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What’s happening in Service Management in 2016?

Written by:
November 2015
Categories: For the IT Leader, Podcasts

Reading time estimate Reading time: 4 minutes

Service Management is nothing new in the world of IT, however, I’ve rarely seen a well implemented service management/ITIL environment. Much like the mis-application of project management methodologies, Service Management is often misunderstood and deployed in an over-bureaucratic way. In the past this was often made worse by the so called Service Management Experts of 5-10 years ago. Sometimes I felt they’d invested so much personal time and effort to become highly certified, that they’d become fixated on doing things in a rigid ITIL only way.

To find out where the world of Service Management is heading into 2016, I spoke with Steve Morgan of Syniad IT. A foremost expert in service management, and most recently focusing on SIAM, or Service Integration and Management, I asked Steve how Service Management has matured over the past 5 years, especially with the growth of tools such as Service Now, and what we should expect ib the next few years.

“I agree that Service Management was often guilty of being a land inhabited mainly by very noisy dinosaurs!  However, I do believe that the industry is evolving in a positive way.  First up for me is the importance of divorcing two terms – ITIL is de-facto Service Management framework, embodied in the ITIL books published initially by TSO, and now owned by Axelos who have accountability for its evolution.  Service Management is the collective term for the processes, tools, organisations, governance and metrics which come together to help an organisation keep its IT Services running – keeping the lights on you might say.  Service Management relies heavily upon practices described within ITIL, but there are other places where this good practice is also documented.  For example, in COBIT, SFIA, ISO 20000 and most recently (and quite excitingly for an ITSM geek like me) is IT4IT, a new framework for IT Services based upon a value chain approach.”

SIAM would appear to be the latest buzz-phrase. Can you explain what it is, and how or even if it will make a difference to Service Management?

SIAM, or Service Integration & Management, is indeed the latest industry trend.  SIAM itself is still in its infancy, and there isn’t really a definitive document set which describes its various guises.  Kevin Holland has had some papers published by Axelos, and I’ve written some material for the itSMF which also helps to shed some light on it all.

There is a trend in the market today for organisations to adopt a multi-sourcing model.  Under these circumstances, there is a need for a centralised function to manage the traditional Service Management areas, plus manage things like contract change, continual improvement, overarching governance, commercial and financial management and reporting.  The term given to this is SIAM.

SIAM itself can be sourced as a commodity, or delivered by the retained organisation as an in-house function.  Many organisations in both the public and private sectors, are today moving from a single supplier to a multi-sourced model, and as a result, need to either: a) establish a SIAM function; or b) expand their existing ITSM function to include the additional areas I described earlier. A good SIAM function should enable an organisation to adopt a more flexible approach to the procurement of IT Services, not only through traditional service providers, but through cloud providers who deal with “outcomes” based delivery.

What does a well-established, mature Service Management environment look like? What does it mean for the business in such organisations, for example, are there tangible business benefits that can attributed to good service management?

Much has been written about the tangible benefits of Service Management, but there are few quantifiable examples.  This is because many organisations don’t want to publicise how bad they were before they went about improving their Service management processes!  Of those where business benefits have been published, Proctor & Gamble and Caterpillar are probably the two most notable ones that stick in my mind.  These organisations quickly understood that ITIL adoption wasn’t about sticking rigidly to the processes described within the ITIL books, but was about a number of things, mainly:

  • Adopting the principles and adapting them to the needs of the organisation
  • Good ITSM practices are about cultural and behavioural change, not just process for process sake.

This is particularly relevant as more organisations adopt a SIAM approach.  The entire eco-system must be aligned culturally – with a common aim of delivering the end-to-end business services and the outcomes that the business desire.  It’s analogous to the day that President Kennedy visited Cape Canaveral in the late 60’s. Coming across a janitor, he asked “what’s your job here son?”, to which the janitor replied, “I’m putting a man on the moon sir”.  In a SIAM eco-system, the entire service model must come together to understand their part in delivering the business outcomes.

What of the future for IT? Where is Service Management positioned – for example, does it sit well alongside the more agile world with concepts such as DevOps? And if you are implementing DevOps and Agile what changes, if any, do you need to make to your Service Management?

“Well, I’ve been around IT for over 25 years now, and I’ve seen ‘the next big thing’ come and go.  Some stick, but in IT, we’re really good at evolving things, shedding unnecessary overheads along the way, and re-inventing how we work.  You see new things come along, like DevOps for example, which has been born out of business demand for a more responsive, flexible IT Service delivery model.  I really like the concept of bi-modal IT, where you have your traditional IT delivery model which is supplemented by a more rapid, agile approach for IT service/application development.  So we’re in a period now where IT is trying to develop the ‘new normal’ – Answering questions such as: What level of governance and control is ‘good enough’ to balance risk vs agility; What level of capacity/performance testing can we achieve in a complex SIAM model; What is the optimum organisation structure; What tools do we need…?”

What other trends should we be aware in the world of Service Management and IT? For example, CoBIT, bi-modal IT, etc.?

Personally, I’ve been really excited by two things. Firstly, a paper issued by COBIT relating to operating a SIAM model.  This really worked for me, as for the first time it talked about SIAM in the context of governance and controls, rather than just an extension to ITSM. Secondly, I love the stuff that IT4IT are doing.  True open source content for ITSM which delivers it in a value-chain approach, which clearly describes how demand translates into IT projects/work-stack, and how this transitions into Business-As-Usual (BAU).  It’s taken ITIL v3, which introduced a lifecycle approach, and extended it to a really consumable set of material.  I’m sure this will grow and evolve too.

I’m also Chairing the itSMF SIAM Special Interest Group, which is tasked with developing the SIAM ideas and models, and developing a body of work which encapsulates the various flavours and models for SIAM.  I’m hopeful that this could form the basis for a set of commonly understood principles and terminology for SIAM, which could be used by Service Providers and IT departments in the way in which ITIL is used today, to ensure everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.

 

To hear a more in-depth discussion on these topics listen to the podcast at the top of this article, or subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

To read more articles on these topics take a look at Syniad IT’s thought leadership articles.

If you’d like to discuss your Service Management challenges then get in touch. Or if you’d like to contact Steve directly, fill out the contact form on the Syniad website. You can also follow Steve on Twitter,or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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