Service Integration & Management operating model

Tune your SIAM graphic equaliser!

In our conversations with clients, I find myself using a “graphic equaliser” analogy more and more. Read on to find out why!

Our clients want to adopt SIAM (Service Integration & Management) operating models. But commonly, they don’t know where to start with the basic design principles involved in developing a SIAM Operating Model.

We start with a list, comprised mainly of IT Service Management processes but with some additions. The list looks something like this:

·     Audit and control

·     Business relationship management

·     Change management

·     Release management

·     Commercial/contract management

·     Continual improvement

·     Event management

·     Financial management

·     Incident management

·     Request fulfilment

·     Service catalogue management

·     Information security management

·     Knowledge management

·     Monitoring, measuring, and reporting

·     Problem management

·     Project management

·     Software asset and configuration management

·     Service level management

·     Service portfolio management

·     Supplier management

·     Toolset and information management

·     Capacity and availability management

·     Service continuity management

·     Service introduction, retirement, and replacement

In order to drive the conversation, we start to talk about the principle of defining which processes the organisation does well, and which ones it doesn’t. We talk about baselining this in some form of baseline assessment.

We then talk about the future state, and their desire to either retain or source their processes. But this desire isn’t binary. It isn’t a Source or Retain discussion. It tends to be “we want to keep some elements of the process but have suppliers do others.

And this is where I introduce my graphic equaliser analogy.

Imagine a graphic equaliser from the 1970’s hi-fi era. At the bottom end of the audio range are the service providers, in the middle the service integrator, and at the top the retained customer organisation. Imagine that each channel in the graphic equaliser is a process. The adjuster is a “slider” which moves up and down. It’s not a switch that is “On or Off”.

This is analogous to my approach to defining the SIAM process model in many ways:

  • Processes contain many actors. You cannot say that a process is wholly performed by one supplier or another. But you can indicate where the majority of the tasks are performed using the “slider” approach (i.e. the customer, the service integrator, or the service providers).
  • The “tuning” of the graphic equaliser is not prescriptive. Just as what sounds good to you will not sound good to a friend or relative, the position of the sliders in our SIAM process model will vary from one organisation to another.
  • Using something “graphical” to define the process ownership, at a very high level like this, will drive out any major issues at a very early stage.


This initial simple view of processes can also be used as a great communication tool, when briefing IT staff, prospective suppliers and tooling providers.

The next steps are to define the overarching blueprint and operating model, of which a detailed process model which describes who does what, is a vital part.

We’ve recently launched a SIAM Workshop to help organisations navigate through this initial strategy setting phase of their SIAM programmes.

About the Author

Steve Morgan is director of Syniad IT, a consulting firm specialising in the design, implementation and optimisation of IT Operating Models, using ITSM and SIAM practices.

For more information, visit the Syniad IT website