Integrated Service Management

Integrated Service Management

Abstract

Integrated service delivery refers to a number of service providers working together to collaborate and coordinate their support, services and interventions to Customers. The focus of such delivery models is generally on end Customers, or Customer target groups, who have complex needs that cannot be met by playing by their strength. The strengths may be local presence, best of breed services , additional capacity and customer confidence , Low cost and high efficient proven services and statutory requirements . Some services however may be one time, but more typically, there will be a system developed that enables multiple service providers to meet or communicate and jointly refine & streamline value streams, and to provide ongoing coordination with common end goals and objectives. The primary purpose of integrated service delivery approaches is to improve outcomes for Customers. How this is achieved, and the factors that are important, will vary according to the service settings, service provider capabilities and specific needs of the Customers. In this document integrated service delivery and management is synonymously used as the standard industry term SIAM (Service Integration and Management).

Integrated Service Management

Integrated service delivery refers to a number of service providers working together to collaborate and coordinate their support, services and interventions to Customers. The focus of such delivery models is generally on end Customers, or Customer target groups, who have complex needs that cannot be met by playing by their strength. The strengths may be local presence, best of breed services (Like Services of Penetration testing), additional capacity (Example is taking members from external vendors for services like Testing) and customer confidence (Customer is confident on BI Services of some specific Service Provider and may insist to include in the set of on the specific service providers) , Low cost and high efficient proven services and statutory requirements . Some services however may be one time, but more typically, there will be a system developed that enables multiple service providers to meet or communicate and jointly refine & streamline value streams, and to provide ongoing coordination with common end goals and objectives. The primary purpose of integrated service delivery approaches is to improve outcomes for our Customers. How this is achieved, and the factors that are important, will vary according to the service settings, service provider capabilities and specific needs of the Customers. In this document integrated service delivery and management is synonymously used as the standard industry term SIAM (Service Integration and Management).

Some of the major parameters include:

  • Improving communication between service providers to monitor progress of customer’s business and Operational changes and be more responsive to these.
  • Identifying areas of duplication, working at cross-purposes, or what is creating confusion for Customers about who is doing what. In other words, customer should always know who is the one person or team that is accountable
  • Developing one Integrated Plan for the Customer which includes the work being delivered by all providers with full clarity on individual and end goals, deadlines, SLAs, KPAs and other parameters. The integrated plan may also include actions and responsibilities the Customer agrees to do.
  • Building understanding and capacity between the service providers – Establishing the common understanding and practices in such a way that the services will be ensuring the one brand of services and enable all the service providers work together consistently, more effectively collaborate with each other in their service delivery. Some examples include
    • Arranging visibility and access to all practice frameworks to adopt and follow
    • Documenting and making aware of legal and funding limitations
    • Visibility to End SLAs along with individual SLAs along with the visibility to the progress of dependent tasks to adjust the timelines and meet the end date collectively
  • Identifying Setbacks and system issues that may result in to issues for the customer, and for services in their efforts to meet Customer needs. The model must accommodate identification of Customer groups or requirements that may come under function and system gaps. The mechanism should be in such a way that such issues are brought to the notice of the sponsors and decision makers so the right team from customer can address the gaps.
  • · Development of robust and clear process that helps assess the progress and performance of services in all the value streams with visibility to the customer

