Capgemini recently announced a new Service Integration and Management (SIAM) agreement with Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) in the USA. This news has prompted me to reflect on the role SIAM can play in civil service reform here in the UK, and I’d like to share some of these thoughts, together with tips on what, in my experience, really makes these arrangements work.
The UK government is tackling the challenge of putting IT at the heart of civil service reform by driving a digital strategy and increasing accountability for IT provision. There’s widespread consensus that this approach can improve customer service, make operations more efficient and ensure IT delivers what’s required. Smaller, shorter contracts, with the use of more small and medium suppliers, can increase flexibility and allow departments to embrace new technology more quickly. Implementing these fundamental changes calls for a new approach to management, and early adopters are showing that SIAM is ideal.
It was to deal with comparable challenges that GTA turned to SIAM. The Authority provides services to 1,300 state and local government entities – everything from billing and security management for customer-facing services to service desk and service catalogue for staff. It recognised SIAM as a way of improving service delivery and agility when introducing new services to support innovation. (I’ll bet all this sounds familiar to anyone working in UK government IT at the moment).
Realising its work is too important to put at risk, GTA chose Capgemini as its SIAM partner. Although every client has its own specific needs, I’d now like to offer you a taste of the best practice that repeatedly wins us SIAM business. Here, then, are my tips for successful SIAM adoption:
1. Put in place a clear business and procurement strategy to help define the SIAM remit. Decide how much service integration work you want to tackle in-house and how much to outsource – there are different ways to carve up the job.
2. Make sure you have the right capabilities available, whether externally or in-house. For instance, the SIAM function needs the ability to understand what the business needs and then to turn this understanding into objectives for IT operations. It also needs the interpersonal skills to persuade suppliers to work together within the framework.
3. Develop strong internal governance and relationships. The SIAM function needs to establish strong relationships with the business owners, and work closely with them to define an IT-enabled strategy.
4. Establish a collaborative ethos. The SIAM function has to drive operating agreements that deliver agreed business outcomes, and be trusted by other suppliers – a completely different way of working from a prime contractor model. If you use an external integrator, make sure they are trusted by other suppliers.
5. Put a strong architectural framework in place. Ensure the SIAM operating model is supported by an architectural framework – within which individual contracts can be quickly established. The specific framework is not so important, but it should be capable of being tailored to your requirements.
6. Automate where possible. Service management tools come with varying degrees of automation. The knowledge and experience that your SIAM supplier builds into the tools can have significant impacts on the overall TCO for your organisation, substantially offsetting the cost of the SIAM services themselves.
7. Consider building Service Desk into the SIAM layer. Use the Service Desk as a touch point between the business and IT, to continually evaluate the effectiveness of all IT services against business outcomes, using analytics to help identify focus areas for change.
8. Get SIAM-specific experience on board, whether in-house or externally. Fitting together a jigsaw puzzle of small components is a complex challenge, but one that gets easier each time you do it.
9. Work as one team. If SIAM is outsourced, aim to establish an environment where the service integrator and your IT department collaborate closely, with the supplier working on your behalf rather than delivering to you. This requires a relationship of trust.
In my next blog post, I’ll take a closer look at the reasons why SIAM is taking off so fast in the public sector.