In with service orchestration, out with SIAM

By Ramanan Ramakrishna, - Future WorkplaceService Intelligence

Mike Mathews recently suggested the service desk of the future should reflect the consumer experience. There’s a compelling case for this, but there’s another way of looking at it too…

What if the answer is not just about how the service desk can improve, but more about replacing it with a different model altogether? Historically we’ve talked about SIAM in the IT world (Service Integration And Management, in case you’re not familiar with the acronym).

Under the SIAM model you would bring in services from external providers and then manage each of those providers mostly independently. But service orchestration goes further than that. It’s about tying together services and assets from multiple vendors and everything else that makes up the IT ecosystem in a relatively seamless way. Could it spell the death of the service desk as we know it? Maybe not, but it definitely makes them less relevant in the shape we know them now.

The need for speed

With SIAM the focus is on individual service level agreements (SLAs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) for each vendor, and how they all come together to deliver a full service to end users. But with service orchestration you’re looking at both the technologies and processes you’re bringing in from external providers and how you can integrate them in a seamless manner. It behaves more like a loosely coupled ecosystem. The provider has very little guaranteed business and the client has the ability to move assets and services around much more quickly.

As I mentioned earlier, agility is crucial to survival in the 21st century commercial world. I believe service orchestration affords you much more of it than the old SIAM model ever could.

Think of it like this: in the SIAM world the service desk was the central point or fulcrum through which all services passed through. It sat in the middle and brought together all the different services in the business. But in the service orchestrated world the overall orchestration strategy becomes the fulcrum. It’s less about individual SLAs and KPIs and more about the overall services being consumed.

Business services over IT services

The way companies engage with customers and the way people work internally is evolving. Companies don’t want IT services any more – they want business services. This has been one of the biggest drivers towards what I see as the end of the service desk as we know it. A move away from traditional SIAM towards a service orchestrated world.

It means tying up all the elements that make up the IT ecosystem to deliver a business service to the organisation, and service orchestration is the most effective way to achieve that. All of this reflects the changing role of the IT department. It’s no longer about driving down costs and fixing problems – it’s a business-critical function that has the power to impact the top-line and enable new revenue channels while optimising spend due through efficient service orchestration.

The rise of the Chief Orchestration Officer?

I’ve often heard chief information officers (CIOs) talk about the changing nature of their roles and felt they could more accurately be described as chief integration officers.

Think about it: the CIO of today has moved on from being the person who provides the services to the business through a limited set of vendors. He or she now has the job of fitting together an integrated ecosystem from many different providers. But I think the role could continue to evolve as we go beyond integration and further into orchestration.

Five years from now internal IT will be about consuming the very best of all the different services out there. IT as a service, touted as the next big thing for a long time now, will finally come to be. But it won’t be in the form of the traditional outsourced IT model… I see the IT department becoming more of a procurement function, working to create a loosely coupled IT ecosystem across a huge number of vendors in a way that allows business to pick and choose services at speed when they need them.

And so I’ll come right out and say it: today’s chief information officer will become stronger as a chief orchestration officer!


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