Over the past two decades, the role of Information Technology (IT) has changed drastically, thanks to the powerful, unstoppable march of digital transformation \u2014 with most organizations employing disruptive technologies to innovate across products, services and business models. No longer is technology simply a business enabler, but it has itself become a critical value proposition and revenue source.\nDue to the fast-paced change of the business landscape, digital capabilities must now be delivered at a rapid pace. And no longer is the technology ecosystem controlled by IT \u2014\u00a0instead, according to the most recent Harvey Nash\/KPMG CIO Survey, one out of 10 IT decision makers said that over 50% of their firm\u2019s IT spend was controlled by or managed outside the IT function.\nAccording to Marc Snyder, \u200emanaging director with KPMG in the U.S., these trends are rendering the traditional \u201cdesign-build-run\u201d operating model for IT to be less relevant. A next-generation IT operating model, originally discussed by KPMG in 2014, focuses on three new and essential roles for IT: Broker, Integrate and Orchestrate. In a new report, KPMG takes a closer look at the broker role, in which IT must act to help their business partners understand available technology-enabled opportunities \u2014 such as to participate in industry ecosystems and to evaluate implications including technical readiness, supportability, privacy and security.\n\u201cThe full soup-to-nuts internal IT shop is moving toward a world more integrated with outside solutions,\u201d he explains, but those in marketing, sales or product development can\u2019t spend their time understanding technology opportunities and the implications for the business, and how something like cloud solutions fit into the big picture. \u201cHaving a tech-savvy party that\u2019s looking out for the company\u2019s best interests and helping explain the challenges of integrating new solutions to existing systems to them is useful,\u201d he says.\nAll three aspects of the Next-Generation IT Operating Model \u2014 the broker, integrate and orchestrate roles \u2014 require new positions and skills, leading some current IT positions to evolve while others may be reduced or even eliminated. For the broker, key roles that evolve include the business relationship manager, who works closely with business unit leadership to educate, facilitate and measure performance; enterprise architects who develop a pluggable architecture, simplify and standardize, and design for resiliency; and agile developers who assist with proof of concepts and develop prototypes.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\nThe Broker: Three Major Priorities\n1. Proactively engage the business in a partnership and shape demand\u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0 \u00a0\nIn the broker role, it is important for IT to facilitate development of an enterprise-wide integrated digital business strategy, working as a consultant and trusted advisor to the business. To accomplish this, IT needs to work cross-functionally to simplify and digitize business processes wherever possible to gain efficiencies and agility.\nFinally, IT helps shape technology demand, by working closely with key business stakeholders to understand the organization\u2019s strategic and tactical needs, and map them to existing services in the current portfolio whenever possible, or source the most appropriate solution.\n\u201cThis is where the business relationship manager has to get out ahead of the curve and understand what the business needs to make it successful,\u201d says Snyder. \u201cYou can\u2019t be an observer from the sidelines, you have to be at the table with people in the business and understand what drives success and value.\u201d\n2. Leverage emerging technologies to drive innovation \n\u00a0The broker serves as an important advisor to the business to help it understand emerging technologies and ecosystems, and how they may be leveraged to create new opportunities for innovation in products, services, business models, and customer experience to gain competitive advantage.\nTo succeed here, IT needs to maintain an R&D capability with dedicated funding to discover and gain experience with emerging technologies and services, and assess their potential usefulness within the business. This should include an innovation lab where cross-functional teams representing IT and its business partners can test out new technologies.\n\u201cOrganizations are looking at IT to apply creativity to help the business understand how they might apply emerging, and emerged, solutions to their business \u2014 whether it\u2019s IoT or robotics or biometrics,\u201d says Snyder. \u201cIt\u2019s up to IT to help inspire and innovate around these technologies.\u201d \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\n3. Promote and manage a solutions portfolio \nOne of the things that many IT organizations have not been good at in the past, says Snyder, is creating a clear catalog of services that the business can use and understand what IT can do to help them in these various areas.\nTo that end, the broker role includes serving as a facilitator to match business needs and service options. The IT broker leverages its knowledge of business strategy, business processes, and market offerings to assist the business in selecting the most appropriate products and services to meet its requirements, wherever possible choosing standardized services rather than unique, customized approaches.\nOvercoming Challenges of the Broker Role\nOne of the most important obstacles to overcome in implementing the broker role, says Snyder, is education. \u201cA primary business complaint is that IT doesn\u2019t understand their business and what drives value,\u201d says Snyder. One way to start to address this is through co-location: \u201cThis gets IT folks up close, physically close, with their business stakeholders as opposed to sitting in a location physically remote from the business,\u201d he explains. \u201cThe proximity helps IT get educated and more deeply understand the needs of the business.\u201d\nIn addition, these efforts can help IT overcome some of the natural tendency to get wedded to existing solutions. \u201cIT may say, \u2018We already have some great solutions, why would you need to look at something outside?\u2019 \u201d he says. \u201cInstead of always looking at building something internally, IT also needs to help the business look at new creative solutions. It\u2019s a balance.\u201d\nAs a first step toward implementing the broker role, KPMG\u2019s report, Next Generation IT Operating Models \u2014 Part One: Broker, recommends beginning with an assessment of your current staff and skills against the requirements of the broker role, and conducting a gap analysis.\u00a0 Next, assess your current emerging technologies and innovation capabilities. Do you have in place the expertise, dedicated resources and separate funding to evaluate disruptive technologies and their impact on your industry, business model(s), products and services?\u00a0\nWe will explore the \u201cIntegrate\u201d role of the next-generation IT operating model in-depth in Part Two of this two-part blog series.