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SIAM: the good, the bad … the obligatory and the virtuous

Posted By Conor Mckenna, 15 November 2017

This is a guest post, contributed by Michelle Major-Goldsmith, Manager, Service Management Capability at Kinetic IT; and Simon Dorst, Manager, Service Management Service, Kinetic IT

In the last few years, service integration and management (SIAM) has become ‘the new black’, high on the hype-curve. Despite the publication of white papers, blogs, and twitter hashtag feeds, providing various flavours of commentary and opinion, until recently there’s been no formalisation of the term SIAM, nor a standardised methodology. As such, practitioners were left lacking when looking for answers to the questions of what is SIAM? and ‘can it help manage complex IT environments?.

In order to try to bring commonality of purpose, we joined a collective of IT consultants, trainers, and practitioners (now known as the ‘the SIAM Founder Member Architect Group) who embarked upon creating a foundational Body of Knowledge (BoK).

As we’re on the verge of revealing the next step, the SIAM Professional BoK, this is an opportune time to provide you with an insight of the good, the bad … and other traits of SIAM.

A brief history of time – or at least of SIAM

The term service integration and management or SIAM, and the concept of SIAM as a management methodology originated in around 2005 from within the UK public sector. In 2010, the UK Government published a new information and communications technology (ICT) strategy, which included moving away from large prime supplier contracts to a more flexible approach using multiple service providers and cloud-based solutions.

SIAM interest became global when in 2015 AXELOS published several white papers on SIAM, and in 2016 the SIAM Foundation Architect Group was formed by Scopism. The objective was to bring the giants of the SIAM world together and create a consolidated view of their knowledge and experience. This culminated at last year’s itSMF UK conference with the release of the Foundation Body of Knowledge, providing common terminology, a standardised description, and practical guidance (as well as winning the Thought Leaders of the Year award from itSMF UK).

When writing the SIAM Foundation Body of Knowledge, we came across some great material, too much and perhaps too practical to put into the Foundation BoK. So, this year we continued by writing a Professional-level Body of Knowledge. We expanded our team to more than 40 global practitioners to make sure the new BoK would reflect current practices, but also pitfalls and successes.

In this BoK we take the theory of the Foundation BoK and put it into the reality of the roadmap that we’re all on, and which is also the basis for our presentation at the upcoming itSMF UK event (ITSM17). The SIAM Professional BoK will provide more in-depth guidance, accompanied by examples of how to, or how not to, apply this into practice.

But we also want to make sure that SIAM is considered as part of modern-day ITSM, as is the undeniable reality of having to deal with multiple suppliers. We’re hoping that SIAM can step outside of the IT arena, and play its part in Enterprise Service Management (ESM), managing business services across multiple domains and providers (although this may need an additional integration layer).

So, what is SIAM?

Simply put, it’s in the name: service integration and management, and in particular service integration across multiple providers. The management of multiple service providers by a single organisation provides significant challenges in overall administration. SIAM seeks to address the need to provide a standardised methodology for integrating and managing multiple service providers and their services. It enhances the delivery of the end to end supply chain, it provides governance, management, integration, assurance, and coordination to maximise the value received from multiple service providers.

SIAM is not just a methodology for the management of services by a single organisation or governing body. It supports cross-functional, cross-process and cross-provider integration, in a complex sourcing environment or ecosystem in which all parties understand their role and responsibilities, are empowered to deliver, and are held accountable for their outcomes. As such it’s more than a rigid contractual performance structure, but an organisational change that includes collaboration, and end-to-end focus into the core of every stakeholder involved.

More tangible than this collaborative, end-to-end culture (as important as it is!) is the structural and functional organisation that SIAM provides to a multi-provider environment. The SIAM model provides a single logical entity with accountability for the end to end service delivery, known as the service integrator. The customer organisation has a single management relationship with the service integrator, and the service integrator manages the relationships with the multiple service providers supporting the organisation.

The definition of this structure also allows for a clearer definition of a process model (tooling strategy, and governance, reporting, and performance framework) and then the allocation of mandated or directive practices. So, whilst in some case the service providers may have to use the same practice (for instance ITIL), in most cases they can use their own preferred one (for instance Agile), as long as the interactions between the providers and with the service integrator meets the predefined outcomes (i.e. the WHAT and not the HOW).

That’s the good, now the bad …

Like many practices there are some wild stories out there regarding SIAM. In fact, that was part of the reason why we got into writing blogs, white papers, and then the Foundation Body of Knowledge, and now the Professional BoK. We want to present SIAM as a coherent framework, to make sure that people understand what it is and how it can help them.

