Service Integration is more of a philosophy than a methodology or technique; for me it’s about how you govern and manage the delivery of service as opposed to the process of doing it yourself.
At the core of Service Integration lies collaboration. Collaboration in the achievement of defined outcomes and goals that matter to all those engaged in the delivery of services to the business; service providers, client business units and the clients own service delivery organization.
It’s about establishing an understanding, an appreciation, of the operational interdependencies that affect the delivery of end-to-end services. It’s about recognising the interests of each party and ensuring these don’t lead to, or cause, service failure; failure that affects everyone, and serves no one. It’s about simplifying how services are provided and improving their quality. It’s about flexibility, innovation and delivering more from current budgets.
Many organisations I meet think this all sounds idealistic, theoretical and unachievable; what’s more it is usually in stark contrast to the situation they find themselves in, with multiple outsourcing service agreements that stand alone, are operationally independent of each other, and are a headache to manage. The day-to-day overhead of trying, for those brave enough, to retrospectively build in collaboration is time consuming, expensive and often counterproductive.
So where do you start if you want to turn things around? The do-nothing option is unpalatable, doing the same again – renewing current outsourcing agreements on the same historic basis, and hoping for a different outcome – fruitless. Neither a new tool nor selective diagnostic consultancy will fix the problem; at best these will only sustain the status-quo or make unsustainable point improvements. So where to start...
You start by establishing the conditions that support and encourage collaboration.
For Capgemini collaboration intrinsically demands transparency, excellent communications, the establishment of trust between all parties, along with a collective focus on the delivery of a shared agenda. The accomplishment of this depends upon strong leadership; leadership from the CXOs to drive the organisational change required to underpin new ways of working where sharing of risks, benefits and information is encouraged between all parties and becomes the norm.
To bring this to life a transformation of the IT operating model needs to take place. Based on a platform of tightly integrated processes and tooling that automate the routine, it must produce ample high quality information to simplify decision making.
It also requires a complementary commercial framework and governance model designed to transparently bind all the parties together, removing ambiguity and suspicion.
Lastly, it requires an empowered service integrator, with commercial “skin in the game”, accepting accountability for service performance to hold all parties to account in the achievement of the joint service commitments made to the business. To be the steward of the shared agenda.
As I have commented in previous blogs, Service Integration is not for the faint hearted. However if the challenges posed by an increasingly “digital” and vibrant service provider landscape are to be embraced, then those that make the move first will experience the considerable benefits that establishing a collaborative Service Integration philosophy brings.