Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Destiny Bertucci, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Amitabh Sinha

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, Cloud Security, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

The New Era for Service Providers

Eliminating the cloud IT nightmare for users, SMBs and enterprises

In their March 2013 report "Business Technology Innovation," Ventana Research found that 40 percent of companies attributed cloud usage to reduced costs, followed by improved efficiency of business processes (39 percent).[1] Though the benefits of the cloud, like business and social collaboration, are clear, many organizations are having trouble seeing past the potentially overwhelming transition to the cloud. Most enterprises do not want a one-size fits all solution, which requires them to manage multiple relationships, negotiate multiple contracts, maintain multiple payments, remember multiple passwords all with multiple service providers. Maintenance is already a challenge, and by adding the complexity of transition, cloud computing can easily seem like an IT nightmare.

Cloud Adoption from Different Perspectives
Users are ready to make the transition
A "top-down adoption" is a process when the CIO or IT department mandates the type of software that all of their employees must use. This centralized structure means that the ones choosing the software are not the ones using it day-in and day-out, which leads to buying decisions based on ease of support and feature lists instead of ease of use and real world functionality. Enterprise 2.0 is flipping this old model into "bottom-up adoption." Employees, who have been using consumer tools in their personal lives, now expect the same level of quality in the software they use at work. They are seeking out and signing up for whichever tools will help them the most, instead of relying on what IT gives them, and CIOs are often put in a position requiring them to follow along their fellow employees.

Historically, cloud services, SaaS or any new technology that enters the market at a similar price point follows ‘a bottom-up adoption.' For example Salesforce.com, launched well over a decade ago, initially wasn't selling into the upper echelons of organizations. Instead, they were selling to individual sales representatives. By selling to individuals, Salesforce.com was able to build up the momentum within each of their customer organizations, resulting in selling sideline licenses or subscriptions for their service. With the consumerization of IT, this type of sales model is becoming a trend. Users are seeing they can get easy, affordable access to capabilities and services that are not supported internally, and as a result, individuals don't have to spend months justifying the business case with IT in order to get the solution they need. From a user perspective, the cloud is a new paradigm that supports a ‘bottoms up' approach and offers the ability to work more efficiently.

SMB owners need clarity
TechNavio's analysts forecast the small and medium-sized business cloud market in the US to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 18.45 percent over the period 2012-2016.[2] Despite apparent growth, SMBs are also finding that cloud adoption is creating a lot of confusion around choosing the right service. When SMBs speak to an IT reseller, they find the reseller tries to sell them a new server, license or on-premise software the company doesn't want or need. When SMBs search for a cloud provider independently, they often feel like small fish in a big pond; providers don't always give the assistance organizations need and they are left to fend for themselves.

Enterprise IT Is Worried About the Resources Needed
With enterprise IT organizations, particularly from a governance risk, management and compliance standpoint, the cloud can be frightening, and whether it's resource allocation, data governance or policy enforcement, there is a lot to consider when moving to the cloud.

One of the realities in moving to the cloud is that IT should not be required to invest countless hours managing the data center. Whether it's a public or private cloud, resources can be compiled, utilized and abandoned without the active participation of data center management. For some, this can be somewhat unsettling.  With the adoption of any new technology, enterprises should re-evaluate their management style; this is particularly true for cloud adoption.  The cloud represents a fundamental shift in information technology, and it shouldn't come as a big surprise, that the old ways of managing and organizing IT infrastructure can no longer apply.

Why Should Service Providers Care About Cloud Adoption?
Most service providers sell traditional money making services like broadband, hosting, voice communication and networking services. Over time, all of these markets have become fairly saturated, which has led to price competition as traditional competitors battle for a finite market. As a result, service providers are forced to cut prices, leading to reduced gross margins and a significant impact to the bottom line.  The solution is to begin considering an alternative source of revenue. The business impact with this double sided competitive scenario is that increasing commoditization leads to declining profit margins; as there is more price competition, there is more customer churn which leads to market share loss.

Cloud Marketplaces Best Practices
Many service providers are evaluating their cloud marketplace strategy, and several are finding that aggregating and delivering a rich catalog of cloud services to current customers creates new lines of revenue. The checklist below can help ensure increased profitability and greater customer retention for your organization.

Six Cloud Portfolio Strategies:

  • Provide complementary third-party services - Increase customer/partner retention and profitability, as well as incentives for partners to add value to core offerings.
  • Bundle third-party services with existing core offerings - Grow market share via differentiated offerings.
  • Provide a unified usage experience across different vendor services - Extend brand visibility and innovation to end-users to drive complementary benefits.
  • Enable existing and new service channels - Increase channel loyalty and profitability.
  • Create a phased go to market approach, starting with current services - If you are a service provider, the first thing to consider is your current portfolio and customer segments, and then break down your strategy.
  • Start with basic services that do not require a lot of high touch selling - Offer multiple services like security, data backup and collaboration conferencing across multiple categories to help customers choose the segment that is right for them.

