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What cloud services does a cloud broker need to offer?

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By: Ronda Swaney

Even with a basic understanding of real estate transactions, you get the concept of a broker. You have buyers. You have sellers. A broker brings them together to negotiate a transaction that, at least in theory, benefits both.

cloud brokeringIn the same way, cloud brokers act as intermediaries between the purchasers and sellers of cloud services. That's simple enough to understand. But exactly what services does a cloud broker offer?

"It depends on the level that the enterprise wants to broker," says Sita Lowman, HP Helion Enterprise Solutions On-Demand Offering Leader. "Cloud services can range from the infrastructure layer all the way up to the application and business solution area. Frankly, the range of services that they might want to broker is limitless."

Brokering is a capability that supports the enterprise as part of the Enterprise Strategy & Governance function. Brokering as a capability needs multiple functions to participate in driving the financial models, security management and business relationships needed to be effective. The implementation of brokering will use an end user market place that serves the enterprise customers by offering a rich service catalog. The services offered are self-service with the promise of speed to value with outcomes in hours and sometimes minutes instead of days, weeks or months.

One side of brokering occurs in the physical world. This involves the IT team researching available cloud vendors, knowing what services they provide and at what cost. This function serves as a consultant to business, advising the business function on what services are the best match for the business outcomes desired. Negotiating contracts, service level agreements, and cost-effective solutions may also fall to the IT function.

Cloud brokering also requires serving as the security and compliance gatekeeper. Lowman says that understanding "traditional IT environments and the security, regulatory, and data sovereignty requirements of their industry will be very important. This plays into what cloud types they would need to broker. Understanding those needs and how to apply them to different cloud environments is important."

The application side of the cloud broker describes the user interface that the internal customers use to spin up services. The cloud broker delivers a catalog of services that users get to choose from. This describes a self-service model where the line of business has an infrastructure or application need, interacts with the cloud broker interface, and the need is met. Lowman says, "Your customer's expectation will be that the solution just works. They expect minimal effort on their part."

Behind the scenes, the application that supports cloud brokering will allow the enterprise to see who is using what services and how much the use of those services cost. This allows the enterprise to manage the cost vs. value proposition and over time manage the best value for the right price.

But when it comes down to the business, what is the true function of the cloud broker model? "It's more about business partnering and how IT truly can be a partner to business teams. It comes down to business outcomes," says Lowman. "What outcomes does the client need? How will cloud services achieve those objectives?"

Is the brokering of cloud services something your enterprise should consider? The cloud brokering approach explained gives more detail on this approach to cloud services.

 

About the author

Ronda SwaneyRonda Swaney
Content marketer focusing on IT, technology, and healthcare for CXOs, consultants, and entrepreneurs. Ronda advises clients on how to best communicate their messaging by taking complex material and simplifying it to engage both tech geeks and the uninitiated.

About the author

 Connect with Ronda:Follow me on Twitter @RondaSwaney

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