Chatter about cloud services brokerages (CSBs) continues to grow louder. What services do they offer? And will current-day VARs begin to resemble next-generation CSBs? The VAR Guy has some strong opinions on this topic. Here they are.

First, let's define the role of a cloud services brokerage. To fit the definition, you have to offer at least one of three capabilities, notes Gartner:

  • Cloud Service Intermediation: An intermediation broker provides value added services on top of existing cloud platforms, such as identity or access management capabilities.
  • Aggregation: An aggregation broker provides the “glue” to bring together multiple services and ensure the interoperability and security of data between systems.
  • Cloud Service Arbitrage: A cloud service arbitrage provides flexibility and “opportunistic choices” by offering multiple similar services to select from.

Gartner VP Tiffani Bova speaks about the CSB topic quite frequently. The trend is real. Think of it this way: When a customer leverages three or more cloud services -- like CRM, hosted email and storage -- it starts to get difficult to manage the vendor relationships, logins, security, billng, etc. 

A CSB handles all those issues, and more. And a growing number of companies now classify themselves as CBS -- just check this growing list at The VAR Guy's sister site, Talkin' Cloud: http://www.TalkinCloud.com/CSB

Dialing a Distributor

For VARs, a potential fast way into this market likely involves working with a distributor. For instance, Ingram Micro Cloud is an aggregator service that allows VARs to source a range of storage, security, mobile and application services for end-customers. And it's a safe bet the CSB trend will earn the spotlight at Tech Data's upcoming TDCloud conference (Aug. 7-9, Tampa). 

So how many VARs will become CSBs? The actual figure is elusive. But think of it this way: Most VARs will offer some sort of hosted email (Google Apps, IntermediaMicrosoft Exchange, etc.), backup (Axcient, Datto, Intronis, etc.), extended suites (Office 465, OS33Emecloud, independenceIT) and more. Tying all that together will require some brokerage expertise.

Are you up to the task?