January 8, 2019

DSP Transformation: Adding Cloud Service Broker to the Toolkit

As CSPs transform into digital service providers, they may be in an ideal position to become a cloud service broker and enable businesses across markets to evolve.

Last year, when AT&T and Verizon both exited the cloud hosting business, the industry consensus was that it was a positive move. While the public cloud space remains dominated by a handful of very large players, there are still hundreds of smaller cloud providers throughout the world that offer most—if not all—of the core cloud service offerings, but without the reach or budgets of the hyperscalers. Yet being lumped in with the masses of fringe players in an essentially oligopolistic market didn’t seem like a business that North America’s largest communications service providers (CSPs) needed to effectively execute on their digital transformation journeys. Thus, evolving into a hyperscaler was not the most opportunistic way to expand their businesses, especially as both are already prioritizing 5G network and service rollouts, enterprise services supported by SDN/NFV and transformations into digital content providers. Additionally, both can leverage large cloud service providers as enablers of change for their businesses and the way they deliver services.

However, outside the North American markets, it can be argued that telcos are in a prime spot to selectively take on the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Alibaba and others. Taking the concept one step further, if, say, companies such as Telefónica and Telstra can compete with cloud providers, could they also be positioned to take on the large managed service providers (MSPs) in the cloud service brokerage (CSB) space? From Netcracker’s perspective, we know that they can. In fact, Telefónica offers cloud brokerage services to Latin America via NEC’s Cloud Brokerage Suite, and Telstra uses RightScale in a similar fashion to offer comprehensive cloud management services to its customers.

In many parts of the world, CSPs continue to be ideally situated to help enterprise customers execute on their cloud transformation journeys. If we look more closely at the types of business outcomes that a CSB can support, then the ultimate value that they can add in helping execute across critical areas of operations and business management include the following:

  1. Cloud Service Aggregator: The CSB becomes a business partner that can package and integrate multiple service catalogs across a multicloud environment.
  2. Cloud Service Integrator: The CSB becomes a business partner that can automate workflows across a multicloud environment via a single orchestration platform.
  3. Cloud Service Customizer: The CSB acts as a partner that can modify services to meet specific business objectives.

While superficially this may seem like line items on the resumes of the MSPs that dominate the CSB market (e.g., Accenture, IBM, Wipro, etc.), dig a bit deeper and consider the CSP’s market positioning and their focus on transforming themselves into digital service providers (DSPs). Clearly, they are in a prime spot to execute on the CSB role as well.

For example, part and parcel to executing on any of the three roles above requires:

  • The ability to clearly define SLAs and execute against them.
  • The wherewithal to bring a broad technology and business alliance ecosystem to the table.
  • The ability to provide sophisticated security assurances across a multicloud environment.
  • Being adept at providing proper business consulting services to help organizations define business-oriented outcomes tied to their cloud migration strategy.

On all of these fronts, telcos that are well down the path of their own digital transformation journeys not only have the requisite human capital and technology assets to deliver against these requirements, but they also have lived the experience themselves.

Now, none of this is to say that telcos should aim to be comprehensive IT consultants. At the same time, if it is true that most CSPs need to transform into DSPs or else face extinction, then the ability to act as a CSB could be an effective arrow in their proverbial quiver.

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