Why You Need a Cloud Broker, Not a Cloud Provider
Every year, CIOs and IT managers are targeted by white papers, research reports and blog posts packed with the latest stats proving that business adoption of public cloud services continues to grow apace. For example, the number of businesses actively using public clouds has risen from 30 per cent in 2013 to a projected 80 per cent in 2017, according to a Frost & Sullivan survey. Meanwhile, the RightScale ANZ State of the Cloud Report for 2017 reveals that 85 per cent of enterprises in Australia and New Zealand already use multiple clouds.
This trend towards the cloud has been so strong and so predictable that continued year on year growth really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. The question is no longer “Should we move to the cloud?” It’s not even “Which cloud to use?” as enterprises increasingly move towards multi-cloud strategies. Instead, the question has become “How to develop the best possible mix of clouds and technologies to achieve our goals?”
Unfortunately, that last question is more complex to answer. Cloud is not a place, it's an operating model and despite the best efforts of cloud providers, moving and working effectively with the cloud is hardly a plug-and-play proposition – particularly when using a number of cloud-based applications across multiple public and private clouds. Technical debt is another real issue to be very weary of with cloud services and cloud technologies, as IT teams often opt for the solution that is easy to implement in the short term, rather than applying the best overall solution. Factor in different geographic regions, security and backup processes, as well as automation and workflow optimisation, and it becomes clear that the “how” is far more important than the “what”.
To be most effective, the cloud cannot be treated as a one-size-fits-all solution as the mix of applications, workflows, budgets, outcomes and future requirements will differ greatly from business to business. Neither can a cloud solution be approached as a set-and-forget implementation. Technology keeps evolving, new features keep popping up, pricing structures keep changing, and customer or production demand can fluctuate from day-to-day, or even minute-to-minute.
In short, cloud efficiency – particularly multi-cloud efficiency – relies on the ability of a business to quickly adapt to real-time opportunities and challenges, regardless of the complexity of their infrastructure design. Cloud success is now determined less by the specifications and value propositions offered by a particular provider and more by the quality and flexibility of the cloud strategy that underpins your business goals and outcomes.
Untangling the web
For most IT departments, just keeping up with all of these cloud technologies, never mind implementing and using them effectively, would be a full time job. This is why many enterprises struggle with implementing a complete and comprehensive cloud strategy. Instead, many will focus on the quick wins, migrating the simplest of tasks and systems into the cloud, while consigning seemingly insurmountable challenges to the ‘too-hard basket’.
Yet there could be far greater benefits for a business by tackling those more complex projects with the right cloud strategy: old legacy systems updated for the way we work today; increased automation doing away with unproductive workflows; better collaboration across multiple locations and devices; faster responsiveness to real-time events, and; a better overall experience for the customer.
This is why strategic advice and brokerage is the new currency in the cloud.
In a landscape already dominated by AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, many smaller cloud hosting providers are moving away from flogging servers and software to focus on delivering comprehensive, vendor neutral cloud brokerage services. After all, a good cloud strategy should not be limited to the restricted wares of a single provider, but should be able to take advantage of opportunities and features available across the entire cloud landscape.
Only then can a cloud strategy deliver the best solution for the business and the best experience for the end user, not merely the most convenient set of line items for the provider.
Cloud Service Brokers may offer a range of professional, managed, or software services that vary in functionality. Some companies that define themselves as “Cloud Service Brokers” focus on procurement, assessing options across multiple cloud providers and service types, and providing recommendations for deploying cloud workloads. Others promise custom integration services, to allow companies to manage multiple cloud services in a hybrid or multi-cloud environment. Still others offer software platforms or services that simplify multi-cloud management by providing a single pane-of-glass for tracking utilisation and costs across various cloud subscriptions.
Very few Cloud Providers, apart from Offis Multi-Cloud Services can broker all of the above.
2017 ANZ State of the Cloud Report.PDF
ANZ State of the Cloud Survey Results: How are you managing your oganisation's clouds?
In February 2017 we surveyed 168 technical professionals in Australia and NZ
across a broad cross-section of organisations about their adoption of cloud computing.
The 2017 State of the Cloud Survey for Australia/New Zealand (ANZ) provides data
on how organisations in ANZ are adopting cloud computing. We also compared the data from
the ANZ survey with our global survey data to identify areas where ANZ organisations differ.
Sponsored by Offis Multi-Cloud Services and Telstra
2017 ANZ State of the Cloud Report.PDF