Many folks, even those who follow the technology services industry closely, attribute the cloud computing ecosystem to the public/cloud hosting service providers and SaaS/platform providers. While these two categories of service providers indeed form the backbone of the cloud universe, others also play pivotal roles in enabling cloud services. The following image illustrates the service provider categories that constitute today’s cloud ecosystem:
With the expansion of cloud services, enterprise buyers are steadily realizing that they need help not only from pure technology providers, but also from firms that serve as system integrators (SIs).
Yet, in a universe in which hosting providers (Rackspace, AWS, etc.), SaaS/platform providers (Salesforce, Workday, etc.), and cloud enablers (CISCO, VMware, etc.) deliver the core resources to enable cloud-based services, is there enough room for SIs to establish their importance?
The answer is a resounding yes. SIs are, and will continue to be, an integral part of the cloud vendor ecosystem. Here’s why:
SIs provide a roadmap for transition to cloud
SIs have inherent design and consulting capabilities, and help buyers put in place a roadmap for transition. They make the cloud integration and deployment process more seamless and customized to each buyer’s requirements.
SIs bridge the gap between cloud solution owners and the enterprise buyer community
Enterprise buyers seeking to migrate to the cloud will need a facilitator to interact with and among multiple players in the vendor ecosystem. It is the SIs who act as this bridge between cloud technology providers and the buyer community.
SIs help manage multiple large complex buyer environments
Given their multiple complex environments with varying requirements, large global enterprises really need a party to serve in the role of moderator. SIs are well equipped to take on this responsibility due to their global delivery and management capabilities.
Additionally, after setting up a cloud environment within their organizations, buyers will most likely need support from SIs to maintain and manage the new system. With increasing moves toward cloud-enabling large IT stacks rather than just specific applications or infrastructure, it is only logical that the role of SIs will become more critical for enterprise buyers that are about to take the leap of faith by transitioning to cloud services.
For more details on how IT service providers and SIs fit in the cloud ecosystem, please see Everest Group’s recently released research, Enterprise Cloud Services – PEAK Matrix Assessment and Profiles Compendium, which profiles the players on the proprietary Everest Group PEAK Matrix.
And keep watching this space for a deep-dive into providers of cloud application and infrastructure services through a series of blogs.
Photo credit: cuatrok77