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Dimension Data & Cisco Systems: Partnering to Integrate the World

In technology, things happen at the speed of change. “Evolve or get left behind” is a familiar phrase we’ve all heard. Technology is advancing at warp speed and companies are finding it difficult to manage their ever-growing and ever-changing support ecosystems. Now more than ever, companies are moving beyond maintenance and support services to Read More »

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Succeeding in the Age of Digital Disruption & Complexity

This year, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC), 3rd Platform technologies (i.e. cloud, analytics, mobility, social) have been responsible for one-third of all IT spending and account for virtually 100% of all IT spending growth.

As more enterprises engage in digitally collaborative partnerships, we’ll see more dollars being allocated to ensure companies can keep up with the diverse and ever-changing technology of the day. With greater collaboration comes greater complexity.

Think about it. Every time an enterprise adds a new service provider or the service provider adds new partners the dynamics of the support ecosystem changes. The ability to actively track provider performance for service level agreement (SLA) adherence and vendor management becomes more and more difficult. But, enterprises can’t be expected to manage this multiparty dance alone.

December 2015_photo

Service Providers Are Part of the Equation

That’s why today enterprises are looking at IT differently and rightfully so. In this age of 3rd Platform technologies, enterprises want and need their IT departments and service partners to operate seamlessly while supporting overall business goals. This requires an effective service integration and management (SIAM) system that, at a minimum does three things:

  • Remove silos. The infrastructures of today and tomorrow are interconnected. Therefore, it is vital for support processes to be holistic to achieve end-to-end visibility.
  • Automate. Given the speed (e.g., cloud provisioning, deprovisioning of compute power) and scale (212 billion devices connected by 2020, according to IDC’s latest Internet of Things research) of change, the SP has no choice but to automate processes to ensure service-level agreement (SLA) consistency at scale.
  • Facilitate decision making. Next-generation IT infrastructure should make it simpler for managers to make informed business decisions in real time.

According to an IDC technology spotlight report, Automated Service Management: Accelerating Enterprise Insight, Efficiency, and Action for Service Providers, there is opportunity for service providers to become strategic partners and trusted advisors to enterprises by leveraging these three pillars. Furthermore, research has found that service providers who are integrated with their customers enjoy loyalty ratings 25% higher than those that are not.1

Case in Point: ServiceGrid in Action

December 2015_photo3Swissgrid, a service provider of Switzerland’s energy company, was in search of a solution that would allow automated and accelerated service management processes. They wanted to integrate their internal service management, CRM systems, and service partners on one central platform to ensure efficient collaboration across the service chain.

The use of Cisco ServiceGrid enabled Swissgrid to automate processing of service requests, which improved the service quality and the efficiency of troubleshooting. But the benefits didn’t stop there. They were also able to:

  • Automate complex and manual provider relationships
  • Enable end- to-end SLA governance and automated reporting across the ecosystem
  • Drive faster incident resolution

“We recovered our investment within the first year and we will continue to benefit from Cisco ServiceGrid capabilities in our current ecosystem and will look to ways to expand,” said Hans Roth, Head of Service Management, Swissgrid.

Where could you see improved results in the integration of your support services? Let’s talk about it. You can reach out and learn more about ServiceGrid via email or by visiting our ServiceGrid website.

1Source: The Outsourcing Institute

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3 Key Success Factors for Multi-sourcing

The rise of multi-sourced IT delivery models is well documented, and multi-sourcing is now accepted as the new normal. Today’s outsourcing market demands solutions that anticipate and respond to business activity inside and outside the organization while simultaneously dealing with a rapidly shifting landscape of providers. This drives the need for a global digital infrastructure in which information is used to help organizations create real time links between IT organizations seeking to manage support complexity and a growing and ever shifting array of external service partners that includes traditional outsourcers, managed service providers, telecom operators, and cloud service providers. Enabling this shift are three key success factors:

  1. The dynamic nature of this ever shifting landscape becomes a defining point in new strategies and new tools are needed to address that new reality.
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  2. Decisions being made 24/7 are profoundly impacted by an organization’s capacity to have every available piece of information, from all sources, accessible immediately.
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  3. The ability to deliver services of all kinds faster, more reliably and more affordability is of prime importance in today’s market.

