Two years ago, Gartner analyst L. Frank Kenney predicted we'd see “cloud service brokerages," essentially companies that would serve as “cloud middle men” between service providers and organizations that want to use their services. These brokerages would handle the integration, security and maintenance details of the cloud for businesses.
A recent Connected Planet column suggests this may be an opportunity Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Communications Service Providers (CSPs) will explore, and the focus seems to be on providing integration.
Kenney didn't specifically mention the ISPs or the CSPs, and his focus wasn't solely on integration. He did see a more limited role for telecommunications providers in his description of the three different types of brokerage companies:
- Cloud service intermediation brokers, which includes companies such as AT&T or Verizon. They would sell services with add-ons, such as identity and access management tools.
- Aggregation brokers that would combine multiple services into one or more new services. Their added-value would be handling integration and other technical details.
- Cloud service arbitrages that would be similar to aggregation brokers, but would offer more options and flexibility.
I have to say, the Connected Planet piece makes a strong case for why communications service providers are in a prime spot to take on the role of cloud service brokerage and the integration issues that would be required to support this as a new market. Says writer Susana Schwartz in the piece:
Though companies like Boomi offer integration platforms direct to enterprises, there are many small- to mid-size business that would prefer outsourcing the delivery, management and operations to their telco—which they know and trust to do things 'better, faster and cheaper,' and in a multi-tenant fashion. � If service providers can mitigate demands on their OSS environments by leveraging third-party business process management (BPM) and integration platforms � they can allow enterprise customers to choose and onboard the applications while getting paid for providing the platform that facilitates integration.
Personally, I find it difficult to believe anybody trusts their telecommunications companies to do things “better, cheaper and faster,” but that's only because I've had one too many personal encounters involving bad connectivity and worse customer service. Maybe it's better when you're incorporated.
The article specifically cites a recent deal between BPM cloud company Intalio and Verecloud, which offers Nimbus CSB – a solution designed specifically for large communication service providers that want to offer cloud products and services to their business customers.
Russell Wurth, vice president of product management for Verecloud, points out that these communications companies already have a platform for integration of various cloud services. That would make it easy to add “data sharing, web conferencing and CRM capabilities from different vendors [that] could be offered in an ‘integration-as-a-service' offering,” he said.