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IT ecosystems are becoming ever more complex, and technological approaches are diversifying to match them. We now live in an era in which solving one need can spawn half a dozen more. As a result, acquiring, deploying and modernizing technology is a never-ending pursuit.

Organizations embrace agile hybrid IT strategies to enable faster and easier ways to deploy digital technologies. This creates a broader, more varied environment, with systems often supplied by a multitude of vendors and providers. This multisourcing model boasts undeniable benefits, such as agility, lower costs, standardization and greater innovation. However, it also introduces new challenges, including increased management overhead, fracturing of responsibilities and potential service gaps.

Multisourcing is built on a complex network of relationships. As a result, any Multisourcing Services Integrator (MSI) that provides Service Integration and Management (SIAM) must play a critical role in creating and maintaining a continuously-improving, adaptable, customer-centric, operationally-stable and innovative IT platform.

In a well-planned multisourcing strategy, an agency develops a supplier platform and a coordinated approach for it, also selecting an effective MSI to manage it. The platform should encompass the network of suppliers, the client itself and the client’s own end-users.

Five keys to MSI success

But what makes an MSI effective? When evaluating potential integrators, look for these five critical attributes:

  1. An IT service governance model that will evolve and ensure alignment of all stakeholders and the platform of integrated suppliers throughout the IT delivery supply chain. Think about it from the customer’s point of view. Federal agency leaders want carry out their business mission with the best-integrated technology solutions and services available. The MSI must understand and complement its client’s relational governance, advocate for the platform’s performance and capabilities, and facilitate the development of IT strategies that suit the business. Meanwhile, the MSI must simultaneously lead operational governance for transparent, inclusive, integrated operations and service management among suppliers.
  2. Organizational Change Management (OCM), a discipline that seeks to lessen the potential disruption of major changes through effective communications, transparency and stakeholder involvement. OCM is critical to implementing and sustaining governance. A move to SIAM comes with a significant shift that can bring changes to roles and responsibilities, while OCM enables suppliers and stakeholders to understand and embrace their roles in the platform as they evolve. People perform better, maintaining high morale, when they understand why changes are taking place. As a critical success factor due to the human element of IT, OCM must apply across all layers of an organization, from top to bottom.
  3. A proven approach for service management, with tools and best practices to support service delivery and reduce risk exposure. A modular, service-oriented and adaptable platform is essential to support an ever-changing technology landscape. The platform should automate IT Service Management (ITSM) collaboration, using standard ITIL® practices, and provide best practices from the public and private sectors. The ITSM tool landscape has been steadily evolving. ITSM tools like ServiceNow and BCM Helix ITSM provide a broad suite of integrated capabilities that provide the visibility, connectivity and automation required to more effectively operate a service integration and management program.
  4. Expert leadership team with deep experience in large IT projects, service integration and service management. The team must know how to manage complex implementations to ensure minimal disruption and a smooth transfer of services. This includes a strong background in IT infrastructure, outsourcing and systems integration, coupled with leadership skills for collaboration, innovation and flexibility. Align your OCM with an iterative and progressive model, such as Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), to provide structured, platform-wide methods for maturation and adaptability. Relational skills are also a key quality, to assure high and continuously-improving services among the ecosystem of suppliers. All of these meet essential needs to mitigate program risk and implement effective MSI processes and technologies. As CIOs invest in MSI SIAM, cultural change and new ways of doing business must take priority.
  5. Keen understanding of how to be effective in the client’s unique environment. The MSI is an agent of the client organization, seamlessly coordinating services among multiple suppliers with the client, and its customers and stakeholders. It must relate to the client’s objectives, risks and even its day-to-day distractions. Understanding the client’s nuances brings added insight, context and business knowledge to support the partnership. It also helps avoid past pitfalls while driving innovation, quality and agile service delivery. Look for an established framework of delivery excellence that encompasses strategy, governance, operations and technology.

When evaluating MSIs, keep these five key attributes in mind. Management, governance and OCM are essential for coordinating multiple sources, services and systems effectively.

HOW CGI can help

A single vendor can no longer support all of a federal agency’s IT needs; the well-established diversification of multiple vendors and solutions providers continues to grow. The MSI is becoming an increasingly critical success factor for organizations trying to maintain partnerships across their diverse ecosystems. In 2019, CGI was named the first-ever Scaled Agile® Global Transformation Partner, a distinction that demonstrates our expertise and commitment to enabling the digital transformation of our clients both in government and the commercial sectors.

For more insight into the value of OCM, read Kevin Greer’s blog, “Four keys to success in federal transformation projects.” You can visit CGI's MSI/SIAM page to explore our capabilities as an MSI.

About this author

Rick Gonzalez, CGI Federal

Rick Gonzalez

Vice-President Consulting Services

Rick Gonzalez is a vice-president in CGI Federal's Security, Assistance, Justice and Health business unit. He is an ITILv3 Expert pursuing a conversion to the ITIL 4 framework aligned to the ITIL Service Value System (SVS) from the Service Life Cycle of ITIL. Rick brings ...

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