In today’s world, IT is more and more viewed as a Service Provider. It provides services such as email, reporting, file storage… It is no longer about doing IT for the sake of IT; it is now about enabling the “business” to achieve its goals.
In many companies, IT did not have a good reputation: they were slow, expensive, inflexible and unwilling to change direction. Having been in those shoes for a long time, I can assure we had very good reasons to be that way: budget constraint, legacy systems to support, users that were not willing/able to learn new [complicated] systems…
But things are changing: IT is no longer alone. They now have the ability to provide the services without making all the upfront investments. A simple example for that is email: in the past email was something that you had on your desktop in the office; it connected you to the company email server. Then the Internet came and that email server got connected to the outside world. Then the BlackBerry came and brought email on the go. Nowadays, employees expect their email to be available from anywhere, on any device, thru a web browser and thru full feature clients. Option 1: overhaul the entire email infrastructure (once again), invest in web servers, find a security provider to protect from spam and viruses and try to keep up to date with all the changes. Option 2: negotiate with an email provider for the service your company need, make it available to users. This is the IT as a Service Broker model. It is still about IT using its knowledge of the business and the needs of its user to provide the service needed, it just happens that someone else is delivering it.
Bottom line, IT is now in an even better position to provide efficient/quality service to their users and they now have easier ways to do it. When something is strategic/customized/critical/different, providing the service on internal systems probably makes sense, but when something is a commodity or the when complexities faced are common within an industry, providing the service from an external source and acting as the broker may make more sense.