Definitions

      • Stakeholder: The person or the body which is impacted by the decisions taken and the services that are performed
      • KPI:Key Performance indicator. In the context of this document, the metric that measures the performance of the entire service group as well as the individual service provider as part of the Integrated service delivery model.
      • SLA: Service level agreement. The level of service agreed under different possible circumstances are defined as SLAs. Usually it is combination of response and resolution times against each issue, possibility of impact and criticality of the issue.
      • Service management: The body responsible for managing the delivery of IT services from within a Service Provider, as described in the core ITIL publications.
      • Service provider: An organization or team providing one or more specific IT based services to the business. It can be either internal or external to the business organization.
      • Service integration: A set of practices and an accompanying model and approach that adapt and augment the guidance for managing, governing, and coordinating the delivery of services provided by multiple suppliers (internal and external to the business organization and integrated service Provider’s team & partners).
      • Service integration and management (SIAM): SIAM has the same meaning as Service Integration. SIAM is a term that is used as an abbreviation for Service Integration and Management, and is also used to describe a service capability for Service Integration and Management, or a function providing that capability. Governance in this publication is the application of techniques for evaluating, directing and monitoring to deliver the agreed levels of service and meet business and corporate requirements.
      • Systems integration: SI function is responsible for getting solutions, differing technologies, applications and infrastructure to work together, with a focus on technology integration. Implementation of SIAM models often requires some element of Systems Integration, but it is important to understand the differences between the two definitions.
      • Tower: A set of services typically determined by technology type or by specific applications, provided by one or more suppliers, for example, a Mainframe Tower which provides applications that run on a particular mainframe technology. It is preferable in a SIAM context to use the term ‘service’ rather than Tower, as SIAM models can be applied to any grouping of services, irrespective of any technology.
      • Service line: The grouping of services under SIAM management and governance, grouped by either business function (Business service line) such as Retail or technology (Technology service line) such as Oracle TechStack. Defining and maintaining services, service boundaries and service lines is part of the key to effective SIAM.
      • Business: The organization that commissions the SIAM. This is not necessarily same as the customer who buys an IT service and may be a different organization to the one that pays for the SIAM.

Integrated Service Delivery Model – Most possible functions

Figure 1: Integrated Service Delivery

The integrated Service Delivery can have different types of models and components but most of the components irrespective of the model are depicted in the figure . The names and the way the functions operate may change but the essence of these function remain in most of the integrated service delivery scenarios.

      • Business Organization which is more or less synonymous with the customer who buys the services from this model and get the benefits.
      • Business Relationship Management
      • The process of building and maintaining the relationships between the integrated service delivery
      • provider, the business, and the end customers of the services.

Having positive and productive relationships with the business and the customers is crucial to effective Integrated Service Delivery.

Ideally the Integrated Service Delivery owner will have representation on the management board of the business. Some businesses choose to retain customer relationship management to themselves. In such cases, the precise responsibilities for specific activities with clear ownership, expected deliverables must be defined.

Service catalog and Portfolio Management is establishing the service catalog with details like the service offering, category / classification, description of the service, how is it executed, what kind of people execute the service, cost/ price of the service etc. In the current context, it includes the individual service providers the procedures of engaging them for specific service, SLAs etc.

Integrated Service Delivery Design

Define, Establish and continuously improve the Integrated Service Model from all aspects such as

      • Processes,
      • Policies,
      • Templates to follow (For consistency among all members of the integrated Service delivery),
      • Integration touch points across the value streams and the kind of information and format in which the data and information are exchanged,
      • Organizational structures,
      • Governance to study and accommodate new services and technologies after thorough analysis of the possible impacts,
      • Performance measures (KPIs/Metrics) at multiple levels and the design of service models
      • Change Management that can influence the Business, SIAM members engaged by SIAM provider and SIAM members engaged by Business

Information Security

All aspects of Security needs to be taken care in the scenario of integrated service delivery involving the teams from ISD owner, Participant Service Providers of the ISD and Business itself. Major aspects include Security design, security testing, Vulnerability and other risk assessments, Defect and event monitoring, Security assurance. A Security governance body set by the ISD owner is strongly recommended. This like in other cases, needs lot of collaboration and ownership from each service provider in the model.

Tools & technology Integration

The model must have a process to identify the right tool & technology for each or combination of services to be delivered, implement the tools and configure in line with the way the Integrated Service Model has to deliver the services using these tools and technologies

      • All tools and technologies needed to execute the processes under the purview of the SIAM provider
      • Automation tools and technologies per context (Falls under Process supporting tools)
      • Application and Service Monitoring and alerting tools
      • All Decision Support systems
      • Diagnostic tools to help narrow down the issues
      • Discovery tools
      • Security applications and tools
      • Reporting and Dashboard tools
      • Tools and Applications enabling Analytics

All these disparate tools and technologies influence the overall performance as a single integrated Service delivery model. Some of the considerations include “Individual Best of Breed” Vs “Well Integrated tools”, SIAM members expertize, Fitment to the Business Organization parameters including costs, integration features among the tools and technologies.

Biggest challenge experience by most of such engagements is the differences of opinion among the suppliers part of the model coming with their own tool kits of their comfort and experience. The consensus involves striking a balance, negotiation to accommodate what is good for the business, letting certain options agreed to keep the members motivated.

