Tools of the Trade for Systems Integrators

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    Four Best Practices for Accelerating Time-to-Value of Master Data Management

    For many organizations, IT service management firms are the front-line soldiers when it comes to system integration work.

    Yet, I don’t often write about IT service management (ITSM), because honestly, I don’t see a lot of free discussion about them. After all, it is a very competitive and large market, even if you look only at IDC’s list of major players. It’s a market that is also full of small, niche players.

    Is it possible that ITSM might be a main market for integration vendors in the future? And, does that mean traditional IT departments might decide to just off-load even more integration work?

    A recent Ovum report by Tony Baer (registration required for download) seems to suggest so. The paper is really targeted to explaining why Informatica is a good choice for ITSM, systems integrators and other service providers.

    But it’s hard to argue against Baer’s assessment of the evolving situation: Cloud has changed the market for technology providers, and in particular, integration and other data management vendors, including MDM.

    Specifically, the cloud is allowing—and sometimes forcing—organizations to speed up implementation. In many situations, this means the business requirements will eliminate the whole “build versus buy” discussion.

    “With the cloud forcing the issue, business solution providers requiring data integration should consider OEM strategies (licensing non-core technologies) so they can remain focused on their unique value-add,” Baer writes.

    That’s true for vendors, as well as end-user organizations, and the report is actually focused on arguing why Informatica is well positioned to adopt “OEM partnerships” with systems integrators, independent software vendors and other service providers.

    That should be interesting, because when it comes to integration, it seems systems integrators have been living in a completely different vendor universe.

    The ITSM Review offers a look at some of the products and vendors that systems integrators rely on. The list does not contain one name that overlaps with rankings of mainstream integration players, such as IBM and Informatica.

    The Best in Class winner, BDNA, is a data as a service company that focuses on data quality.

    IT principal consultant Ros Satar of RFS Informative Solutions tested 10 tools for The ITSM Review’s Integration 2013 Group Test. What’s so special about these 10 tools? They offer solutions with capabilities specifically designed for IT service management companies, such as support services, pre-deployment set-up, and useful data to support ITSM.

    As an example, the Best in Class Integration Solution winner, BDNA, incorporates product data so systems integrators can fill in the knowledge gap on outdated, incomplete product and vendor data.

    When you consider that ITSM is often walking into a situation where internal IT probably doesn’t track that information, you can see why that’s key.

    BDNA is used by some heavyweights in systems integration, including Accenture, Deloitte, FyrSoft and SunGard Availability Services.

    Other integration winners:

    • Specialized Service Management Suites: ServiceNow
    • Systems Management Toolsets: Absolute Software
    • ITSM Value Added Tools: BDNA

    If you work in ITSM/systems integration, you’ll definitely want to check out the winners, as well as the individual reviews for each offering, but it also might be worth your time if you work in a traditional IT department and are considering off-loading integration to an SI or ITSM.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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