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In the world of SIAM - who is responsible for the SLA's and KPI’s?

If you’ve been running your IT organisation on the ITIL® for the past however long, and you’re now looking to focus on adopting SIAM as your core approach to managing IT services, you may well be considering what changes you’ll need to make to the ways you measure and govern your success.


For most ITIL® centric services you will most likely have a set of SLA’s in place. Many businesses will also have a set of KPI’s across their various areas of the business, including IT services. So when you introduce a managed approach to outsourcing and suppliers; or indeed SIAM, how does this all change?



The effect SIAM has on supplier objectives


In IT, we talk a lot about business objectives. It holds the answer to a wide range of questions about how IT should act and why. In SIAM environments this becomes even more important, as there are suddenly so may more players on the pitch and they all need to know how the team is going to score. What this means in practical terms is that suppliers must start working towards shared goals, where there is joint responsibility for meeting both SLA’s and KPI’s alike.

This naturally requires a far more collaborative and open way of working, not just internally but across a set of previously unrelated businesses. This is why the ‘Integration Layer’ is vital in the management of SIAM, as it must facilitate not only the setting of these shared goals, but also help ensure a healthy level of collaboration across all strategic suppliers.

How SLA’s and KPI’s are written and set also becomes far more business led. Where before your top line service metrics might be focussed around availability of support or ticket volumes, you now have to create a much larger picture to work within.


For example, if your business makes a mass produced food product that has been shipped to hundreds of different super markets, the top line KPI’s – even for IT – now become something more business focussed such as: ‘Service availability to manufacturing teams will enable a minimum of 100,000 units to be produced per week’ and ‘Logistical systems must provide accurate data on stock levels, to ensure that 99% of deliveries can be successfully fulfilled each day.

KPI’s such as this will exist for each strategic supplier and service provider within the SIAM ecosystem and will be incentivised in such a way that promotes both the business centric style service required and the collaboration between vendors.


What is the role of your Service Desk?

Naturally the balance of internally and externally provided services is key to the success of SIAM. With many services that were previously managed inside the business now outsourced, what does that mean for the internal Service Desk? A lot of questions and challenges arise around the role of front-line IT in terms of what new skills will they need, what services will they be accountable for and what will the rest of the business expect of them. However, for the purpose of this piece I want to focus on the Service Desk’s role in metric and reporting. 


A big challenge faced by businesses as they transition into SIAM is that they now have a large number of suppliers, software and people collecting data on the success of their services and at some point soon they will need to report on it. In most successful SIAM environments, the internal Service Desk team is responsible for this data as they - for the most part - are the closest to it. How they collect that data can change from business to business. Some may choose to collect data simply from what they have available internally as a single source of truth, especially if that data is under pinned by internal business activities (such as how many units are produced, in stock or shipped).


Other’s may use an ecosystem of integrations to collect data from their suppliers, then become specialised in managing and interpreting this data to fine tune how it is produced as insightful and useful reports to the business. The most important thing is to see your service desk as the central source of truth for service data.



SIAM KPI’s become flexible based on existing objectives


Naturally at some point in the supply SLA’s and KPI’s do need to become more , but still in a way that supports the priorities of the businesses at a given time. Traditional Manager Service Provider (MSP) contracts outline a collection of targets and provide service credits back to the customer when those are not met. In more and more mature SIAM environments we are seeing a more elasticated method in use to help ensure the success of the customer and supplier a like.

This is done in a way which I have heard described as ‘The KPI bucket’. As with an MSP contract, a manner of KPI’s are written and seen as important to underpinning the success of the business. However, in these more modern and flexible SIAM focussed contracts, KPI’s and SLA’s can be toggled on and off at any time by the business or the SIAM provider as a way of focusing support activities in a certain direction.


This is not only beneficial from the perspective of taking a more agile approach to reducing waste and meeting important objectives, but also creates a more open and transparent setting for suppliers, SIAM providers and the business to consecutively discuss their priorities and limitations.


In summary, this all comes down to the shared objective and creating a culture of shared results… win or lose.

Successful SIAM is the result of a set of strategic suppliers collectively owning objectives that directly relate to the success of the business. If you’re a car manufacture that is getting cars off the factory line and on to peoples’ drive ways, or if you are a bank it is about making sure customers always have access to the very best services and systems, which help them manage their money.

Sure, have KPI’s and SLA’s, which help support specific activities such as service desk ticketing and software availability. However, always ensure that everyone knows; from your own staff, to your SIAM provider to your biggest and smallest suppliers, what the business does and how they help it to succeed.

Read More: The now and future of Service Integration