Is Integration-as-a-Service the IT Model of the Future?

By Stephanie Overby, CIO |  IT Management, outsourcing

Process maturity is not a one-step formula; it is a method of approach to maintenance--constantly realigning and testing in a changing environment. A well-documented contemporary service management manual is critical to maintaining alignment among all the parties.

Who is best positioned to offer multi-sourcing integration services for enterprise IT? Service providers? Consultants? And is it important that the integration provider is independent and not providing an actual IT service?

It is beneficial to have an integrator that is both knowledgeable and experienced providing the component services. Sourcing advisors can help clients develop deal structures, but it's the service providers that have experience delivering market-based enterprise IT services and are best positioned to provide Integration-as-a-Service.

The integrator can be one of the IT service providers; however, to optimize the model and benefits of the third-party 'independent auditor,' we recommended that the service manager only provide the integration services.

Clients may start down the path multi-sourcing service integration deal structure by restructuring existing agreements to carve out the MSI role and still have the incumbent provider provide service integration and component services. But over time, we recommend that the integrator be independent to perform oversight functions such as process compliance, service-level management, and bill reviews.

How does this work in terms of deal structure? Does this get the IT leader get back to the place of "one throat to choke" when things go wrong?

Accountability and service responsibility have moved from one entity controlling a process to a series of entities--both within a client environment and among service providers--working closely together to ensure a client's needs are addressed. The role of a facilitator requires all parties to think through what this means in terms of performance, reporting, proactive maintenance, responsiveness, as well as who will coordinate addressing problems.

In general, the multi-sourcing integration service provider is responsible for delivery of end-to-end services to the client and thus owns the day-to-day client management interface role. The service component providers play a critical role in the provider-client relationship as they have direct touch with the end users on a daily basis and participate with the integrator as needed in management meetings. The balance of roles and responsibilities is key. Both the integration provider and component providers participate in governance and have active client relationship management responsibilities to ensure customer satisfaction.

What are the biggest mistakes you've seen in implementing a multi-sourcing integration service layer.


Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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