How to assess your multi-vendor management maturity level

Bas van Roon
Bas van Roon

If your organisation finds itself operating in a multi-vendor landscape, it will undoubtedly have some capabilities already in place to manage the services of multiple suppliers. It could be that you yourselves are juggling the management of vendors or that you have another solution in place – such as a lead vendor taking on a management role.  

In either scenario, the typical setup of a multi-vendor landscape is a tower structure. Each tower (vendor) bears responsibility for their own agreed service using their own tools, processes and reporting systems. Meaning that managing this environment comes with many complexities. 

Service Integration and Management (SIAM) is a methodology that provides governance, management, integration, assurance and coordination to ensure organisations get maximum value from their service providers 

However, where and how you bring in SIAM effectively differs across organisations, based on what you already have in place. So, to truly unlock the benefits of SIAM, first, you need to understand your own situation in full.  

In this blog post, we’ll help you evaluate your multi-vendor maturity level and present different scenarios so you can see where you fit, and where SIAM can bring value to your IT organisation.  

 

What do we mean by ‘maturity’? 

Maturity relates to the degree of formality and optimisation of processes and capabilities that currently exists in your organisation. When we look at maturity, we focus on six key areas: People, Process, Tools, Data, Integration and Control. These degrees vary from ad-hoc practices to formally defined steps, managed result metrics or active optimisation and predictability of the output. 

These processes may well vary across service providers. One vendor may require limited controls and maximum flexibility, another may require more strict controls and a strong compliance posture. Just as individual vendor process will differ, so will their level of maturity. The SIAM capability is targeted at integrating and managing such varying levels of maturity and works to bring the maturity to a higher level where needed.  

 

3 common maturity scenarios 

If you’re not sure where your organisation fits on the maturity scale, see if you can see yourself in these three most common scenarios. 

1. Existing SIAM solution in place

It works but there is room for improvement. Most likely its a lead-vendor solution or you’re executing the SIAM role yourself. The SIAM roles and responsibilities are defined, and the processes are in place. The main indicator of there being room for improvement is assessing if there is a functioning Continuous Service Improvement process that delivers value for the busines and your IT customers. Typically, these SIAM functions run at a maturity level of 3 of 4 - where 5 was the sales pitch but never achieved. 

2. Partly existing SIAM solutionin place

One of the suppliers has a role in SIAM, or someone in the organisation has been given the role. In the case of a supplier, it’s most likely to be the party that provides the Service Desk function. There are some operational agreements in place and some processes to chase and manage incidents across the landscape.  

There are no formal agreements outside of the operational field. For example, no alignment between vendors for service and process improvements, integrations, automation, or to provide value. If it is not clear who is the owner of a problem, finger pointing starts and so do delays. If you have appointed somebody from your own organisation, he or she will be swamped, or lean heavily on one of the providers. This SIAM maturity level is 2 or 3. 

3. No formal SIAM solution implemented

There are some IT employees who try to make sure all the vendors cooperate with each other. There are no formal agreements on any level for SIAM roles, responsibilitiesmandates or processes. Every vendor is operating strictly in its own tower, as defined by contract. Meaning problems are (temporarily) resolved by timely escalation only. Contract management is in a constant state of high alert as costs are hard to control due to rework, costs for analysis and work outside of the contracts. A drive for innovation is non-existent, or at the very least, ad-hoc. This maturity level is 1. 

 

How to determine your maturity? 

In order to determine the SIAM maturity of your organisation, you need to have a clear view on the maturity level of processes, capabilities, and the related services. Here are the areas to look to start making this assessment.  

Documentation  review of available process related documentation, such as flows, policies, procedures, roles and education packages. You should look at: 

  • Documentation status – is it existent and up to date? 
  • Document ownership and controls 
  • Content and process quality/maturity 

Report – review of process execution related reports. Ask yourself: 

  • Are the reports sufficient to steer the process and do they provide sufficient flexibility for improvements? 
  • What is the process performance quality? Focusing on the level of integration with other processes and vendors   
  • When it comes to tooling architecture and data, is data being aggregated, correlated and analysed? 

Governance and escalation – review of the governance in the landscape. Areas of focus should be: 

  • Is there a SIAM or overarching governance structure concerning the involved organisations and is it adhered to?  
  • Are all (inter-)process touchpoints in place? 
  • Are all roles defined and appointed? Are the people in these roles safeguarding the governance and process structure to ensure it is followed by both their own organisation and internal and external suppliers? 

Existing capabilities – within your organisation certain capabilities are needed to execute SIAM successfully. The next chapter in this white paper will go into those skills and capabilities in detail. 

Stakeholders – ultimately these determine if your IT department is successful. Looking closely at each of these groups will help you understand their perception and priorities: 

  • Product owners 
  • IT customers, IT management and their regard of the performance of the processes and the services delivered by the processes 
  • IT vendors and their capabilities  
  • Supporting teams within the organisation itself 

With so many components to assess, evaluating your SIAM maturity level is no mean feat. However, it isn’t something you need to take on alone. At Fruition Partners, we take a hands-on, objective approach along the whole SIAM journey, from determining maturity to implementation to optimisation.  

Diver deeper into SIAM and how it can help you overcome the challenges of multi-sourcing, at every maturity level, download our latest whitepaper: Move to multi-sourcing harmony with SIAM

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Or, arrange a no-strings-attached consultancy appointment for tailored SIAM advice: consulting@fruitionpartners.nl 

This blog post belongs in the series: Move to a multi-sourcing harmony with SIAM