Cloud computing expected to introduce new consumer and B2B service 'brokers'

Gartner predicts reseller revolution

Gartner has forecast the rise of a new type of reseller specialising in integrating different cloud services, both for consumers and businesses.

Dubbed ‘cloud service brokerages’ by the research firm, it said the increasing the complexity and rising number of solutions mean that end users require the assistance of outside specialists.

"With the evolution of cloud computing, one inescapable reality continues to surface and that is, as with service-oriented architecture before it, the fact that cloud computing promotes the idea of continuous proliferation of services," commented managing vice president and chief Gartner fellow, Daryl Plummer.

"Unfortunately, using services created by others and ensuring that they’ll work — not only separately, but also together — are complicated tasks, rife with data integration issues, integrity problems and the need for relationship management. Hence the role of brokers to add value to services and to deliver new services built and delivered on top of old services."

Gartner predicts that there will be three main types of brokerage: cloud service intermediation (CSI), aggregation, and cloud service arbitrage (CSA). Each, it says, will play a key role in the channel’s future.

Gartner describes CSIs as providing a solution that "directly enhances a given service delivered to one or more service consumers." It said that these will exist in three forms; as part of the cloud service provider’s operation, a internal contractor or as a third party independent from both supplier and user.

The company defines aggregation brokers as working with a number of service providers, bringing their solutions together and handling implementation and integration on the user end, ensuring the safety and inter-operation of data.

CSA are described as similar to arbitrage brokers, but the services they offer aren’t fixed to partners. Instead they seek the best deal for their customers and move between providers.

"The future of cloud computing will be permeated with the notion of brokers negotiating relationships between providers of cloud services and the service customers," said research director at Gartner, L. Frank Kenney.

"In this context, a broker might be software, appliances, platforms or suites of technologies that enhance the base services available through the cloud. Enhancement will include managing access to these services, providing greater security or even creating completely new services."

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