Again, one of the overall themes of the New Style of IT is the explosion of suppliers of IT services. Historically this could be as basic as internet connectivity and voice services complemented by some amount of outsourcing. Now SaaS choices, let alone public cloud alternatives, are expanding daily. What does this mean to the IT Service Desk organization?
First, the biggest wins to managing suppliers more effectively are likely on the contractual side as opposed to the ITSM or service desk side. But, any improvements should make life more manageable to the IT service desk team and ultimately better for end-users. The general industry rule of thumb is that 10% of a contract’s value is spent on managing the contract itself. As the number of IT related suppliers expands, reducing this by single point or two can have huge impacts on the overall budget. And, contract management best practices are only nominally covered in recommendations such as ITIL.
Second, this general topic is commonly known as multi-supplier service integration (MSI) or service integration and management (SIAM). And there is more to this than I will cover in a single blog post. I would also recommend watching a good 10 minute video that provides an overview of SIAM and the cloud. Note - this video does have an added bonus of talking about HP’s Cloud Service Automation (CSA) new capabilities!
Third, what does this mean to the service desk organization? Here are some touch points:
- Another rule of thumb. As an IT organization moves beyond 5 different suppliers, taking a more structured approach to managing suppliers correspondingly becomes more important and provides more benefits across the board.
- Coordinating incident or problem management across multiple suppliers. Why is email down or a SharePoint slow? An end-user calls the central help desk dealing with a SaaS application issue that was procured by a Line of Business (LoB).
- Request handling / fulfillment. This has many related items such as a consolidated service catalog regardless of where the service is sourced or its components delivered which then touches topics of multiple related catalogs. And, IT wants to make a useful application generally available - that was originally procured a remote entity or LoB
- Change management that results in required tasks be executed by one or more third party suppliers.
- Service level management – contractual or implicit expectations across performance, availability, incident management, request fulfillment, change management execution, …
Fourth, what do I recommend? The service desk organization needs to become informed. These topics are not new. MSI has been part of the outsourcer dialog for years. As IT becomes a service broker in addition to a service provider, these topics will become increasingly important. I have attached a great whitepaper on the overall topic which is interestingly titled Succeed in the cloud with service lifecycle management. Of all the different papers that I've come across regardless the source, this is one of the best. Read It! I would also recommend checking out the HP Service Integration and Management (SIAM) services page.
Lastly, over the last 3-4 months I have bumped into this general topic more and more. It feels foundational and part of so many ITSM discussions. I lean towards being skeptical on IT buzz and potential fads; however, I lay odds that this topic area will soon be part of the mainstream service desk dialog.
As always, comments/questions are welcomed!
HPE IT Service Management Product Marketing team manager spanning our solutions for the service desk, asset mngt, CMS, and more. My background is engineering and computer science in the networking and telecom worlds. As they used to say in Telcom, "the network is the business" (hence huge focus on service management). I always enjoyed working with customers and on the business side of things, so here I am in ITSM marketing.