How Can IT Transition From a Systems Integrator to a Service Broker

Edward Newman By Edward Newman August 25, 2016

In my last blog, I set the stage for the IT Transformation Storymap and provided an overview of what it means when we talk about IT Transformation today. In this post, I will further discuss how IT must transition from being a systems integrator to being a service broker.

Many IT organizations are faced with the challenge of remaining relevant to the business, because if they don’t the business will go ahead and find a new provider. This can lead to shadow IT and dissatisfied customers.  IT becoming a service broker allows a business to get the services they need from the provider that it makes the best business sense to source from.  For many of these services, the best provider will be their internal IT organization. For others, it might be providers from outside the firewall.

IT not only needs to become a service provider, but it also needs to provide access to other providers utilizing the same processes, policies, and procedures regardless of quotewhere services are being sourced from. We now have the ability to deliver services in this fashion regardless of what infrastructure they’re being provided off of with enablers like vCloud and vCloud Enabled Service Providers.

To combat shadow IT, sometimes IT needs to provide access to services that are being delivered from outside of the data center, simply because it makes business sense from a cost, functionality, or compliance perspective to do so. EMC has advanced cloud suitability platforms to provide an understanding of what applications can optimally run where and therefore boost operational efficiency.

IT as a Service Broker is a more concrete concept than IT as a Service.

You can’t measure “I’m ITaaS today,” but you can measure “I’m acting as a Service Broker.”

That’s another reason why this is so important. The key is to understand what workloads can live where and which service providers the business should be granted access to. The concept is that you want to define the policies and blueprints before you go out and start matching those to service providers.

7071545621_1c0e40613dIn order to be able to do that, you need to first have a solid understanding of the applications and workloads you need to run in your environment. What this calls for is an application inventory, and an analysis of those workloads. That is the context you operate within from an IT perspective: what you build, who you partner with, and what you stop doing.

You now have this concept of being able to provide access to multiple providers, utilizing the same policies and processes. You can also now take a look at, for each workload, what the business justification is for running them wherever. You’re also cutting down on shadow IT because, for example, if it makes sense to move something off to Amazon Web Services, you’re going to do that while still applying your own policies and processes. Everything from IT as a Service Broker comes through one portal. In order for this to be successful, you need to have that unified portal that is reflective of everything in the service catalog and a group of service providers who are capable of delivering according to your policies and processes.

imagesThrough performing an analysis of your application portfolio, you will identify what blueprints need to be built. Once you have those blueprints and understand them, you can start lining them up against internal and external providers, and you’ll have an understanding of what capacity you need from those various providers. You’ll also understand if you have the ability to move workloads where they need to go.  This then tells you what you need to build in terms of a software defined data center, which happens to be the topic of my next blog.

To learn more about the services EMC offers to enable clients to become a broker of services to the business, click here.


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3 thoughts on “How Can IT Transition From a Systems Integrator to a Service Broker

  1. Hello Ted, becoming a service broker is really important for IT, especially as it relates to shadow IT. Shadow IT presents a dual threat, the first being obvious as you pointed out, but the subtle threat is what shadow IT leaves behind. In many cases shadow IT builds systems and applications and then throws it over the wall to have IT run them, while the shadow makes changes over time. Eventually as the shadow application reaches a level of maturity, investment interest fades, and then the application becomes a “legacy” for IT to manage as best as possible, usually with little documentation or context. This creates an increasing burden on operational expenses to “keep the lights on”.

  2. Ted, great article. One thing I think we can do is to embrace shadow IT and learn frrom them. If we have shadow IT is likely we arent providing a service to the business they want. So if we can learn from them and help them do what they are doing while maintaining compliance, thats a great step for IT.