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October 2013

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Comments

Cary King

An interesting perspective.

It seems to me at this time that IT should consider the benefits of actively accepting a greater role than only acting as the steward of and operator of IT assets. IT seems to have more than a "fiduciary duty to explain why money was spent and what controls are in place."

It appears to me at present that IT organizations should consider the benefits to the organization and to IT of acting as primary expert agents and managers for providing ICT-related services to the organization; acting as prime contractor for all ICT-related services.

If IT acts as prime contractor and expert agent for the provision of IT services, then it seems to me that vendor management is a back-office, administrative backbone service to the other services within IT. Perhaps a centralized vendor management service that acts on behalf of the customer-facing relationship managers and "prime contractor" service (product) managers to manage all contractual and financial aspects of the vendor relationship?

IT already spends 40% - 60% of the budget just on IT Assets - bought hardware, software and telecommunications. In mature organizations this management service is already provided by a centralized vendor-facing IT Asset Management team that manages the logisical, contractual and financial aspects of the vendor-supplied the portfolio of items in close cooperation with corporate financial, purchasing and legal departments.

It would seem that a centralized organization within IT with excellent skills for managing the managed service provider contracts and relationships would be prudent.

As vendors and suppliers of managed services combine (HP, IBM) perhaps these groups should be consolidated into a back-office service provision organiztion?

I certainly agree that vendor-supplied services should be a subset of the service catalog. I imagine they need not, however, be identified as vendor-supplied.

It seems to me that all services might be considered to really be supplied by IT - no matter whom they subcontract to provide services. It seems to me that, acting as expert agents on behalf of the company, IT can make informed make/buy decisions. Perhaps we should consider that a simpler view might be that there are prime contractors and subcontractors.

I suppose it depends upon your view of service catalog vs. service portfolio - perhaps many of these service portfolio items are not eligible for a service catalog? Instead, we might want to consider the real need to include subcontracted items in a service catalog. I don't recall LL Bean showing their supply chain logistics to their customers in their catalog.

The list of "whole new set of processes" you describe doesn't seem that new. My perception is that most of those processes are already provided by IT organizations. It does seem true, unfortunately, that they are most often hidden as overhead.

IMO, it is time that IT consider the benefits of unbundling all the formerly hidden services to provide visibility to those internally subcontracted services as "corporate benefit." Those are the services for which they must pay as part of "club membership". Examples of these "club membership" services include "consumer reports" and standardization efforts that benefit the organization but distort the costs when applied in a catalog.

Perhaps by doing so IT can hope to help the business better understand the true cost of ICT services and achieve a more trusted perceived alignment with business goals.


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