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