A growing love affair: the emergence of the Cloud Services Brokerage (CSB)
By Catherine McFarland • 08 Apr 2014
The attractive attributes of flexibility, scalability and ease-of-use has seen the lusty pick-up of cloud-based apps and services among small and medium sized businesses (SMBs). However, as companies make their move to the cloud, employees and administrators are starting to struggle with how to handle these new tools. Many businesses subscribe to so many cloud services that it’s a daunting task to keep track of all the details -- like web addresses, login credentials and billing information. Not to mention all the technical know-how to get them set up in the first place.
But all is not lost. This new and growing challenge is being addressed by the emergence of the new breed of service professional, the cloud services broker (CSB).
Keeping it monogamous: one contact, one bill
What does a cloud services broker do? Essentially, a CSB consolidates multiple cloud services into a single provider. So you get one point of contact and one bill for all of your many cloud services. They simplify and aggregate your cloud services so you can leverage them as much as possible. Perhaps most importantly, it leaves you free to focus on what you should be focusing on – your business.
Understandably, CSB is a booming market. Gartner estimates that approximately £61 billion will be spent worldwide annually on combined CSB roles by year-end 2014 (see "Examining the Magnitude of the Cloud Services Brokerage Opportunity").
Increasingly, not only is the role of the cloud services broker rapidly being incorporated into IT services, including consulting and system integration, application services, but also in business process outsourcing (BPO) and utility (BPU) and B2B commerce.
The CSB love triangle
Gartner describes CSB as follows:
“Cloud services brokerage (CSB) is an IT role and business model in which a company or other entity adds value to one or more (public or private) cloud services on behalf of one or more consumers of that service via three primary roles including aggregation, integration and customisation brokerage. A CSB enabler provides technology to implement CSB, and a CSB provider offers combined technology, people and methodologies to implement and manage CSB-related projects.”
A CSB provides services in these three key areas:
- Service aggregation: Combines and integrates multiple services – for example, securely moves data among multiple cloud providers or provides data integration.
- Service integration: Ensures that disparate systems work together in one seamless experience.
- Service customisation: Develops specialised custom features to meet particular business needs.
The heart of the matter: six characteristics of a CSB
According to tech consultancy Gartner, a CSB has the following six characteristics:
- A direct contractual relationship with service consumers
- A possible contractual relationship with service providers
- Brokers at least one cloud service
- Adds value on top of original service
- Retains and leverages intellectual property (IP) to avoid ‘one-off’ solutions
- Brokers one service to multiple customers, many services to one customer, or many services to many customers.
Find out more about cloud services brokerage (CSB) here.
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