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Rise of the cloud service broker



In enterprise IT, our business customers want to experience the same ease in consuming IT services as they do the services they use outside of work. And they expect the same speed and convenience from IT infrastructure as they do from any other commoditized utility, like electricity or phone service. Flip a switch, go to an app store, or pick up your phone, and what you need is there for you to use.


These trends toward commoditization and consumerization in IT mean that decisions around service sourcing and delivery are increasingly important to business success. When you’re buying a commodity, what matters to you is not the commodity itself, but the service around it. In other words, factors like reliability, ease of use, availability, quality, and price, as well as cost predictability and transparency become the basis for making a choice. But whose responsibility is it to investigate these factors, find the best service, and manage it? That role is best fit by a cloud service broker: an intermediary between the consumers of a cloud service and the cloud provider. (Learn more about cloud service broker at Discover London.) As businesses depend more on cloud services, this role will become crucial to your ability to compete. Here’s why.


Service brokerage matters more than ever

Changing service providers is difficult, and more than that, it is really hard work.


Think of what it takes to change your phone or your TV service. If you’ve ever shopped around for a family phone plan, you know what a headache it is to change service providers. There are dense contracts and fine print to negotiate, hidden charges, and worries. Will you get the level of service you need? How available and reliable will it be? Will you truly save money? Or, if you’re choosing a service purely on price, will you have to make tradeoffs in another area?


Figuring out all of that takes time. Plus, there’s a psychological aspect to change. Maybe you feel it isn’t worth the risk to move to a supplier that is an “unknown” even if it appears they could save you money or give you a better level of service. So you stick with your old service even though it’s not doing that much for you.


If you do decide to change, the transition can be a challenge. The turnover takes too long and each supplier uses different tools that you have to learn before you can successfully navigate in that supplier’s world.


With cloud services for the business, the same headaches apply but on a much larger scale and with much higher stakes.


Cloud forces adoption of the service broker role

In the past, IT may have integrated and managed services from just a few service providers. But soon IT may need to broker services from any number of suppliers. The proliferation of cloud services means the “multi” in multi-supplier IT is exploding. And unless IT has a framework and the tools it needs to manage multi-supplier IT, it loses control and cannot provide the services the business needs.


The cloud service broker role shields the business from complexity and chaos (not to mention the risks of shadow IT). Your cloud service broker governs SLAs, onboards new suppliers, manages integration, makes sure everything is secure and compliant, and is able to tell you what services really cost. But to your users it’s a seamless experience. The services they need are there when they need them—the same way they can flip a switch and turn the lights on, or pick up the phone and have phone service.


The six capabilities you need as a cloud service broker

Enterprises need cloud service brokers so they can have agility and usability, plus cost savings and control. These four dimensions become impossible to manage without a service brokerage.


But how does IT perform that role, and what functions must it master in order to deliver these benefits? In HPE Software Professional Services, we help our customers develop six key capabilities associated with a cloud service brokerage so that they can:

  • Capture and satisfy business demand
  • Accelerate onboarding of innovative services
  • Provide a rich, easy-to-use service catalog
  • Govern full service lifecycle with security and service assurance
  • Understand and manage the true cost of service delivery
  • Drive continuous service improvement


For some IT organizations, mastering even a few of these capabilities can be a challenge. But the good news is that there are roadmaps, tools, and methodologies to help you get there.If you’re going to HPE Discover London, you can learn more about becoming a cloud service broker by checking out these sessions and demos: 


And find suggestions for how to enjoy London in the HPE Business Insights guide to East London nightlife.

If you won’t be with us in London, you can always check out our Service Broker Consulting Services to learn more.

Louise Ng is WW CTO Automation & Cloud for HPE Software Professional Services.


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WW CTO Cloud and Automation, HPE Software Professional Services

Jan 30-31, 2018
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