The cloud is often touted as the answer to all our problems. It offers countless possibilities, from increased agility and reduced costs for enterprises, to a revenue lifeline for service providers as they take their first steps to becoming a cloud broker.
The cloud broker model can give service providers the chance to avoid commoditisation by repackaging their own offering together with cloud services and selling these on to customers. But cloud brokers beware, there’s a risk of being a jack of all trades and master of none. It’s crucial to ensure that a cloud offering is designed to meet the needs of a specific market.
Serving the needs of SMBs
For telcos with access to a large number of customers in the SMB space, the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) broker is the best way to go. This allows telcos to leverage their broad customer access and sell SaaS applications to SMBs in addition to their carrier portfolio. SMBs will not only expect consolidated provisioning and billing but also an aggregation of services and federation of data across multiple SaaS applications provided by the broker.
The enterprise approach
Enterprises seriously moving to cloud infrastructure require a mixture of multiple cloud infrastructure services, very likely from multiple providers. Systems integrators (SIs) and dedicated cloud infrastructure providers will get the most out of becoming Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) brokers. Providing dynamic sourcing across public, virtual private, and private clouds, this broker model leverages temporary spare capacity on-premise and combines it with spot price offerings of virtual private or public cloud providers.
Cloud infrastructure offerings vary by reliability, price, local presence of data centres, legal compliance, performance, and many other characteristics. SIs can retain or establish a long-lasting customer relationship with these enterprise buyers by offering the full portfolio of their own cloud services and reselling public cloud IaaS from others. Infrastructure broker services add a unique value and make the multi-provider portfolio consumable.
A unified future
It is possible that a single company might deliver multiple cloud broker models, as a ‘unified cloud broker.’ A sophisticated business process-driven provisioning framework, which supports the dynamic sourcing of both infrastructure and SaaS applications, would obviously provide a huge synergy for providers looking forward to a unified cloud broker.
Leading technology vendors and their ecosystem of partners are getting ready to deliver this spectrum. However, it takes a cloud provider at least a year to merge discrete broker services into a unified cloud broker business model and technology stack. This is one reason that we are yet to see any unified cloud broker offerings on the market. But watch this space, it won’t be long…