Practically speaking… To ‘know’ and ‘to know’… About gained knowledge from SIAM

To ‘know’ and ‘to know’…

To know, is to know that you know nothing, that is the meaning of true knowledge” rightly said by Socrates.  Practical knowledge and theoretical knowledge are both important phases of learning and both of these can happily be gained from reading the Service Integration and Management (SIAM) Professional Body of Knowledge (BoK).

As one of the Lead Architects of the SIAM Professional BoK, one of the elements I am most proud about is the practical nature of the content.  Of course, best practice guidance books are designed to give general advice, advice to be tempered with considerations of the specifics of an environment or circumstance and in this regard, the BoK is no different.  The publication is largely SIAM ‘common sense written down’.  Specifically, it focuses on guidance for considering a move to a SIAM model and as such it is full of core principles, defined approaches, suggested considerations and guidance.  Above and beyond this though, the real value I believe comes from the wealth of real world experience, anecdote and examples included.  It is this practical guidance based on the experience of over 40 global experts which really brings the content to life!  I want to talk a little more about some of the great examples you can read in this publication.

The stories

The BoK contains many different stories: stories from experienced multinational companies, stories from small start-ups, tales from practitioners detailing disasters and successes, legal battles, cultural issues and a whole lot more.  As well as those shorter examples there are some full case studies too; warts and all descriptions of the good, the bad, the obligatory and the virtuous encountered when implementing a SIAM model.

For instance, there’s the good news story about staff treated well even when losing their jobs to an outsourcing decision.  After being sold to a larger organization, the company’s IT, which had been wholly insourced, moved to a SIAM model using the services of a renowned service integrator, based in India.  This external organization took over responsibilities for the service desk and the service integration role.  The story talks about efforts invested in a fair and lengthy transition process which culminated in the loss of jobs (no one wanted to move from the UK to India).  Whilst this was a negative outcome for the staff, it also provided some fantastic opportunities to travel and gain new skills and cultural experiences, assisting with the transition to the new model.  The transition went well, largely due to the involvement and participation of the incumbent staff.  Although incumbent staff were unhappy to be losing their jobs, they also acknowledged the company’s care in handling the situation.  They spoke favourably about the experiences with their previous employer, helping it to maintain a good market reputation within the UK.

Then there is a not so happy scenario, which demonstrates the suspicion, silo working and distrust that can prevail in a multi-provider environment.  In this instance an external service integrator requested that all service providers submit copies of their process documentation, role descriptions and performance metrics as part of a transition to a SIAM model.  There was no context given for how this information was to be used (which was in order to create integrated process models).  Initially, all the service providers refused; The service integrator was considered to be a competitor and the service providers’ process documentation, role descriptions and individual contract details were considered ‘commercial in confidence’.  It took many weeks of relationship building and lengthy conversations to form sufficient trust for the service providers to fully contribute to the process model design and release the required information.  If the project had set up appropriate governance and communication to handle these sensitivities, this challenge -and the delay it caused- could have been avoided.

Within the BoK there are also call out boxes of advice, guidance on tips for establishing collaboration, flexing measurements, awareness campaigns, maintaining morale and even some very specific advice on areas like GDPR and country specific people considerations when displacing staff.


It would be impossible for me to explain the full gamut of what is in the SIAM Professional BoK.  This blog is really aimed at alerting you to the fact that it isn’t a big fat theoretic text book, although it is rather large.  Using both practical and theoretical information means that every type of practitioner will benefit from this BoK, whether new to SIAM (and keen to understand the principles) or already SIAM aware (and looking for more hands-on guidance).

About the author: Michelle Major-Goldsmith

Michelle Major-Goldsmith Manager, Service Management Capability, Kinetic IT.

Michelle Major-Goldsmith is originally from the UK but is now based in Perth, Western Australia. She has over 25 years industry experience and has worked in almost every continent across the globe. Originally from a social sciences background, Michelle crossed over into IT with a Master’s Degree in Computer Based Information Systems.

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