A Cloud Service Provider is a Services Provider First. The Cloud part is secondary.

In my last post, I gave a broad overview of why many current efforts of companies to adapt to the changes in industry brought on by cloud computing will fail. In this next installment in the series, I review the most important factors for succeeding in the new environment. They’re factors lacking in so many of the current cloud initiatives – and you might be surprised by what you read.

A Cloud Services Provider is a Services Provider First Everyone has become a cloud provider, no matter what your company did before. Today, companies not only offer cloud services, but they offer ones that are better and different that everybody else’s. The cloud providers market is so crowded that CIOs of major corporations and government agencies are complaining about the number of companies that offer the best cloud in the market.

Not everyone can have the best cloud, so I find it hard to believe the many companies I’ve seen enter the market over the last 12 months will succeed. These companies offer technology consulting or hardware and software delivery and installation. And now it seems they can become a leading cloud services company simply by contracting space from a major data centre company and buying some hardware and software from a manufacturer of their choice.

In my opinion, this is simply not enough. What matters is being a service provider. At its core, when an organisation contracts services from a cloud provider, it is outsourcing its mission-critical applications to a company. It needs a partner that can ensure the availability, security and scalability of those applications 24x7. This is easy to promise – but hard to deliver.

From our view, being a top-notch service provider requires two areas of expertise:

1. The design and continual refinement of 24x7 service delivery.
2. An understanding of the grey areas of cloud platform operation thereby providing confidence to customers within this environment.

Many companies now offer cloud services. How many will succeed? Success in this market will require more than just the deployment of infrastructure in datacentres. In my view, it requires a company to adopt the combination of very specific operations and a mentality that focuses on efficiency and effectiveness in solving customer problems 24x7; and operates in a way that recognises the grey areas that naturally result from the fact that both customer and provider will operate on the platform.

This operational mentality cannot be created overnight. It is something that is characteristic of organisations that have experience in service provision and with their own quality 24x7 support. Most organisations just don’t have this yet.

But this is both something that matters to customers and something that customers should be aware of. Without this operational mentality, the associated experience and the required investments, it’s difficult to believe that customers will receive the service that they require.


Added 20 June 2014

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