So, SIAM is NOT …

  • The former name of Thailand … well it is, but not for our purposes ;-)
  • A silver bullet – it will not solve all your issues (you know … the ones you’ve been trying for decades to have ITIL resolve, and then you thought DevOps would take care of them, and now you’re looking for the next best thing…)
  • A replacement of ITIL either. Whilst there are similarities and overlaps to the basic principles of both (but then again, that would be the case for most service management practices), SIAM is not meant to take over where ITIL left off. But neither do you need to choose between ITIL or SIAM (or any other practice for that matter). SIAM is unique in offering a structure, culture, principles, and practices for managing a multi-service provider environment, which then allow the use of your framework-of-choice!
  • A fad, something those consultants came up to sell some books, training and consultancy … wait a few years and they’ll be singing a new song! SIAM has actually been around for more than 10 years and there is already a treasure trove of tried-and-tested SIAM practices out there. The need to build an agile ecosystem of multiple service providers and utilise best-of-breed, collaboration, and coordination is not going anywhere!

The SIAM Roadmap

The basis of our presentation at ITSM17 is centred around the SIAM Roadmap, which has four iterative stages:

  •   Discovery & Strategy
  •   Plan & Build
  •   Implement
  •   Run & Improve

A keen observer will notice how these stages are aligned to the ITIL Service Lifecycle and many other lifecycle models, which is of course not by coincidence as those models are tried and tested, plus it allows for an easier alignment with those practices.

Find out more at ITSM17

If you’re attending the event then hopefully you’re able to join us for our sessionSIAM - The Good, the Bad, the Obligatory, and the Virtuous’ (20th November at 11.30am) where we’ll expand on this, and the roadmap, by providing some best and not so good practices. We’ll be presenting together with Claire Agutter from Scopism

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Why Key Risk Indicators Trump KPIs for Problem Management

Posted By Peter Norris, 08 November 2017

When conversations turn to measurements, key process indicators (KPIs) always get raised as a mandatory requirement for anyone running a process. KPIs really are a “must have” if you want to see how your process is performing, and to improve effectiveness, efficiency, and compliance to it. 

But what are the real goals of any process, and can KPIs help us ensure that we achieve these goals? Well, yes they can – however, in the case of problem management, the key measure for our senior management at Nationwide is not how many problem cases are open, how many root causes are yet to be uncovered, or the percentage of incidents associated to a problem record. What most concerns them is whether a priority 1 (P1) incident has a real likelihood of recurring. 

Identifying and Managing Risks

So for us, at the highest level, key risk indicators (KRIs) are more important than KPIs. Our KRIs give our senior management a snapshot of our exposure to being headline news. And then having to respond to additional information requests from regulators in addition to our staff being unable to help our members in a branch, and to our members being unable to open a new mortgage or pay a bill.

Our Problem Management Journey

At the start of our problem management journey we had simple KPIs to track our process. Knowing that we generally did not complete actions agreed at the post implementation review as quickly as we should, we focussed on how long it took people to complete their tasks.

However, as it became clear that our senior business stakeholders viewed each unaddressed P1 incident as a risk to service, we knew that we needed to really focus on the actual risk to IT services. 

To address this we introduced very simple KRIs (for example, volume of P1 incidents where root cause is not found and volume of P1 incidents where all activities have not been completed). In fact, they weren’t really indicators of actual risk but, as our process was immature, they gave us a basic indication of exposure to recurring P1 incidents.

Then, as the process has matured, and we really started to understand where we needed to focus our resources (“I need to know you’re addressing the things that keep me up at night” is a statement from the Head of IT Service Delivery that we keep reminding ourselves of), those two KRIs became KPIs, and two new KRIs came to the fore – the volume of P1 incidents with a material risk of recurrence and the volume of critical problem tasks outstanding. 

Reporting KRIs and KPIs

These simple KRIs now get the headlines at our regular forums and on balanced scorecards – whilst KPIs help us internally ensure that the process is moving as quickly and efficiently as possible, these two KRIs are the first measures we cover when we’re talking to any senior stakeholder about the problem management process. 

Because they’re ultimately concerned about a P1 incident happening again, rather than whether we’ve reached the “green” threshold on any particular KPI report.

Want to Know More?

If you’d like to know more about reporting KRIs and KPIs then please join me at the upcoming itSMF UK conference (ITSM17) in November, where I’ll be presenting with my colleague Ian Porter on “Solving your Customers Problems at the PUB”.

We’ll be discussing the overhaul of our problem management process and how focusing on our internal and external customers helped us to: focus on what was materially important; change perception of the process as quickly as possible; use scarce resources most effectively; ensure our stakeholders were aware of the investigation progress (and its achievements); implement measures to ensure progress was made; and ensure senior management didn’t lose sight of exposure to recurring incidents.

