The New Era of Intermediation

By Nicole Hemsoth

November 9, 2010

This week, Benoit Lheureux, analyst at Gartner, posed the question of whether or not every company will always consume cloud services directly. While there are a number of solutions that are being touted as “out of the box” ready for the construction of private or hybrid clouds, anyone who has actually undertaken setting up a cloud, particularly at a business where security and privacy are of primary concern, knows that this is tall order—and that help will likely be needed.

We are entering, as he opines, “the next intermediation age” as companies seek the elusive benefits of clouds and find themselves stunned and overwhelmed at all that is entailed, particularly from a compliance and regulatory standpoint.

As Lheureux states,  “despite the wonderful innovative opportunities that cloud services consumption delivers to business, it is still very technical, fraught with non-trivial regulatory and compliance issues, and—at the end of the day—at least some companies are going to want and need help.”

This assistance will be granted in the form of any number of new and established “cloud services brokerage” firms who attempt to effectively match an organization’s needs with their unique regulatory, policy, and security-driven requirements.  There are already more than a handful out there today, from smaller more HPC-specific ones like Nimbus Services to the consulting services offered by giants like IBM, for instance.

Although he is selling a new Gartner report on the rise in this new (or revised) IT service, in his blog today on the issue he contends. “Gartner’s cloud services forecast heralds a new age of IT where on-premise and cloud-based business functionality will thrive and co-exist. And by necessarily, cloud services will also herald a new age of intermediation.”

In other words, it’s time to prepare ourselves for a new era of competitive wrangling for the top slot to full the knowledge void for enterprises who “want” clouds in theory but who have no springboard to stand upon to survey the landscape before jumping.

Is this concept of IT brokerage something new? Of course not. However, what we may be seeing now is the beginning of a major boom for these types of services–if it hasn’t already been happening already.

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