Combining SIAM and DevOps for Digital Reimagination

CEOs are under increasing pressure to move their business into the digital world, reimagining the business model to take advantage of the Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) digital forces that are redefining the way organisations interact with their customers. They also expect CIOs to act as a business leader, taking a business-focused approach to leading the IT function and contributing to issues and subjects beyond technology.

The challenge requires not only leveraging new technology, but new ways of working within the IT function and new sourcing strategies.

This has led to an increasing interest and relevance of DevOps and Service Integration and Management (SIAM) in recent years.

Whilst DevOps recognises the importance of integrating development, quality assurance and operations into a seamless mechanism to deploy faster and more reliable software solutions and services, SIAM is the response to IT organisations that seek to rip the benefits of a multi-vendor environment, integrating services sourced from carefully selected IT providers.

But would SIAM and DevOps work together?

To answer this question, let’s take a further look at the key drives and characteristics of each of these approaches.

DevOps emerged from a group of professionals dissatisfied with the results of the silo behaviour that arises from the way roles and responsibilities are traditionally split between development, test and operations teams. Project delays, unreliable solutions and services, high defect rates in production, lack of flexibility, low performance and high cost are amongst the issues that DevOps wants to address.

The most important characteristics of DevOps are the understanding of the business behind IT, the change in attitude in the IT professionals and the use of technology to automate service operations and the develop-test-deploy model.

The change in attitude refers to the way the different IT teams engage, interact and see each other. Most organisations have already realised that trust, integration and understanding of the business do not happen naturally. They need to be fostered and continuously nurtured.

Some critics of DevOps argue it is just an excuse to combine distinct and specialised roles into the same person. It is important to note that, although in small organisations the same person may need to perform all roles, the DevOps principles are also applicable to medium and large size organisations.

On a different perspective, Service Integration and Management (SIAM) emerged from an increasing number of companies opting for an increasing number of IT service providers, to improve cost transparency, reduce risk and take advantage of best of breed solutions and services.

Although not immediately evident, the issues that rise from a multi-sourced environment are now encouraging clients to place increasing importance on the SIAM role.

SIAM aims to address issues such as contractual gaps and overlaps, broken processes and communication channels, conflicting interests and performance targets, distinct governance mechanisms and the lack of end-to-end service ownership that ultimately lead to value leakage and customer dissatisfaction.

The UK government has also adhered to the trend, having included a guidance on SIAM to chief technology officers.

Some of the most important aspects of the SIAM role are the coordination of people, processes, technology and data, and the governance across multiple suppliers, to ensure effective and efficient operations of the end-to-end service delivery to the business user.

DevOps and SIAM converge in addressing current business and IT challenges and targeting people and attitude as primary drivers of performance and value. Whilst DevOps addresses the cons of functional specialisation and the spread of responsibilities across different IT teams, SIAM deals with the additional challenge of spreading services across multiple vendors.

DevOps bring fresh air and enthusiasm to build more dynamic, collaborative and intelligent ways of working, leveraging peoples knowledge and the use of technology to automate routine tasks.

SIAM complements DevOps bringing in Service Management and Contract Management capabilities.

Recent SIAM implementations take advantage of the full service lifecycle approach introduced by ITIL 2007/2011, replacing the traditional support-centric approach of previous implementations.

They also use ITIL and Enterprise Architecture concepts to ensure there is no ambiguity in the definition of service elements, so that a robust and comprehensive framework of contracts, agreements and governance mechanisms can be put in place to clearly link each service element to the vendor that owns it.

SIAM and DevOps are thus two sides of one coin. Combined they can bring in the benefits of innovation, collaboration and best-of-breed sourcing required by CEOs to realise their digital business strategies, and by CIOs to reimagine the IT function beyond the traditional technology perspectives, improving value and customer experience whilst reducing time-to-market and operational costs.

salt and pepper smallSIAM and DevOps are like salt and pepper: they are different things that work very well together.


4 thoughts on “Combining SIAM and DevOps for Digital Reimagination

  1. Pingback: SIAM and DevOps are like salt and pepper: different things that work very well together | On Skylights

  2. Ian Jones

    I feel I have missed something in this article and hoping you can explain further. I understand the two concepts and their benefits and this article suggested that they can combine or even supplement each other. But at the end of the article, they are deemed as two sides of one coin. So how do they actually combine or support each other? I’ve missed that point.


    1. andrejacobucci Post author

      Hi Ian, thanks for your comments. Both SIAM and DevOps are about integration in an IT organization: the former is focused on integrating different service providers, the latter is focused on integrating system development with system operations. In this sense they are the same coin (“integration”) but they focus on complementary perspectives.


  3. ZENESYS (@zenesys)

    I come from the SIAM slide of the equation and was reading about DevOps and it occurred to me that there are some similarities or rather synergies.
    Salt and Pepper is a good analogy because both being different, in combination creates a classic formula for flavor enhancing.
    I’ll give my two cents. Both have the same goals (DevOps in Application Delivery and SIAM for Service Delivery). The goals are faster and cheaper delivery by breaking down silos.
    However the big “challenge” that no body seems to address is “The How”. There are many guidelines but no “standards”. Now some will get that tired look in their eyes because I used the word “standards”.
    It can be done you know. We have been through this before. War of the networking standards. The internet won against proprietary networking technologies and LINUX prevailed as the operating system against the ones from the computer giants.
    We need Government and NGOs to setup and involve startups and smaller companies to rally and build support for standards in SIAM and DevOps. Till then each large corporation will be creating their own flavors of DevOps and SIAM. if that continues, nobody wins.



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