Gartner's most recent Magic Quadrant for the public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) sector clearly shows that IT service providers are moving into a space currently owned by pure-play cloud and data center service providers. This trend is sure to ramp up this coming year.
As an option for enterprises considering cloud services, IT service providers deliver a complete mix of strategic planning, solutions/services and support. As a result, enterprises' immediate demands for cloud architectures can be met and extended in the areas of virtualization, data center and storage, managed services and hosting, and IT outsourcing.
More specifically, global IT service providers have an understanding of disparate, multi-technology, multi-geography IT environments that are strategic in delivering cloud IT on a worldwide scale—something in which pure-play cloud providers do not specialize.
As enterprises look at engaging IT platforms as a service; set cloud, hosting and networking strategies; and reduce the number of providers with whom they work to meet all their needs, IT service providers will become increasingly strategic to enterprise buying decisions.
eWEEK got together with Yogesh Rami, senior director of product marketing in the Cloud Solutions Business Unit at Dimension Data, to put together a list of the top 10 ways service providers will change the enterprise cloud landscape in 2013.
Johannesburg, South Africa-based Dimension Data works with companies such as Cisco and others to manage more than $12.5 billion of network infrastructure across Asia, Australia, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa—24/7, in 15 languages—on its own managed-services cloud.
1. IT service providers get the big picture.
While pure-play cloud providers obviously can meet cloud-specific requirements, IT service providers often have extensive experience designing and supporting enterprises' broader IT architectures, which is also essential for successful cloud deployments. For example, a cloud implementation can often involve a multi-year journey that requires intense support at various stages, from determining the level of cloud readiness at the beginning to becoming fully cloud-ready.
The process also often involves planning and integration work in the areas of networking, application rationalization, governance, security and more. IT service providers often have the expertise and capabilities to be a one-stop shop that can address all of these needs during a cloud deployment.
2. Experience counts for expert guidance.
Many enterprises are investigating and evolving their approaches to IT in order to ensure success in their current markets, capture new market opportunities and/or continue to grow in an uncertain economy. Many IT service providers have been around for a number of years, uniquely qualifying them to address the complexities of their clients' IT environments, beyond cloud.
As a result, IT service providers can offer expert guidance and direction to enterprises on how to demystify their IT maturity situation and start their journey toward the cloud. IT service providers with proven track records and a complete portfolio of cloud services will stand out.
3. Have IT your way.
Organizations want flexibility while on their cloud journeys. Some IT service providers can offer cloud "as you like it," and can help companies evaluate private, public and hybrid options to determine the best approach for their businesses. Additionally, organizations need total cost of ownership (TCO) analyses, seamless application integration into the cloud, and simplified management when they build out their cloud architectures—all of which goes far beyond basic, one-size-fits-all cloud solutions.
4. One hundred percent integrated offerings are available.
Businesses expect complete solutions covering integrated hardware and software infrastructure orchestration, provisioning, billing, support and simplified administration, which IT service providers are well-equipped to deliver.