Business and Service Continuity

The Integrated Service Delivery model has to be designed in such a way that the business and service continuity is ensured. Business continuity has to be ensured by incorporating this flavor in all processes, tasks delivered. BSCP includes regular backups, common drills, multiple location based service delivery and other parameters. All such plan and execution needed proper design of the processes, implementation along with the collaboration from each of the service provider organizations.

Service Provider Coordination

The success of the model heavily depends on the coordination among all the service providers irrespective of their origin and relationship with the Business or SIAM Owner.

As highlighted in multiple places of this document, each of the Service Provider in the Integrated Service Delivery model must be fully aware of the end to end process, expected end outcome of the value stream and the impact of any deficiencies in the service on the end outcome. Incorporating such knowledge and capabilities to understand the overall process ensures the proactive steps and mistake proofing at every component of the process the individual service provider delivers. This is also mapped to the performance metrics to ensure sufficient rewarding and penalizing parameters included and executed.

Every Change Management must involve all the impacted and influencing members of the model to ensure the impact analysis is performed without missing any item. This also ensures the collective ownership.

The release management process must be integrated and agreed among the service providers. As highlighted in the Tools & Technology Integration Section, the model very likely works in Shared Services model with tools and technologies and infrastructure being shared among multiple stakeholders. The release process hence needs to be designed in such a way that the schedules and the process are known to the individual service providers and any deviations to be discussed, agreed and communicated to all impacted stakeholders.

The visibility of the demand across the service providers ensures their individual capacity plan as well as coordination among all the involved service providers to plan & meet the demand. The Release change control board representing most of the service providers ensures the conflicts are handled well.

Common Incident Management mechanism including the tools. Specific focus needed to determine the mechanism on incident management involving multiple service providers.

Working together on the common frameworks such as Continuous Service improvement, Application Simplifications as well as rationalization, Innovation initiatives, Automation opportunities.

Over a period of time, it is also recommended to get to cross skilling the members across the tools & technologies irrespective of the team belonging to other service providers to improve the collaboration quotient, effective service delivery and business continuity at times.

For example, when one location of service is hit by riots disrupting the service, the members in location not necessarily belonging to the organization of same service provider impacted by riots can take over the tasks to ensure the service continuity.

Knowledge Management

The Integrated Service Delivery Model needs to have this horizontal function of Knowledge Management for effective leveraging of the knowledge and information and avoid duplication and reinventing the wheels. The Process of creating, maintaining, making accessible all the assets and information to the stakeholders is critical. This also involves designing & managing the knowledge repositories with appropriate access rights according to relevance to all the stakeholders. While design aspects such as defining the taxonomy, designing the right meta-tags for quick and effective retrieval are important for effective knowledge management, the right content has to come from each of the stakeholders keeping in view that the content are viewed by multiple stakeholders and hence must be associated with more details than the creators of the content who are used to live with the content with lot of known background.

Major content included and maintained in the repository includes

      • Entire Documentation describing the processes, policies, and templates
      • User manuals, Idiot guides, Installation documents, Training documentation, Test scripts etc
      • Trouble shooters progressively documented per experience from every service provider
      •  Descriptions and illustrative diagrams of the services
      •  All touch points and interfaces for Services, both within the purview of the service provider and the overall value stream executed by multiple service providers
      •  All Operational data
      •  Performance reports for individual and end-to-end services
      • Key performance indicators for the services, the suppliers, and the Integrated Service provider.

Like in single service provider delivery, the service assurance is one of the key delivery aspect for health of the engagement. A typical set of measures to ensure the Service include:

      • Well defined SLAs
      • Regular Reviews and Audits internally as well as external to ensure effective review and correction actions at the process and project level
      • · Regular refinement of the Process based on findings from reviews
      • · Regular review of Service Provider performance
      • · Compliance to regulations, Standards and Processes
      • · Continuous service improvement and the progress

Key Success Factors

There are multiple Operating models to execute Integrated Service Deliveries. And the end to end ownership many times is driven by the Customer itself or a specific Service Provider who in addition to offering some of the services in the model, also takes the ownership to execute integrated service delivery.

