IT Operations Management (ITOM)

Transformation to an Enterprise Cloud Service Broker

Transformation to an Enterprise Cloud Service Broker


By Ken Won, Director of Product Marketing, Cloud/Automation Solutions


IT organizations face an identity crisis. The cloud is forcing IT organizations to fundamentally change how they operate, and it’s leading IT executives to rethink their teams’ vision, purpose and value to the business. Similarly, business leaders are beginning to take a fresh look at what they expect of IT.



Fig. 1: Characteristics of the new style of IT


Many teams in our industry are working through a period of reinvention. The question on a lot of executives’ minds is “How does our IT organization need to transform?”


At HP, we see the emergence of IT becoming a kind of broker of cloud services. What does this mean for IT organizations and how can executives plan for it? 


What it means to be a cloud service broker

 As IT organizations in large enterprises embrace cloud computing, they need to consider their strategy for how they will leverage cloud computing to serve the needs of their internal customers. In the past, IT organizations were primarily developers of IT services. Now, many IT executives are realizing that they do more than just develop IT services such as  private (in-house) cloud services. They need to consider how to augment their internal resources using public cloud services. With public cloud services such as Amazon and Microsoft becoming more popular and easier to access, LOBs are looking to IT to source these services from third parties and integrate them to internal infrastructure.


This is what we call a cloud service broker, or as HP formally defines it:


“IT role and business model in which a company or other entity adds value to one or more (public or private) cloud services on behalf of one or more consumers of that service via three primary roles including aggregation, integration and customization.”


The key points here are that as a cloud service broker, IT’s role gets reframed as such:

  • You will deliver cloud services to your customer
  • You will leverage multiple service resources, which may be public, private or both
  • You will aggregate, integrate and customize multiple resources together to offer new services.


Brokering the Hybrid Model

Becoming a cloud service broker is just one part of a larger IT strategy, however. Public cloud services are not optimal for delivering all IT in a large enterprise.


In this new hybrid world, the role of the CIO and IT organizations expands from the traditional builder of services to a build and broker, creating a seamless experience for end-users independent of service source.


Enterprises need to find ways to leverage the best of private cloud, managed cloud and public cloud, as well as traditional IT, and transforming into a cloud service broker will help IT organizations more effectively adapt to a hybrid model (Figure 2).



Fig. 2: the Hybrid Model


The hybrid approach will let IT organizations to address their IT service delivery challenges in the most efficient and cost effective way, by allowing IT to take advantage of each type of deployment infrastructure’s particular capabilities—including availability, security, performance, compliance and cost.


By examining your portfolio of applications and segmenting them according to their respective SLA requirements, you will be able to align the applications to the appropriate deployment model that offers the most optimal use of internal and external resources.


What to consider

Adopting cloud strategies will expose your organization to new issues, from the fact that you many not own all the IT assets to how you may rely on outside vendors for part of your IT services. Here are some of the key issues to consider: 

  • Security — This topic continues to be the number one concern of IT executives as they consider their cloud strategies
  • Big data — With the increase in data, many organizations need to figure out how to take advantage of this huge repository of data and turn it into actionable information
  • Process change — The movement to cloud is not just about technology; it’s more about changing people’s behavior, changing how teams work together and creating new processes. Do not underestimate the impact that cloud has on people and process issues
  • SLAs and compliance — The goal of operations teams in the past was to manage stable, reliable environments. With cloud, the environment is constantly changing, bringing new challenges in how to meet SLAs and compliance
  • Procuring resources — Managing resources in a constantly changing environment is difficult. New tools and processes are needed to ensure you’re not over buying or under buying infrastructure and software
  • Embracing hybrid models — Not all services will be in the cloud. Determining which services are appropriate for the cloud and which are not is critical, as is knowing what factors need to be considered when leveraging public cloud resources, beyond their low cost, and how you manage services that are made up of both private and public cloud services


These are just a few of the critical questions that need to be answered as you move to becoming a cloud service broker.


Come learn more with HP Power to Change virtual event … 

In this online presentation, I discuss seven things IT executives need to consider as they plan their journey to the cloud:

1.           Developing a strategic plan

2.           Planning for all types of Cloud Services

3.           Automating common processes

4.           Managing your service SLAs

5.           Protecting your services

6.           Managing your assets

7.           Managing vendor risk


If you are interested in continuing this conversation, then join us this month September at the HP Power to Change event.  This is a complimentary, online virtual event. At this event you will hear from industry visionaries, analysts and practitioners who will discuss how technology change is affecting you. Get practical advice on where you can reduce time to deploy, increase business value and simplify operations management.


Make sure you reserve your seat (or computer) today, for the Power to Change virtual event.  



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About the Author


Lending 20 years of IT market expertise across 5 continents, for defining moments as an innovation adoption change agent.