Eight Essential Cloud Market Platform Features:

  • Catalog management - Where service providers define the user interface of the cloud marketplace, onboarding different services from the data center, defining the services and price points, tracking costs and negotiating wholesale.
  • Self-service fulfillment - A complete and automated self-service capability, so that users can go through, pick different services from the catalog and provide payment information. The platform should then be able to provision users for the different clouds they have ordered.
  • Service and user provisioning - Service adapters provide provisioning and communication between the platform and different cloud providers. This is a key component for operating within the cloud marketplace.
  • Authentication, authorization & access control - Covers a large range of capabilities from role based access control, which is important if selling to large enterprises. In this instance, enterprise customers can govern from the admin interface to the platform, which allows users within the organization to use the service.
  • User and service administration capabilities - When an individual leaves any size organization, the administrator should have the ability to delete that user and de-provision them from the services they use. A key value is allowing the organization to unify administration and lifecycle management, offering various types of services within the organization.
  • Reporting and auditing - Important at all levels of the platform architecture, this should range from tracking the services that are selling and customer segments to auditing where data is going, which services are being logged into and which users have access to which services.
  • Helpdesk ticketing & support - The key for customers is a single point of support for all the different cloud services that they have chosen for their platform. Federated help desk support across the various cloud providers and aggregated into one platform is essential in assuring down time is limited and maintenance is seamless.
  • Billing, metering & chargeback - Application services tend to have a monthly user subscription fee, while other services lean toward a metered solution. A key benefit for customers is aggregating billing for all cloud services.

Increasing customer ROI
A cloud marketplace drastically improves the end user experience by providing a single point of access, discovery, user management and administration, which is important in terms of reducing the overhead cost that IT managers typically face. It also enables end users to aggregate their buying power within organizations, reducing the number of users going out on their own. Being able to audit how users are accessing servers, deleting employees from the entire cloud platform and reducing exposure to data loss are essential in centralizing and managing access to IT tools needed by each employee, and assuring that companies are compliant with regulatory standards.

Conclusion
Even with users, SMBs and enterprises looking for customized cloud service solutions, transition and maintenance could be enough for anyone to halt cloud adoption; however, with a proper platform, service providers can integrate or aggregate services, to provide a customizable, easy to deploy solution. Cloud Services Brokerages (CSBs) make cloud services more valuable because they work closely with cloud providers to get price breaks or access to more information about how a service works. A viable CSB can make it less expensive, easier, safer and more productive for companies to navigate, integrate, consume and extend cloud services, particularly when they span multiple, diverse cloud service providers.

The world of cloud computing has created a huge business opportunity for service providers to differentiate themselves. As the demand for cloud services grows, it's a natural fit for providers to take advantage of the growth and cater to the needs of their customers. Aggregation services like CSBs will help a customer navigate through the various cloud offerings, which is becoming an increasingly difficult task. For providers, it will increase their relevance and provide a growing revenue stream, something that a lot of organizations are currently looking to do in a saturated industry.[3]

References:

  1. http://www.ventanaresearch.com/bti/
  2. http://www.reportlinker.com/p01095425/Small-and-Medium-sized-Business-Cloud-Market-in-the-US.html#utm_source=prnewswire&utm_medium=pr&utm_campaign=IT_Hosting
  3. http://it-tna.com/2013/05/17/jamcracker-if-it-aint-cloud-services-brokered-fix-it/

More Stories By Steve Crawford

Steve Crawford is Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Jamcracker. He was formerly CMO for PKWARE, where he helped lead a turnaround that increased revenue growth by tenfold over a three-year period. Previously, he was with VeriSign during its growth from pre-IPO to over $2B in revenues, where he negotiated strategic alliances, launched its enterprise solutions product-line, and was responsible for its $200M service provider business. He has also led marketing and business development activities at Octel Communications and managed advanced development programs at Lockheed.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Michael Burley, a Senior Business Development Executive in IT Services at NetApp, described how NetApp designed a three-year program of work to migrate 25PB of a major telco's enterprise data to a new STaaS platform, and then secured a long-term contract to manage and operate the platform. This significant program blended the best of NetApp’s solutions and services capabilities to enable this telco’s successful adoption of private cloud storage and launching ...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone in...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
As you move to the cloud, your network should be efficient, secure, and easy to manage. An enterprise adopting a hybrid or public cloud needs systems and tools that provide: Agility: ability to deliver applications and services faster, even in complex hybrid environments Easier manageability: enable reliable connectivity with complete oversight as the data center network evolves Greater efficiency: eliminate wasted effort while reducing errors and optimize asset utilization Security: imple...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...