      • Leadership Collaboration with focus on Outcome
        • Most of the hindrances in the system that lead to disadvantage to the customer are addressed when all the players in the model work in collaboration with clear understanding on the end results. To strike the balance, the SIAM provider may pick multiple representatives from the major service providers and Customer to form a team of decision makers. This group is expected to have the end to end understanding of the value streams to identify the bottlenecks, brainstorm and arrive at the solution, engage their respective teams to resolve the issues fully. The Measurement of such decisions and solutions is also clearly defined in measurable metric that reflects directly or indirectly the end result. The group also acts as the governance body to ensure proper execution and facilitates the changes through proper reviews, approvals and implementation.
      • Service Providers in regular collaboration
        • An ideal model is to have Integrated SLAs, Deadlines and metrics along with the individual targets. The collaboration among the service providers involved in a value stream is to be flexible to go extra mile when the integrated target needs to be reached irrespective of slippages in one component. This is same as the project management principle but the difference is that the members of the project or program or from different service providers and possibly some from the customer organization as well.

Collectively agreed Structure

The SIAM Provider sits with all the member providers including the providers from the Customer organization to analyse, review and carefully structure the common mission, goals, metrics and agreements on the expected outcomes. The focus is more on the establishment of the system that involves multiple service providers involving multiple disciplines (technologies as well as domain and process centric disciplines) , to provide the integrated service delivery. This includes

      • Agreeing on acknowledging and understanding the value chains. Irrespective of the individual scope of the service providers whether part of the SIAM Provider or directly engaged by the Business or direct member of the business organization, each service provider must understand the overall value stream and the end results while offering service to some portion of the value stream. It is possible for each of the service provider to execute the work within their KPIs and SLAs individually but still the end goal may have a slippage. The focus on direct deliverables as well as the impact to the end deliverable are utmost important to each service provider. Hence it is very important for the SIAM Service provider to ensure each of the Service Provider within the integrated service delivery model has thorough knowledge of the overall value stream (s). A simple example of Service to Payment is explained as below. The check points where SLAs are involved are highlighted in RED. There are multiple Service Providers involved in this Value Chain. When the Vendor A submits invoice, the Subcontractor (Vendor A) Delivery, Finance, Vendor Management and Bill Processing team do their part in the process of validating and releasing the Payment. Each team has their individual SLAs to complete their tasks. However there has to be an overall SLA from the Point the deliverables is completed by the Vendor till the payment is made. Each of the service providers irrespective of their individual SLAs must keep an eye on the overall SLA and meet the same as well. The performance of each member will be evaluated on the basis of response levels, completion time for each individual deliverable as well as the final outcome.
 
Figure 2: Value Stream Example
      • The portions of End to end service and the right service provider are identified against each service provider according to multiple dimensions such as but not limited to:
        • Expertize. The end to end owner of the integrated service delivery may not have working level expertize in some of the service areas, even though the organization may have enough experience and expertise to program manage those areas as well. Some organizations such as IBM work in such model where the entire program management is owned while the individual sets of services are performed by different service providers in integrated manner. Even some customer organizations such as CISCO and GE nurtured the expertize to drive the integrated service delivery with multiple vendor teams and the organization’s team itself to execute the programs in integrated manner
        • Local presence and ability to serve fast. Many times it is cost effective and efficient to engage the local players in one or more tracks to meet multiple purposes.

For example,

          • In countries like South Africa, the EXPAT costs are more than those incurred with the locally skilled people with the same quality of services.
          • Similarly in the same Country government organization have a policy of their service providers ensuring allocation of specific portion of work to the local companies in support to the country’s initiative of encouraging local growth.
          • The country and geography specific dynamics are at times handled well by local players and that can be one reason to accommodate such players in the integrated service delivery model
        • Special credentials such as Quality certifications, membership in statutory bodies to serve
        • Customer geography or government specific mandates: Some other times Customer may have a mandate to take the services from the providers having specific professional certifications or other credentials.
          • For example, TMMi certified organizations to provide testing services. Similarly government regulations force you as SIAM provider to engage service providers with specific credentials.
        • Government at times makes it mandatory to take the learning services from the only organizations that are having specific learning accreditations so that the customer gets benefits and refunds from the government on expenses incurred in training the people. In such case, the Major Service Provider of integrated service includes a member organization which has the learning accreditation to get the eligible benefits and meet the compliance
        • Customer confidence. Customer might have gained pleasant experience with the services of a specific service provider in a specific track and may insist on including the same service provider as part of the service group. There are many such experiences for even big SI organizations when they comfortably engage the partners of customer choice and execute the programs smoothly. However many cases, the SI organizations pick the partners as their subcontractors with proper back to back agreements rather than customer directly dealing with these favorite service providers

