The age of Agency and City/Regional Cloud Brokers is here, now. Why?

I have talked about cloud brokers many time sin the past. Recently I have proposed the concept of the #mysmartcity or more broadly the City Cloud Broker. Since that initial proposal I’ve gotten a number of emails from people arguing that the time of brokers isn’t as near as I have argued nor would a city broker be effective. I get the second one it is difficult to imagine a broker run by a city. Why? Because most of the people I work with come from the service provider world. Its hard to take your hat off and see the horizon. I ran into that problem for years at Microsoft. When we were first starting the “remove Domino” campaign we struggled against the SharePoint bigots. SharePoint + Exchange wasn’t a replacement for Lotus Domino. It replaced some of Lotus Domino but not all of it. Getting the people to see the big picture was a 10 year crusade.

A managed service within a US Federal Agency and a Managed Service within a region, state or City would provide a much stronger broker offering than an independent company would. My repeating that over and over doesn’t prove my point however. It simply points out that I don’t see value in large integration shops having broker offerings.

First off – I don’t see cloud brokers existing as defined today. The definition being that of a cloud services aggregator. I see that as far too small a market to ever  be effective. For the most part organizations are going to do their due diligence and select a cloud provider. Once that provider is selected they are going to build their solution and again for the most part that’s it. We take the existing data center and move services to the cloud. In the process I’ve been building we take a look at several factors that would ultimately lead to this particular use of a broker being the primary use.

  • Set and forget – taking services that exist and moving them to a cloud provider.

Email

Collaboration Services

There are many set and forget services that will move. They probably move once. I doubt there is a huge need nor business for moving email multiple times.

From that perspective a broker would offer a connected directory service. You want to know why city brokers are of value? Now you have a service you offer at a flat fee that you don’t have to make a profit on. Cost recovery is something a city broker can offer because they don’t need to make a profit. The value in the broker chain is the reality of cost recovery. That by the way is another knock on SI’s doing broker – they don’t do cost recovery.

The one service the one cloud solution that I see having a huge impact on the growth of Brokers is PaaS. Platform as a Service has the ability to change the direction of entire industries.

PaaS offered within a broker can do something that people haven’t quite grasped yet. Not just offering a platform service for development. But offering an aggregated platform that spans not just cloud services. Not just cloud development environments but also IoT/CPS environments. Imagine being able to automate your facilities quickly because within the PaaS environment of the broker (be agency wide or City/Regional) allows you to quickly grab the services and automate them. The problem today is integration. A central connected unified PaaS environment offered within a Broker managed at the Federal Agency level or the City/Regional/State government level (or province etc.) would create a value proposition for organizations to join that larger broker.

  • Reduce the cost of automation.
  • Increase the ability of small business’s to start, grow and flourish by consuming shared services at a city and national level.
  • Reduce the cost of services by providing some services as agreed in cost-recovery mode.
  • Reduce taxes by having fees (City/Regional broker) that represent sign on and monthly continuation fees.
  • Increase security by having a dedicated city broker team and the security teams of the various companies security teams.

I guess I see Brokers as different. Its why I believe that the City Broker (or regional) or Agency Broker makes more sense than one provided by an SI. If the goal of the broker is to sell SI services, than it will never fulfill the promise of cloud brokers.

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Broker Dreamer #mysmartcity