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The label “two-faced” is normally seen as pejorative.

But that’s not the view of business service management vendors that have found allies in the integration and outsourcing sector. BSM makers now target those service providers as end customers and as a sales channel for their products. This dual role has sparked numerous conversations between software providers and services companies, some of which have resulted in alliances.

BSM vendors make products that monitor and manage IT service levels. Some industry executives view BSM products as a means for implementing IT Infrastructure Library best practices. Service providers offer a natural outlet for such products. Their managed services operations can use the product internally as a dashboard for managing outsourcing engagements. Their integration arms can sell the product to customers as part of a consulting or systems implementation engagement.

That’s the thinking at Managed Objects, which is providing its BSM software to Atos Origin North America Consulting and Systems Integration division.

The division embeds the software in its Service Cockpit, which Managed Objects said will provide a “single command and control point” from which to “monitor, manage and measure” IT services. The Service Cockpit will find use internally, keeping tabs on Atos Origin’s managed services contracts. But the software may also be deployed beyond the confines of its data center operations.

“We see this as a great opportunity … and the first step in building this out as a practice,” said Lou Migliorini, vice president of channel sales for Managed Objects.

Managed Objects has a similar arrangement with Computer Sciences Corp. In that case, CSC employs Managed Objects’ Formula product as the main software platform for its Innovative Service Transformation offering. That service lets customers track IT performance via a portal.

Managed Objects is discussing software deals with at least four other systems integration and outsourcing vendors.

Migliorini said 30 percent of the company’s business flows through integrators, outsourcers and other channel players. He said the company’s objective is to boost channel sales to 50 percent. “We really see [channel sales] as a requirement for a company such as ourselves,” Migliorini said.

A customer set that can both use and sell a product provides ample incentive to pursue the channel. And Managed Objects is not alone in taking that tack.

BMC’s systems integrator partners include Accenture, CapGemini, IBM, and Infosys Technologies.

What do integrators and outsourcing vendors get out of the BSM relationship? Time to market is one advantage. Services providers can leverage a packaged BSM solution as opposed to building a dashboard completely from scratch.

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And they can differentiate the foundation software, wrapping their own services and expertise around it, Migliorini noted. Atos Origin, for example, writes templates for service-level agreements “that they can go and drop right into an SAP or an Oracle environment,” he added.

Migliorini said service providers consider the BSM-based services—call them cockpits or dashboards—as critical to their success. In a crowded market, a customized tool for service monitoring and troubleshooting offers a point of differentiation.

“Their view is that outsourcers who don’t provide this type of service won’t be around much longer,” Migliorini said.

Lokesh Jindal, vice president of Business Service Optimization product marketing at Computer Associates International Inc., said Computer Sciences Corp. and Electronic Data Systems Corp. use CA’s Service Level Management (SLM) tool “which provides a dashboard view and reporting to manage their customers who have outsourcing agreements with them.”

EDS, for example, includes CA’s SLM product in its Center of Excellence dashboard, which Jindal said is EDS’ standard dashboard for displaying service status to customers.