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Cloud Service Broker 101: Looking beyond IT and focusing on business value

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Guest post by Wiemer Kuik and Deborah Anthony

In the first blog post of this series we defined cloud service brokering (CSB) and offered a picture of what it looks like when it’s successful. In this blog post, we list the three most important rules to follow when establishing a CSB.

When considering the following rules, it’s important to look beyond technology and realize that a CSB is an entirely new function in an organization. Trying to shoehorn it into an existing department, or regarding at as a replacement for others, will result in failure.

  1. The accountability of the service broker function must be separated from the IT delivery organization. In many cases, the IT department will mistakenly view the decision to engage public cloud providers as a threat. If the accountability is not separated, the CSB will be in the position of assessing its own performance. In the eyes of the rest of the enterprise, the CSB will lack credibility.
  2. The broker function must focus on added value for the enterprise. Concentrating solely on cost comparisons fails to account for more abstract, less technical aspects like security, resilience, business response time, and flexibility. The broker function is concerned with matching resources, based on the trifecta of best fit for price, business purpose, and policy.   This is why a broker function is not a replacement for a purchasing department.
  3. The broker function is a business-focused organization. It should not be responsible for operation tasks like service desk or operational availability. If these tasks are needed, they should be subcontracted to an internal IT department. The broker function is therefore not only a mediator between seller and buyer but also an integrator of services.

In summary, A CSB expands the CIOS’s scope of control and requires deeper understanding of the business models at work in the enterprise. The CSB also represents a new accountability structure for many IT departments. It can flourish only when it receives interdepartmental support and its function is clearly understood across the enterprise.

 

Watch for future blog posts building on the Cloud Service Broker Function.

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