Example:

          • An East Africa based customer engaged a service provider to implement Enterprise Solutions consisting of ERP, Financial Planning and Budgeting Solution and Business Intelligence solutions. The Customer, based on the earlier experiences with one Service Provider of Business Intelligence (BI) Solutions, insisted their Integrated Service Delivery Provider to include the BI Specialist Provider even though the SIAM provider has their own army to implement the BI Solution as well.
        • Engaging the best of breed, specialist providers for specific service components. For example, performing security penetration tests in some of the critical projects. You may not need dedicated teams in your own service provider organization and can engage the services on need basis
        • Adhoc additional capacity. SIAM Provider may have their own team but adds capacity on need basis from external parties. For example, using a specialist provider of testing services to meet a peak in demand. In such cases the SIAM Provider may have the team of testing services to manage the base requirements and engage additional members from registered partners to handle the peak phase. Most of the cases such partners may not be included as part of the Integrated service delivery team and may chip in on need basis purely as subcontractor to execute specific tasks on adhoc basis. At the same time, depending on the frequency of need occurrences and the criticality of the services it is recommended to engage such members as part of the integrated service delivery by imposing entire end to end understanding and ownership of the end goals apart from the individual targets
        • Address gaps in capability and maturity for specific horizontal service components. For example, knowledge management specialist providers to cut across all the Value streams and disciplines and set up the knowledge management system through review of kind of knowledge areas, design the taxonomy, application of technology to create additional stability (such as routing the uploaded documents to right location in the knowledge repository based on the tags added to the document at the time uploading), Reporting, regular review and auto cleanup, metrics and MIS reporting.
        • Agreement on the Solutions and Frameworks. Brainstorming and deep dive to arrive at professional frameworks that ensures the individual service providers and their expertise and solutions are respected. Many times the give and take kind of approach without impacting the Business priorities is adopted with thoroughly reviewed change control for any deviation by established body under the governing framework. For example, a top 10 Fortune 100 US Conglomerate wanted a planning solution to execute all planning advices through a drag and drop graphical interface with entire visibility and simulation facilities before implementing the plan advices in to real Procurement, manufacturing orders. The Service Provider felt the best solution from Oracle Tech Stack that has many readily built-in components was suggested. However the agreed framework group suggested the technology of JBOSS and Java/J2EE as the underlying technologies to develop any browser based solutions. The teams reviewed and discussed with all options to keep the same technology stack and still develop the solution. After brainstorming on what are all the pros and cons of going for this one Oracle Technology as the one time inclusion, based on timelines, criticality of the solution and meeting all needed features, cost of the solution etc., the stakeholders finally agreed to go ahead with the Oracle technology based approach with major reasons that the service provider is very capable of executing the Oracle Solution and on the basis that the Oracle TechStack was fitting to the rest of eco system in which the rest of planning solution was lying.
        • Consensus with the Business as well. The Integrated Service Delivery is to meet the needs, priorities and the objectives of the business which consumes the outcomes. The model needs to be designed in such a way that the target customer groups are delighted. It is the business which must be convinced about having such model for the best results.
        • The SIAM Service Provider needs to align and get the support on the functions such as :
          • Enterprise architecture: The process of translating business vision and strategy into effective enterprise change by creating, communicating, and improving the key principles and models that describe the enterprise’s future state and enable its evolution
          • Program management: Managing a set of related projects that delivers a strategic goal in order to realize specific benefits, including managing realization of those benefits
          • Project management: Planning and organizing individual business projects to achieve specific goals
          • Systems integration: Getting solutions, differing technologies, applications, and infrastructure to work together, with a focus on technology integration
          • Commercial procurement: The coordination and management of buying goods and services, including the formulation, negotiation, and agreement of legal contracts
          • Business analysis: The capture and analysis of business requirements for new and changed services.

Conclusions

While we discussed multiple aspects of Integrated Service Delivery, the most important factor is the collaboration and collective metrics. All other aspects such as Model framework, Knowledge Management, Service Assurance, Service Continuity fall in place with collaboration and right outcome based metrics are established.

References

  • “An example ITIL®-based model for effective Service Integration and Management” by Kevin Holland
  • A Guide to Integrated Service Delivery to Clients by QCOSS publications
  • Experiences in MNCs

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