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Cloud play: Integration and service brokering could set telcos apart

By offering cloud ‘integration as a service,’ telcos can monetize the brokering of relationships between their enterprise and SMB customers and third party software providers

With heavy-duty co-location and data center facilities already often in place, many telcos are looking to get started in cloud services by offering raw computing or storage services (or s-called infrastructure- or platform-as-a-service offerings).

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But more and more, their small- to mid-sized enterprise customers are seeking cloud solutions that offer turnkey CRM, BPM, document management, collaboration capabilities, network security, IP network management in an “as a service” model that also integrates with enterprises’ on-premise solutions.

Though companies like Boomi offer integration platforms direct to enterprises, there are many small- to mid-size business that would prefer outsourcing the delivery, management and operations to their telco—which they know and trust to do things “better, faster and cheaper,” and in a multi-tenant fashion. This can be a major differentiator versus other cloud providers. Since small enterprises usually consider their ISP to be a “trusted provider” of communications services, it wouldn’t be a stretch for them to also want CRM, web conferencing, collaborative software documents, and management software from their service providers as well.

“The CSP already has a platform that facilitates integration of various cloud services, so data sharing, web conferencing and CRM capabilities from different vendors could be offered in an ‘integration-as-a-service’ offering,” said Russell Wurth, vice president of product management, Verecloud, which announced today that its Nimbus cloud service broker will be integrated with CRM from Intalio so that small- and mid-sized enterprises can access new applications for current business needs.

If service providers can mitigate demands on their OSS environments by leveraging third-party business process management (BPM) and integration platforms (like that now possible with Intalio’s Cloud offering integrated with Verecloud’s Nimbus CSB platform), they can allow enterprise customers to choose and onboard the applications while getting paid for providing the platform that facilitates integration. As various vendors deploy application software on servers, the enterprises essentially can pay their service provider to rent the applications from the platform they provide, which also handles software maintenance and management, among other tasks. The carriers, in other words, would be paid for managing the relationships between enterprise customers seeking SaaS solutions and the vendors offering those solutions through the cloud.

In essence, carriers would become cloud service “brokerages” in their own right. They could charge for the value-added services on a single bill, which would be convenient for their enterprise customers. And offering B2B integration “as a service” means carriers could more readily enable innovation by offering solutions from different vendors through the cloud, eliminating the need to create or re-invent the wheel in creating new services on their own.

Once service providers offer such cloud integration services, enterprises can access a broader range of software services—paying only for what they use. This could better position telcos against the likes of Salesforce, Google, and Microsoft in the cloud market.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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