Sourcing is becoming a critical success factor for IT management;  in fact many now consider the CIO the “Chief Integration Officer”. The multi-sourcing challenges that IT and business managers are facing today have never been so complex. In addition to cost considerations there’s a simultaneous laser focus on security, agility, alignment between sourcing and business strategy are more and more in focus.

Conquering Complexity in a Multi-Sourced Ecosystem

Multi-sourcing is not as straightforward as it might appear. There are challenges even for organizations that have spent time developing their future operating model and included a Service Integration and Management (SIAM) function. The  factors in the figure below underpin successful multi-sourcing with SIAM:

Key Success Factors for Multi-sourcing

Figure includes success factors for effectively operating in a multi-sourced environment.

 Critical Components

  • Effective client organization:
    In any sourcing arrangement, the client IT department is accountable for the IT services delivered to their business. When multi-sourcing, the client has multiple direct contracts with many suppliers, so a strong commercial management function is also required.

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Service Integration and Management (SIAM): Helps You Efficiently Manage Your Support Ecosystem

“Simply put, successful multisourcing requires establishing end-to-end visibility, reporting and accountability for services that are delivered by multiple suppliers.”1

-Bill Martorelli, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

For the past two decades many enterprises managed their IT vendor relationships pretty much the same with batch updates and reviews. That worked well when they were fully outsourcing their IT function with a single service vendor. But, in our hyper-connected world IT departments are managing five times as many providers as they were seven years ago and the pace and scale are increasing.

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SIAM: the next ITIL?

The acronym SIAM stands for Service Integration And Management, and it is a hot topic in the world of IT Service Management…..but why? Service integration models have been around awhile, but are evolving from the challenges of managing a small number of large service partners to a model of managing a larger number of smaller partners. As the services and businesses become more critical or complex, the level of service integration becomes deeper. SIAM builds on the ITIL framework, and expands it.

What is SIAM?

  • According to Wikipedia: “Service integration and management (SIAM) is a framework for managing multiple suppliers of information technology services and integrating them to provide a single business-facing IT organization.”
    More…
  • The UK Government defines it as “Service integration and management lets an organization manage it’s service providers in a consistent and efficient way, making sure that performance across a portfolio of multi-sourced goods and services meets user needs.
    More…
  • Kevin Holland, ITIL expert is a bit more specific “Service Integration and Management(SIAM) is both a model and a function which provides a single point of accountability for the service management and delivery of all services provided by internal and external service providers, by taking responsibility for and assuring suppliers performance ,  coordinating delivery, integration , and interoperability across multiple providers, and providing the necessary governance on behalf of the users.”
    Details…

Essentially, it is about keeping (or recovering) control – IT organizations use more and more external support providers today, and managing these relationships is getting more complex. SIAM might be the answer to this challenge, because it is all about how IT will deliver the capability to achieve end-to-end service excellence in an increasingly complicated environment by actively managing all aspects of service performance.  Basically, it supports businesses by helping them get the most out of their outsourced and externally managed services.

Why is SIAM important now?

SIAM is in the spotlight of the key analyst groups, Forrester and Gartner.  Spending on external and internal IT services is higher than ever; However, according to Gartner’s 2014 key metrics survey, only 11% of respondents  say that they have mastered their approach to sourcing, and 89% need to improve competencies and significantly raise their maturity levels in order to manage multi-sourcing successfully. (Source)  These metrics show large future potential for SIAM.

If you decide to research SIAM further, keep in mind that SIAM is sometimes referred to as MSI (Multi-sourcing Service Integration)

Are you using or considering a SIAM framework? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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