“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.

Because of the need to coordinate multiple sources of information, manage service cases across diverse environments, and maintain service performance levels, enterprises are looking for new ways to effectively manage increasingly complex ecosystems. Couple this with business leaders’ expectations for increased IT speed and responsiveness; we quickly see there is no sign of multi-sourcing slowing down. With that being said, a solution is needed to help manage these intricate environments and get the best value and service from all service providers.

Service Integration and Management (SIAM)

Outsourcing and service integration have evolved. The way we managed both between the 1980’s and the early 2000’s is not ideal in today’s pluralistic service environment. A solution would be an approach that manages multiple suppliers of IT services and integrates them to retain control of the entire service delivery process. This approach is called Service Integration and Management (SIAM) and it is designed to be a solution for effective multiprovider management in today’s hyper-distributed environments.

SIAM_pic3 and JMs blog

SIAM continues to be one of the most talked about topics in IT Service Management. This is because a well-integrated support service is no longer a luxury, but an absolute necessity for any business wanting to maximize the value of contracted IT services.

SIAM Helps You Build an Efficient Ecosystem

A truly great SIAM process should be seamless and efficient providing relevant information to business managers about different service level agreements (SLAs), produce reports that reflect performance, enable effective service governance of all service providers, and provide a way for parties to securely share information in real-time for faster collaboration and issue resolution.

In a recently published Pulse magazine article, Connect the Unconnected with Service Integration and Management, I stated that an effective integration approach should provide enterprises with exceptional benefits such as:

  • Lower initial investment costs due to faster partner on-boarding
  • Ongoing maintenance cost savings
  • Lower operating costs and increased customer satisfaction from faster issue resolution
  • Increased ROI on services

Hannah Patterson- a leading expert in multi-sourcing and service integration with significant market experience including her work on the first UK SIAM implementation- expanded on this thought in the newly published white paper, The Impact of Cisco’s ServiceGrid in a Hyper-Distributed World: Managing Multi-Supplier Relationships with Service Integration Management (SIAM):

“A good SIAM function will understand and enable the inter-relationships between processes. It will enable the business relationship managers in their interactions with the client businesses by providing the relevant information out of the demand, service level and other service management processes. It will enable effective supplier management through the provision of supplier performance reports across all processes including testing, change and configuration management etc. It will also make available meaningful reports and will help to run an effective governance practice across the IT services enabling effective day-to-day delivery of services, commercial management of the suppliers and the relationship management with the business.”

 If enterprises are going to be successful in vendor relationship management, it will be necessary for them to think differently about how they implement service integration and management going forward. Watch the video below of Frank Casale, Founder & CEO, Outsourcing Institute and myself discussing this paradigm shift.

1Forrester Research Inc, Building the Service Integration Layer in Multisourcing, Bill Martorelli, September 28, 2011.


Jim McDonnell

Director, General Manager

ServiceGrid, CMCP, UCSF Alliance