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A service broker story that’s no fairy tale




By Sharon Eilon


Head, WW Strategy and Solutions, HP Software Professional Services


It’s human nature to look for an easy fix. In fairy tales the solution is often quite simple. With the challenges facing IT these days, you see a lot of solutions out there promising what really looks like a fairy-tale ending.


We know that enterprise IT needs to become a broker of services instead of trying to provide everything by itself. IT knows it, too. But we also know that in many enterprises, the business has already lost patience with IT and has turned to other service providers. According to one Frost & Sullivan report on IT sourcing, more than 80% of employees use one or more non-approved SaaS applications to do their jobs. [Tweet this] Is IT involved in this? Is IT brokering these applications? Probably not.


If becoming a true service broker were easy, every IT department would already be doing it.


IT is struggling to manage sourcing

Here are some hard truths. According to outsourcing research in Gartner’s 2014 key metrics survey, only 11% of respondents have mastered their approach to sourcing. The rest are struggling to manage multi-sourcing successfully.


Now, I don’t mean to imply there aren’t certain solutions that make managing services much easier. HP Propel, for instance, aggregates services into one catalog, giving business users an appealing, consumer-like experience. But having a great service catalog is only one part of it. The real question is: How do you rally the business and change people’s behavior to come back to IT?


It starts with governance

In HP Software Professional Services we’ve worked with a number of customers to evolve the way they manage and deliver services. To go from building services yourself to managing services from multiple vendors is a transformation journey for IT. We’ve developed a service integration and management (SIAM) approach, and what makes it so effective is our emphasis on management of organizational change and governance.


Governance is what makes it possible for IT to become a service broker. This is the upstream work of getting key stakeholders involved and delivering an internal mandate at the executive level.


In short, the CIO needs to get everyone board. You start with a steering committee of people who need IT to work better and you have the conversations around portfolio management, procurement, rules of engagement, funding decisions, performance metrics, expected returns, and so on. What projects are you going to run and which will not get greenlighted? What will you source, how will you source it, and why? After you’ve established the governance layer then you can look to software and processes to enforce it (I’ll write more about this in my next post).


Demonstrate these 3 capabilities

As you’re working through the governance component of SIAM, keep in mind these three things that IT needs to be able to demonstrate in order to be credible as a service broker.


  1. The service broker role needs to be attached to the bottom line,  and it needs to have some kind of transparent service costing so that you can say, “Look, we’re saving money.”
  2. You have to demonstrate some benefit to the LOBs. There needs to be benefit for the line of business beyond what they have today. IT’s role as a service broker needs to ease their life instead of making it more complicated.
  3. Lastly, speed. You have to demonstrate speed of reaction and delivery, otherwise you won’t be credible.

You can read what Frost & Sullivan wrote about our SIAM approach in this executive brief, The New IT: Managing and Delivering Services in a Multi-Vendor Environment (registration required).



Sharon Eilon.JPGSharon Eilon is Head of WW Strategy and Solutions for HP Software Professional Services. Follow him on Twitter at @EilonSharon.


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