Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Lori MacVittie, Andreas Grabner, Jim Kaskade, John Basso

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Business Models of the (Near) Future

Evolving Cloud Broker Models

The cloud is often touted as the answer to all our problems. It offers countless possibilities, from increased agility and reduced costs for enterprises, to a revenue lifeline for service providers as they take their first steps toward becoming a cloud broker. The cloud broker model can give service providers the chance to avoid commoditization by repackaging their own offerings together with cloud services and selling these to customers.

But cloud brokers beware. There's a risk of being a jack of all trades and master of none. It's crucial to ensure that a cloud offering is designed to meet the needs of a specific market. For example, enterprises and small/medium sized businesses (SMBs) will hardly subscribe to all cloud services from a single provider. So which approach is best for which target market?

Serving the needs of SMBs
For telcos with access to a large number of customers in the SMB space, the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) broker is the best way to go. This allows telcos to leverage their broad customer access and sell SaaS applications to SMBs in addition to their carrier portfolio. SMBs will not only expect consolidated provisioning and billing but also an aggregation of services and federation of data across multiple SaaS applications provided by the broker.

CloudItalia, a company combining telecommunication and cloud computing services specifically dedicated to small and medium enterprises in Italy, as an example, is offering a core set of services that are vertically focused and aimed specifically at the SMB customer segment. This approach is all about providing pre-packaged services that, as much as possible, are a `no brainer' for SMBs to work with. MashApp tools are critical here. They provide the capability to build services by creating mash-ups of the business applications SMBs are most likely to require such as Saleforce.com. Together with orchestration tools this allows users to build the exact services they require. Because the cloud service provision component is based on the company's existing telecom business with its own network, this gives CloudItalia's customers particular benefits.

Forrester's Forrsights survey data showed that at the end 2012, on average nine different SaaS applications were used at the same time in a single business. This will increase to 13 by the end of 2013. This requires a higher automation of billing and integration among all SaaS applications used, including a flexible subscription approach for individual employees. All of these challenges are potential value propositions for future SaaS brokers.

The enterprise approach
Enterprises seriously moving to cloud infrastructure require a mixture of multiple cloud infrastructure services, very likely from multiple providers. Systems integrators (SIs) and dedicated cloud infrastructure providers will get the most out of becoming Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) brokers. Providing dynamic sourcing across public, virtual private and private clouds, this broker model leverages temporary spare capacity on-premise and combines it with spot price offerings of virtual private or public cloud providers. Cloud infrastructure offerings vary by reliability, price, local presence of data centers, legal compliance, performance and many other characteristics. SIs can retain or establish customer relationship with these enterprise buyers by offering the full portfolio of their own cloud services and reselling public cloud IaaS from others. Infrastructure broker services add a unique value and make the multi-provider portfolio consumable.

According to Forrester's Forrsights Hardware Survey, nine percent of all enterprises today use a hybrid cloud infrastructure, mixing a private cloud with an external cloud provider. This number is expected to increase to 26 percent by 2015, and Forrsights data indicates that half of that group will be using sophisticated cloud management such as policy-driven provisioning. This group will drive the adoption of infrastructure broker services in the future.

A unified future
It is possible that a single company might deliver multiple cloud broker models, as a ‘unified cloud broker.' A sophisticated business process-driven provisioning framework, which supports the dynamic sourcing of both infrastructure and SaaS applications, would obviously provide a huge synergy for providers looking forward to a unified cloud broker. Technology vendors and their ecosystem of partners are getting ready to deliver this spectrum. However, it takes a cloud provider at least a year to merge discrete broker services into a unified cloud broker business model and technology stack. This is one reason that we are yet to see any unified cloud broker offerings on the market. But watch this space, it won't be long. At that time, the cloud's countless possibilities will be much more of a reality.

More Stories By Matt Davies

Matt Davies is senior director of product marketing at Cordys, the enterprise cloud platform. He is involved in all areas of product messaging, technical positioning, communication both internal and external regarding Cordys products, and helping shape where the Cordys strategy goes next. He is on Twitter @mattdavies_uk.

@ThingsExpo Stories
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effici...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...