Enterprise IT organizations can no longer think of themselves as technology managers and consultants
The information technology profession is going through a fundamental change in purpose. Until recently, IT groups acted as technology gatekeepers, evaluating and selecting products and services for use in the enterprise, with some input from customers. This IT paradigm is shifting, and customers are beginning to make technology decisions on their own.
It’s not uncommon to find users bringing personally-owned devices to work and choosing to use technologies that are familiar, and that allow them to get their jobs done most effectively. It’s not just the employees that are “bringing their own” technologies to the workplace, but business units and business leaders are also making technology decisions, sometimes bypassing IT altogether. This behavior has become so pervasive we’ve historically referred to it as “shadow IT” – but it may be time to revisit this moniker. Perhaps “Business Technology” is a better way to describe this new reality.
The bottom line is that IT organizations can no longer think of themselves as technology managers and consultants. Instead, they need to embrace these trends as realities and use them as opportunities to help their customers meet their business needs in the most effective way.
IT professionals and organizations must transform from traditional service providers into flexible IT service brokers. To do this effectively new skills and tools are needed in your service portfolio. Understanding your costs, quality, and ultimately the value of technology alternatives is paramount for future success in this new world.
What is IT Service Brokerage?
IT service brokers provide strategic expertise and counsel to customers regarding their technology choices and how those choices will support their business objectives and outcomes. They manage a service portfolio that includes both internally delivered services and offerings from providers outside of the enterprise. Brokers act as architects, strategists, and integrators across the range of available technology services and options. They serve as technology investment sherpas for business leaders, helping them select and manage a set of services that effectively meet business requirements while minimizing cost.
IT leaders must recognize that when they operate as brokers, they are entering a competitive marketplace consisting of many other service provider options, all of which would like to establish direct relationships with business units. Forrester Research states that business units “will expect the same level of agility and transparency of the CIO-owned broker services as they do from an external cloud provider and broker service.” This means that ITdelivered technology and support must be competitive in terms of cost and quality output (e.g. value) when compared with external providers.
The value that an internal IT organization brings to the service brokerage model is the natural alignment of interests with their business partners. IT leaders must become true business leaders – serving as their organization’s trusted technology partners. Business unit leaders are in desperate need of this expertise and counsel. To do this, you need more than technical aptitude and business acumen – you need to have a basic understanding of the costs of different technology options (both internal and external), what the output of those investments are, and what business outcomes you are enabling as a result of your technology investments.
Learn more about Technology Business Management (TBM) tools, and how you can take the necessary steps forward to becoming a Business-Technology leader and IT Service Broker.
Coming up next: Acheiving Cost Visibility and Measuring Results.