It will be a very practical session covering our service management journey, mistakes we’ve made, things we’ve learned, what’s worked well, and how you can use these learnings to kick start or improve your own problem management process. I hope to see you there.

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Has the core concern of ITSM changed in 20 years?

Posted By Ivor Macfarlane, 01 November 2017

Do I need to tell you again? That was a favourite phrase of my mother’s and a sure clue I had forgotten to do something, usually something she’d already told me about more than once. It meant I was in some degree of trouble.

Now – in a professional capacity – I find myself asking, rhetorically at least – that same question. I’ve been presenting at itSMF events for some time now, since the Brighton conference in 1993, and I reckon I have clocked up 84 annual conferences in 28 countries. Take out some of the really boring ones about ITIL itself, especially what V3 will and did contain, and most of the rest shared a common theme: “you need to understand the people you are doing all this IT service management (ITSM) for – your customers”.

After 20+ years banging on about this, you might think I should shut up – even I think that maybe I should shut up. But instead, at the upcoming itSMF UK conference (ITSM17) in Manchester in a few weeks I’ll be at it again. Maybe for the last time, but that seemed a good reason for a small retrospective.

We all see the same world, but in different ways 

The real reason for looking back though is that too many organisations still haven’t ‘got it’. In the best tradition of the BBC therefore, my purportedly new talk will contain a few healthy chunks of repeats. Specifically, I plan to re-run elements from talks I delivered for itSMF: UK, US, and others, in 2004 and 2009. The main theme is “Understanding the Business Perspective” – that was the 2004 title, and it uses iced buns, childlike perceptions, dolphins, and washing machines to make a point; along with quotes from great literature (Thomas the Tank Engine) and the wisdom of John Lennon.

It won’t be all doom, gloom, and the cynical rantings of old age though, (some of course, but not all). I think there’s been real progress in the 15 years since I first wrote and delivered the content. We’ve seen business relationship management (BRM) become high profile and for many it’s now a must-have concept within their organisation. What we don’t universally see yet though is how BRM can be a universal bottleneck to every aspect of successful ITSM if it isn’t done effectively. 

BRM: the new bottleneck?

When I deliver ITIL Foundation courses I lose track of the number of times we say “And of course if BRM isn’t working properly, you’ll not be able to get this right, because you won’t know what you’re aiming at”. I guess the flow we need goes something like this:

· We need to understand our customers and relate to their desires and concerns. For that we need to talk their language, share their concerns, and empathise with their attitudes

· That knowledge has to be translated into terms our service provider folk can understand. In terms of what success would look like – when it’s ‘done’ to borrow some Agile terminology

· Then we have to actually do it.

Without those first two steps though, we often have no alternative but to fall back on to the traditional IT behaviour: we put all our efforts into getting better at what we’re doing now. That enthusiasm and determination to improve is good, positive stuff. But if we can combine that with some understanding of how our customers think and what they actually need … well then we can start actually being useful. 

And shouldn’t we always have been useful?

And that’s the other talk I will be sampling, as delivered to itSMF UK and USA in 2009: “Is your service management useful?”

When I wrote that ’useful’ talk and started delivering, there was no question that the answer was always going to be ‘Not really’. Has that changed? Are we now working as part of the business, attuned to their needs and desires? Or have many CIOs fallen back on protecting their empire and gone for keeping the IT unit at arms’ length rather than feeling part of the bigger organisation with one set of shared metrics? Maybe there’s one test to help you answer that question:

If your customers and users start using their own software (spreadsheets and the like) to do critical business work, do you shout ‘Shadow IT’ and complain? Or do you realise that they are doing it because they need more than you are providing, and then go sit don with them and work out what they need and how you can help them?, If you just see it as Shadow IT, I think you are missing the point I’ve been trying to make for 20 years.

Personally, I think there’s still enough mileage on those old ideas to warrant bringing them out for another run in Manchester. Fancy a trip backwards in ITSM to look forwards? I hope you’ll join me at ITSM17.


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All go in ITSM...

Posted By Mark Lillycrop, 01 November 2017

by Barclay Rae, CEO, itSMF UK

It’s certainly all go in the ITSM world right now – with the major conference season upon us. New ideas, models and publications, plus a healthy dose of classic themes and events. We have seen the announcement of a new framework for Service Management, plus some new events for 2018. We have FUSION this week in Florida and ITSM17 later this month in Manchester to look forward to, where we can debate all of this as an industry.

I attended the recent NOW FORUM event in London recently – this is a free event run by Service Now to update its customers and the industry on new product and corporate developments. There is also a flourishing partner exhibition which is a great networking opportunity. I was pleased to hear some positive references to traditional ITSM terms such as ‘Customers’ and ‘Services’ in the keynote sessions, and a good focus on practical solutions.  

