- With the emphasis on cost competitiveness and transparency, distinguishing features can quickly fall away in the cloud.
- Some providers respond by stepping up to strategic roles as chief advocates for their clients, aggregating services and supplying mechanisms to streamline provisioning and management.
In an environment where providers trumpet similar pricing models and comparable feature sets based on technology from common vendors, it can be hard to distinguish one cloud service from another. Enterprise IT decision-makers tend to select providers that have earned their trust through work in other projects. However, there is still room for rival providers to compete for new accounts by offering a compelling solution. The most savvy of these service providers recognize that a change as inherently complex a change as the move to the cloud presents opportunities for them to position themselves as strategic partners in guiding clients through this transition.
Telecom providers, in particular, are trying to expand beyond their traditional customer bases by taking a cloud-broker role. These providers aim as a primary point of contact for clients by acting as something of an arbiter of cloud services – often including third party solutions. Cloud brokers can function as service aggregators, supplying clients with a marketplace to procure the brokers’ own and others’ cloud services, and maintaining portal-based mechanisms that clients can use to provision services. Cloud brokers can handle orchestration, management, and all the support aspects of service delivery, including billing.
Of course, success in this arena is absolutely dependent on the provider’s ability to establish successful partnerships with the most innovative technology vendors, and other service providers, many of whom are traditionally competitors. The cloud-broker also needs to be able to step into the role of real partner to the end customer, demonstrating exactly how the relationship can benefit the enterprise. The payoff for the enterprise client comes not only in simplifying the transition to the cloud but also in having access to most flexible service options delivered on-demand.