What is a SIAM Model

In the SIAM model , SIAM or Supplier Integration and Management is simply the framework for managing multiple suppliers of IT services that may be freestanding or integrated in order to present a single business-facing IT organization.

There are 3 distinct roles in the SIAM Model:

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  • The customer organization: this is the recipient organization that receives the services. The customer organisation will typically determine the strategy and chooses what type of work can or cannot be outsourced. It is usually the customer organization that contracts directly with both the Service Providers and the Service Integrator.
  • Service Providers: every internal or external party that is contracted to deliver a service to the customer organisation.
  • Service Integrator: responsible for the delivery of services and for reciprocal collaboration between service providers. (Not to be confused with the System Integrator)

Different SIAM Models

There are four SIAM Models which are widely adopted

  • Retained customer organization as SIAM – where a retained IT function within the customer organisation manages all suppliers and co-ordinates the SIAM function itself.
  • Single supplier – where a single Managed Service Provider provides all of the services (hosting, infra, app development and support etc) and the SIAM layer of management.
  • Service guardian – where an MSP provides the SIAM layer and one or more delivery functions – but not all, the MSP will still manage other suppliers.
  • Separate service integrator – where an MSP provides the SIAM layer and manages all the other suppliers but does not itself deliver any servcies to the customer organization

Each model has its pros and cons:

Retained Customer


  • Customer has full control
  • SIAM model always aligned to organisational goals
  • Risk and Compliance control tightened by internal governance
  • Customer maintains close relationship with all suppliers used to provision IT services.


  • Requires more skilled Service Management staff to be retained
  • Usually more expensive TCO (staff hiring, retention, training etc)
  • Risk that suppliers view SIAM function as customer rather than an IT delivery unit and fail to operationally engage.

Single Supplier


  • Potentially greatest cost benefit of outsourcing to a single organisation
  • Single point of escalation (one throat to choke)
  • Supplier will know your organisation and all of the IT projects in-flight at any time
  • Maintains close customer relationship throughout the IT supply chain
  • Easiest to adopt common goals and shared strategy


  • Greatest conflict of interest as Supplier is effectively managing it self
  • Highest compliance risk as supplier is potentially self-governing

Service Guardian


  • Benefit of outsourced pool of trained staff
  • Supplier has ‘skin in the game’ and understands the customer organisation


  • Some conflict of interest as Supplier manages itself
  • Potential for commercial tension with other suppliers that prevents full collaboration
  • Potential to weaken customer relationships with all parts of the IT supply chain

Separate Service Integrator


  • Specialist Service Integrators bring tried and tested methods and ways of working
  • No conflict of interest as Integrator does not provide any service


  • Requires strong contractual management to build skin in the game for the Integrator
  • Potential for other suppliers to view the integrator as hindering access to the customer organisation

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