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How a Cloud Brokerage is like a Travel Agent?


Guest Author: Les Pall, HP Helion Professional Services 


Last time I wrote about “Why is a cloud provider like a restaurant”.

I would like to extend that thinking to address the concept of Cloud brokering, by looking at a business model that many of us are familiar with – that of a travel agent.


HP20150127281.jpgYes, I know, many of us now arrange our travel ourselves on-line, however please bear with me.


Let’s think for a moment how an interaction with a travel agent might unfold, once the pleasantries are taken care of:


CUSTOMER:    “I want to go on a really nice holiday, somewhere interesting, in another country. I see you are a specialist in niche tourism.”

AGENT:             “What kind of things interest you – such as adventure, history, culture, doing good; what are some of your constraints?”

CUSTOMER:    “I want to mix up some culture and doing good but I want to go next March for three weeks, be with a small group of like-minded people and have a different experience from the mainstream, and do it on a budget of less than $5,000. By the way, I prefer to travel by rail, because I have an aversion to air travel.”

AGENT:             “I have access to services from a number of suppliers I trust that could meet your needs – I can propose a couple of packages that may meet your requirements for your consideration within a few minutes”

CUSTOMER:    “I also need the assurance that there’s no risk that my holiday will be disrupted by non-performance of any provider you choose – and that I can rely on you to arrange everything for me and provide responsive support if I encounter difficulty, and I want price protection if things change”.

AGENT:             “Please be assured – we are a member of the right industry associations and have certification as to our integrity and viability. We also offer an on-line service desk that can provide you 24-hour assistance wherever you are”.

OK, so that’s the story so far - what relation may this have to a Cloud Broker?

Let’s look at the similarities in business model and activities of a travel agent and Cloud broker:

  • Good interaction style with the potential and current customers – easy and pleasant
  • Constantly identifying customer needs and market opportunities
  • Evaluating and sourcing services from qualified and trusted suppliers
  • Creating appealing packages on-demand from that supply pool for customer consideration
  • Providing a trusted method of delivering the offered services, including addressing risk and operational support
  • Providing a single point of contact for the entire service provision and making the customer experience smooth and easy.

Now let’s look at the differences:

  • Obviously one provides travel experiences whilst the other provides business or IT services, however that’s the biggest difference.
  • The business models are much the same.

HP20150113003.jpgSo what does it take for a Cloud broker to gain differentiation and advantage in the current market?

Success comes from delivering the right services to your customers by efficiently managing your suppliers (which may include your own capabilities) and having in place the systems, processes and people culture that are key enablers.

Of course, you will ask – “what will help me get there fast?” Naturally, “here’s an answer we prepared earlier”:

Taking the transformation journey to being a Cloud broker will involve a number of elements:

  1. Technology assets – HP Helion CloudSystem Enterprise platforms provide an environment to host cloud service delivery including:
    • hybrid cloud management powered by HP Cloud Service Automation software,
    • brokering and integration that allows “travel agent-like” capabilities by aggregating multiple service catalogues, integrating Service Desk and Knowledge management into a single, easy-to-tailor customer portal using HP Propel software.
  2. Partnerships – HP is one of the biggest partners to other ISVs and providers such as Microsoft, VMware and SAP allowing us to provide comprehensive solutions to customers.
  3. Skills to provide guidance, assistance and support on the journey – in other words, Consulting. HP Helion Professional Services is experienced in helping customers take that journey rapidly and safely.

Stay tuned for my next instalment coming soon!


Senior Manager, Cloud Online Marketing
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About the Author


I manage the HPE Helion social media and website teams promoting the enterprise cloud solutions at HPE for hybrid, public, and private clouds. I was previously at Dell promoting their Cloud solutions and was the open source community manager for OpenStack and at Rackspace and Citrix Systems. While at Citrix Systems, I founded the Citrix Developer Network, developed global alliance and licensing programs, and even once added audio to the DOS ICA client with assembler. Follow me at @SpectorID


nice photos and article! thanks for sharing.

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