the business. And secondly, relying on supplier reporting for outsourced services is a bit like letting kids mark their own homework! These factors leave the business and its SIAM function exposed, holding all the risk, with no clear visibility of potential threats to service and no way of really establishing the level of reputational and business risk they are actually carrying within their multi-sourced IT environment.

Capacity Management – the key to control

This is where Capacity Management comes into its own as a core SIAM function – creating that single pane of glass for joined up visibility, enabling ongoing cost optimization and de-risking service delivery and major change programs. With the right Capacity Management process and tooling in place, it is easy for organizations to put themselves back in control – making sure multi-sourced IT continues to deliver the right resources, at the right time and right cost to meet business needs.

It can help from the start of the journey, making sure that initial supplier onboarding and service introductions are informed and efficient, right through to switching providers at the end of contract.


Process Area Activity Business SIAM Provider  Supplier
Capacity Management Obtain future business demand forecasts  AR  S  C
Capacity Management Collate demand forecasts  S  AR
Capacity Management  Share demand forecasts with suppliers  AR  I
Capacity Management  Provision capacity to meet demand  I  A  R
Capacity Management  Assure capacity plans  AR  S

RASCI (Responsible, Accountable, Supports, Consulted, Informed)

An example ITIL®-based model for effective SIAM Capacity Management implementation, Axelos 2015

Sumerian CPaaS (Capacity Planning as a Service)

All too often IT towers and services are outsourced ‘as is’ without a clear understanding of how much resource is actually needed – both for today and to meet future demand. With a Capacity Management capability in place, like Sumerian CPaaS, organizations maintain clear visibility of current utilization levels and headroom for growth, and can accurately scenario model likely future requirements. This insight can be used to inform service requirements and supplier RFI/RFP processes, making sure organizations only invest in and contract for precisely what they need and that commercial arrangements (which may run for several years) are geared to meet longer term needs cost effectively.

Sumerian CPaaS is technology agnostic, so supplier and service onboarding is quick and low impact, and it’s easy to switch one service provider out for another without impacting overall visibility.  Data can be automatically uploaded into Sumerian CPaaS from whatever monitoring tooling the service provider is running, and then aggregated with data from across other towers to provide that ‘single pane of glass’ visibility. It’s main ‘sunburst’ visualization provides at-a-glance insight and is highly configurable, so that users can view operations from a business service perspective or by a particular business unit or geography, etc. This makes it easy to generate business-facing reporting and assure correct provisioning to meet future business plans.

Having all supplier data in a single system makes it much easier to manage across the supply-base. Rather than getting caught between suppliers, with differing perspectives, there is a single version of the truth and complete transparency. Ensuring a common interpretation of thresholds and policies, and making it possible to pinpoint root cause for rapid issue resolution.

Sumerian’s powerful scenario modelling capability can be used to model and assess the impact of business growth or planned change across different technology towers and create capacity forecasts aligned to forward looking business plans.

The predictive trending and alerting will warn of any potential threats to service well in advance, giving ample time for mitigating action to be put in place in the effected towers.

And because CPaaS is more than just software – it’s a flexible service – it can evolve with you on your SIAM journey. Offering a whole range of value-add expert services to augment your SIAM Capacity Management capability as needed.

Wherever you are on your SIAM journey

If you are thinking of putting a SIAM framework in place, or maybe you’re already several steps along on the journey, make sure you:

  • Build both performance and capacity objectives into your service provider SLAs
  • Don’t rely on your service providers to report on their own SLA performance
  • Include access to all log and tooling data into your supplier contracts
  • Build up a robust and flexible Capacity Management capability

It will help ensure you stay in control of service cost and risk and deliver the service performance the business expects.