7 services that can help suppliers deliver cloud value

  • While cloud is appealing, it is technically complex for most customers.

  • The supplier’s role must shift from operations manager to solution provider.

  • Suppliers who evolve their value propositions will build customer trust.

In my previous post, Strategic IT sourcing in the cloud era, I discussed IT source models and their role in delivering cloud solutions. In the new age of the cloud, the supplier’s role must change from that of an operations manager to a solution provider. And a solution provider requires a mix of services that are traditional for the supplier, in combination with some that are not including:

1. The right strategy: Determining which workloads should be run in public cloud, private cloud, and how to orchestrate between them, is a significant undertaking where many customers need help. Even selecting the proper public cloud solutions can be part of the service provided.

2. Tools and processes: Providing the tools and processes to establish business policies in the cloud and enable automated orchestration around them, as well as the security model (identity management and entitlement) surrounding these workloads is a key service.


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3. Customer-specific managed services: Leveraging traditional operational strengths to provide customer-specific managed services can also be an area of great value. These managed services, however, may need to be provided in and around the infrastructure running in a public cloud (a shift for a provider accustomed to running it all), as well as building and operating a hosted customer private cloud.

4. Hybrid cloud solution: Integrating both environments into a fluid and efficient hybrid cloud solution is also where many customers could see significant value, enabling the business to gain scale and efficiency where applicable, yet achieve cost effectiveness.

5. Cloud-based SaaS application: Similarly on the application side, utilizing a cloud-based SaaS application is one thing, integrating it with various dedicated back office systems, some of which may be legacy in nature, is quite another.

6. Legacy applications: Modernizing a customer’s legacy applications so they can run in a cloud (public and/or private), and transitioning these applications in a cohesive manner to the cloud is a challenge most customers face.

7. Networking platform: Integrating the hybrid cloud and applications with a highly secure, enterprise-class networking platform is a challenge no cloud IaaS or Saas provider can or even wants to do. Add in the complexity of software-defined capabilities, managing the platform so it all operates seamlessly with end-to-end service commitments and requisite integrated security, which equals fulfillment of a critical service to the customer. My conclusion is that the new era of cloud is ripe with opportunities for the strategic sourcing supplier, especially if their prospective customer is forward-looking and values the solutions required in today’s rapidly evolving landscape. While cloud is appealing, it is also challenging and can be technically complex for most customers. To capitalize on these opportunities, providers must embrace this shift and not rest on the laurels of their past transformational solutions and device-centric approaches, or worse, fight the appeal of cloud.

To the contrary, suppliers who find ways to evolve their value propositions by assisting customers to get the most from the cloud and to deliver value in someone else’s cloud will build trust with the customer as a true value-added solution partner, which has always been the sweet spot for the successful strategic sourcing provider.

I’d like to hear your thoughts and experiences with successful sourcing models in the new cloud era. Please leave your comments below and learn more about how AT&T can help you make the move to cloud with our AT&T Cloud Solutions.

Steve Caniano Networked Cloud Solutions Vice President AT&T About Steve