We have also seen the announcement of a new ITSM framework – VeriSM  (check out the details, including an excellent introductory video, at This has been produced via the same approach and team that brought together the recent SIAM Foundation BoK and Training programme, which received good industry feedback. On the basis of this, the output from the new VeriSM product should be of a good standard. We are pleased to see competition and new ideas being promoted in the marketplace and look forward to commenting further on this once more details are made available.  

It’s FUSION time – I will be presenting with our Chair, Rosemary Gurney at the itSMF USA / HDI joint conference this week. The topic will be Service Management professionalism and we will discuss the need to develop a wider and more holistic view of how we view, recruit and reward our ITSM practitioners. We have gained valuable insights through developing the PSMF framework and look forward to the session and sharing our approach.  

This year is the last FUSION joint event and we also saw the announcement last week of a new ITSM conference in the US run by HDI. We also await news on the next itSMF USA conference in 2018. At the same time we are planning out our whole schedule of events and activities for 2018 – this will be available shortly and we look forward to the reaction to this and to our new website, which will be launching very shortly.

No doubt there will be further industry announcements and discussions forthcoming at both FUSION and ITSM17. At our conference we will be playing back practical feedback from all delegates in real time, to keep the discussions flowing.

There’s lots to discuss and I look forward to seeing you at one or other event soon!  

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Supercharge your support teams – reward and recognition that really works!

Posted By Sally Bogg, 25 October 2017


At the upcoming itSMF UK conference (ITSM17) this year, I’ll be presenting on how you can use reward and recognition to motivate your support staff and build strong, customer-focused teams. Studies have shown that there is a huge difference in the performance of motivated and non-motivated staff, and as such it’s highly important to invest time and effort in the people that are responsible for service delivery. People that feel valued and appreciated are better able to deliver excellent customer service and it makes sense that happy people give great and/or better service, so if you want to improve your customer experience then you should start off with employee experience.

Sounds easy doesn’t it?

The reality is that this can be quite a difficult thing to do – most people are simply not motivated by money alone, but want to be able to feel that they’re making a difference, after all nobody deliberately comes to work to do a bad job. So if you want to supercharge your support teams here are my top tips for successful reward and recognition:

  • Make sure that your teams have a strong sense of direction and purpose – help them understand their fit in your organisation, and how the work they do supports the overall organisation.
  • Invest in professional and personal development – it can be a great motivator for people, so develop a culture and working environment that gives people the opportunity to learn new skills and improve their knowledge, and invest in staff training and development. 
  • Collect customer feedback – using customer feedback and customer compliments can also be a great way of recognising excellent customer service. Make sure that you take the time to share customer feedback with key stakeholders including the senior management team.
  • Arrange “team time” – a team is not just a group of people that work together but also a group of people that respect, trust, and care for each other. Make sure your teams get the opportunity to spend time away together; regular team meetings are essential, and you might also want to consider team building events and away days.
  • Recognition – this is an essential ingredient in ensuring that people feel valued and motivated. Make sure you take the time to recognise good work and celebrate success. 

My experience is that different people are motivated by different things so it is important to use a wide variety of reward and recognition initiatives, enabling you to demonstrate the value that you place on the staff involved in service delivery. 

So when should we reward people?

Sometimes, this can be the most difficult part of a reward and recognition strategy. Should we only reward people when they go above and beyond what is required of them and when they have put in the extra effort to get the job done? That might sound like a good idea, but what about the people who go about their jobs diligently and deliver excellent service every day? Should we not reward them too? Simple answer – reward the behavior you want to see more of! Recognition should be always be timely. When there is a reason for praising someone don't put it off! Promptness equals effectiveness. Praise people when the achievement is fresh on everyone's mind, and don’t be shy about it, simple thank you emails are nice, but don’t necessarily have a big impact – it’s much better to deliver recognition face to face with a big smile and a warm handshake.

The Results

My approach to reward and recognition has enabled me to create team cultures where there is a real sense of fun and joy, and joyful people do remarkable work. But it’s worth remembering that once you’ve created this culture it will need to be cultivated and nurtured. This isn't a one off piece of work but an ongoing and continual process.

Service improvement is not just about processes, procedures, tools, and technologies! It starts with the people! A good service needs good people and a strong team. If you focus on improving employee experience the result will be an improved customer experience, and so as a result you should create teams that can stand tall and be proud of the service that they deliver.

You can find out more about this at my upcoming session at ITSM17. I’m really looking forward to presenting, it’s my first time at this event and I’m excited to not just be attending and learning, but also to be contributing.


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