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How do today’s IT leaders design and build an operating model which is flexible enough to cope with the demands of digital transformation and cloud adoption?

At some point in your career as an IT leader, you will be posed with the challenge of changing your organisation to meet the changing needs of your business, your customers, competitors or a combination of all of them.

However, it’s not easy to find those with the right skills and experience who can think strategically and without the constraints of the current organisation, its culture, processes and tools.  With this mind, more organisations are turning to specialist organisations such as Syniad IT, to assist in this critical design and build activity.

As specialists in the development of IT Operating models, we are often engaged in the design and build of operating model components such as:

  • Process models
  • Tooling solutions
  • Governance
  • Metrics & Reporting
  • Support models

Here, we explore each of these components, identifying the key elements and critical success factors of each.

Whilst you’re here, you can also download our Transformation Approach to see how we go about working with clients like you to bring about sustainable and transformational change.

Our design and build work is typically driven by one or more of the following factors:

The need to change the Operating Model components is impacted by the business drivers, which in turn are derived by the business and IT strategy.

Here we explore each of the components in turn, looking at the key elements to each component and the critical success factors in getting them right.

Process models

Key elements

  • Process flows, typically defined in the form of cross functional diagrams
  • RACI charts to clearly define responsibilities. This method of defining responsibilities is often frowned upon as being over bureaucratic and time consuming, but there is real value in doing so.  We invite you to Talk About RACI models further, to understand why we think they’re so valuable.
  • Process interfaces clearly defined, typically through a combination of the process flow, RACI chart and other support process documentation.

Critical success factors

  • Buy-in and commitment to adhering to defined processes, through an effective adoption and training programme
  • Clearly defined scope, typically involving the common processes defined within IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL)SIAM and the international standard in IT Service ManagementISO 2000.
  • All stakeholders involved in their development and review, particularly in multi-vendor models (e.g. Service Integration and Management (SIAM)). Take a look at our blog published by www.ITSM.Tools which describes how to build an effective SIAM process model and read our hi-fi inspired blog, Tune your SIAM Graphic Equaliser, to learn why a process model for SIAM needs to tuned to your specific needs.
  • Effective links between project delivery and business-as-usual support teams through the development of robust Transition Management processes. We explore this subject further in our blog, How Good is your Service Definition, Design and Transition?
  • We also explore the impact of poor Service Design and Transition on your IT support teams in our blog, Are your IT Support teams busy?
  • You can also read how we helped a government client improve their transition management processes

Tooling solutions

Key elements

  • Clearly defined functional and non-functional requirements at the outset. Read how we helped a client define their tool requirements whilst transitioning to the SIAM model, for more information on our approach and the outcomes we achieved.
  • A transparent and disciplined tool selection process
  • An ongoing development process and approach to manage bugs and enhancements
  • Control over changes to the tool to maintain performance and integrity
  • An ongoing tooling roadmap to ensure the capabilities of the tool are exploited and the contractual impact understood
  • Ensure you get the scope right. Don’t get fixated with the IT Service Management (ITSM) tools to manage Incident Management, Problem ManagementChange Management, the Configuration Management Database (CMDB), etc.  Getting the CMDB right in a SIAM model is difficult, but you can read our 11 Tips to build a CMDB in a SIAM model for some sound advice.
  • Think more broadly to incorporate the process areas and disciplines you want to automate. A good example of this is the Service Request Catalogue, and you can take a look at our 3 Steps to Building a Service Request Catalogue
  • Don’t forget Knowledge Management, as this is critical part of any operating model, as it makes it easier to “Shift left” your support overhead. Take a look at our 6 Steps to Knowledge Management Success to understand how to deliver real value through an effective Knowledge Management process.

Critical success factors


Key elements

  • Operational governance
  • Project governance
    This is normally achieved through the use of project management methodologies which are supported by a Project Management Office (PMO). However, in SIAM operating models, there is a risk that each service provider will bring their own project governance and PMO structures.  Take a look at Why your SIAM Operating Model needs a single PMO for more information on this.  Also, take a look at our 11 Actions to Your SIAM Programme Successful our Key Questions for SIAM programme blogs to get you off on the right foot.   Ensure your SIAM programme starts off on the right track and Get to Grips with SIAMin our blog which was originally written as an article for the IT Service Management Forum (ITSMF) in the UK.
  • Reporting can become a hugely time consuming process, particularly in a SIAM operating model.  Take a look at our thoughts on Reporting in a Complex SIAM ecosystem
  • Effective governance to manage ways of working, review effectiveness and deal with exceptions
  • Underpinning reporting must be effective to enable effective decision support
  • Overarching governance model based upon best practices (e.g. COBIT, VeriSM). It’s tempting to think of the various frameworks as mutually exclusive, but in fact, the opposite is true.  Read our blog, Don’t Throw Away your IT Operating Model to learn more.

Critical success factors

  • Senior management support and buy-in
  • Governance model developed in concert with service providers and integrated with their governance cycles
  • Striking the balance between Agility and Control, such that the IT service is stable but highly responsive to changing business needs
  • Effective service targets, documented in Service Level Agreements (SLAs) or contracts. But, How Far Should you Take SLAs in SIAM world?  Read the blog to understand how to develop an effective SLA structure in a multi-vendor operating model.

Metrics and Reporting

Key elements

  • Regular reporting schedule
  • Reporting automated where possible from trusted data sources (single version of the truth)
  • Governance principles and policies
  • Appropriate monitoring, review and exception management meetings

Critical success factors

  • Senior management support and buy-in
  • Governance model developed in concert with service providers and integrated with their governance cycles

Support models

Key elements

  • Development of an over-arching support model which spans the entire organisation, including any 3rdparty service providers. This is particularly important in SIAM (Service Integration & Management operating models).  Take a look at Part 1 and Part 2 of our CIO’s guide to Service Integration & Management for more information on SIAM.
  • Don’t forget to look at the entire service lifecycle when building a SIAM operating model.  There are opportunities to improve efficiency in every part of the organisation, even the project delivery area.  Our download, Why does your SIAM Operating Model need a single PMO?, describes how you can create a streamlined project management office within a SIAM operating model.
  • Creation of a Service Catalogue. The term Service Catalogue, can be confusing to many, as it means different things in different contexts.  You can read our blog, What are all these Service Catalogues and Why do we need them? for enlightenment.  Also, take a look how we helped a client develop a business case for service catalogue development
  • Describes approach to 1st, 2nd, 3rd line support, DevOps approaches, and service provider responsibilities, see The need for process in a DevOps world
  • Service Level Agreements, Operating Level Agreement and Underpinning Contracts
  • Acts as the bedrock for new and changed services to develop service specific support models
  • Detailed organisation structure mapped to individual and team capabilities

Critical success factors

  • Ability to flex support model over time, as new services and delivery approaches are adopted
  • Continual service improvement approach to bring new ideas and approaches in to the support model (e.g. VeriSM)

The Human factor

There is considerable complexity embedded into each of the items above, particularly when you factor in organisational, team and personal culture, as well as morale and relationships through the technology and business teams.  These factors can add significant “drag” to the speed at which change can be brought about.

With this in mind, Syniad IT can often speed up the pace of change by not only bringing the expertise and experience, but also the independence, methods, approaches and tactics required to bring about lasting organisational change.

Contact us to describe your specific challenges.  We offer free initial consultations without obligation.