1 E-GUIDE Cloud Services Brokerage: An Educational Brief
2 Introduction With today s fast-paced marketplace, integrating, transforming and managing your enterprise s critical business applications and data is an ongoing challenge. The need to move data seamlessly and quickly in real time is critical to business success. That s why many companies are re-thinking their entire approach to strategic IT initiatives and moving integral parts of their business infrastructure to the cloud. The cloud can reduce technical complexity and IT constraints (by offering computing as a service) and enable enterprises to focus more on their core competencies and business objectives. As a result, companies are increasingly turning to third-party cloud services providers to host various back-office systems and cloud-based applications, such as partner/supplier management and customer relationship management (CRM) databases and applications. Back-office systems and cloud-based applications both on-premise and in the cloud have interdependencies. Business process efficiencies can be enhanced, and valuable information can be obtained by joining these disparate systems across an organization s technical landscape. This level of integration adds power and creates competitive advantage for businesses that develop hybrid IT environments. As cloud and integration are fast becoming the wave of the future, there has been an explosion of cloud services providers focused on helping organizations who are ready to embrace cloud technology more fully and want to outsource many facets of their business to the cloud. However, the cloud isn t an all-in-one solution to all of your technology needs, and no single cloud services provider can fulfill all of the complex requirements of the enterprise environment. More often than not, businesses moving to the cloud will require the services of many providers, and integrating your applications and data between these different providers can be a challenge in itself. Expanding the use of cloud services for both your back-office systems and B2B processes requires a high level of coordination and integration. When you outsource interdependent business processes to multiple cloud services providers, it can become very complex, very quickly. That can mean adding staff and resources whether it s for writing code or just managing the integration process which can chip away at the many of the benefits of cloud. Also, many businesses make the mistake of thinking it will be easy to add one cloud service at a time and don t anticipate the inevitable complexity of integrating multiple providers. To help optimize and simplify these systems and processes, industry experts recommend you engage an integration specialist or cloud services broker (CSB) with experience integrating across the various layers. This will help to avoid the point-to-point conundrum of integrating with traditional on-premise, back-office systems and cloud-based applications. What is a Cloud Services Broker? Every company that adopts a broad cloud computing strategy will encounter, and likely engage, multiple third-party cloud services or data providers. This has led to the emergence of a new model of integration: the cloud services brokerage. A cloud services broker buffers your organization from the technical details of interacting with these clouds. By consolidating (or brokering) multiple cloud services into a single connection, a cloud services broker helps to simplify and leverage cloud services and can aggregate, normalize, customize and enhance business information in the cloud. In the end this gives access to usable information in formats that fit your unique business requirements. The U.S. Department of Commerce s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines a cloud broker as: an entity that manages the use, performance, and delivery of cloud services and negotiates relationships between cloud providers and cloud consumers.
3 NIST identifies three categories of services provided by cloud brokers, including: Service intermediation. Provides value-added services or improves a capability such as managing access to the cloud, performance reporting or security. Service aggregation. Combines and integrates multiple services (for example, by providing data integration or securely moving data between multiple cloud providers). Service arbitrage. Similar to service aggregation, but cloud services are not fixed (for example, checking multiple cloud services for competitive shipping rates or providing access to multiple services). The Cloud Services Model Software as a Service (SaaS): This includes applications such as dashboards and charting programs that help visualize services provided in the cloud. Platform as a Service (PaaS): This layer incorporates tools, capabilities and services that help solve problems. Components of PaaS help take client data and transform it into useful and usable information. Integration Platform as a Service (ipaas): ipaas is an integration specialty that involves the ability to perform integration in the cloud. The Role of the CSB Cloud services brokers handle everything that happens behind the scenes to connect the enterprise to its various cloud service providers. This allows your enterprise to focus on your business and determine ways to leverage cloud services to gain a competitive advantage. Cloud services brokers provide organizations with a single point of entry into multiple clouds. They eliminate the complexity of managing the data integration requirements of interconnected systems and multiple connections by interfacing with other clouds on behalf of their customers. Cloud services brokers who are data management and integration experts are ideally suited to handle the increasing complexity of managing multiple cloud services providers. They manage data and integration requirements to ensure the services interoperate with one another, so your organization doesn t have to. They provide a singular facade service, giving you a single set of coherent uniform services that map to various cloud services providers. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Infastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Anything-as-a-Service Beyond providing a single way of managing multiple disparate cloud services providers, cloud services brokers also provide common visibility. With a framework that manages all of the connections, your business has a common visibility layer to all of the cloud services it uses. Cloud services brokers should also provide all security and certificate requirements in the cloud, on behalf of your business. Choosing the Right CSB It is very important you choose the right cloud services broker. In today s competitive IT marketplace, there are many cloud services brokers emerging, but not all offer the desired flexibility, scalability and value. Your business should thoroughly assess a broker s ability to deliver on the key benefits that can be realized as well as review their track record of success. While most cloud services brokers are typically well versed in taking care of business-to-business (B2B) data translation between trading partners in the cloud, application-to-application (A2A) and other types of integration in the cloud are far more complex.
4 Only highly skilled and experienced cloud services brokers who are data integration, translation and management experts can handle data translation for the most complex A2A projects, freeing internal IT staff to focus on more strategic issues. A top-level cloud services broker should provide a wide range of services, including Any-to-any connectivity to various cloud services providers through one point of entry with a uniform interface to all services B2B and A2A data integration, translation, and management between interdependent back-office services A trading partner management (TPM) relationship, including data requirements, delivery requirements, messaging and communication and formatting Working with a vendor that can address your changing needs as the technical landscape evolves is also important. For example, if a system that was originally integrated as an on-premise solution is now available as a SaaS/cloud-based solution, a cloud services broker can help you migrate to the cloud while keeping your existing integration points intact. Conclusion The unique data integration, transformation and management complexities created by outsourcing to multiple cloud providers is best solved by a cloud services broker experienced in all aspects of data integration, transformation and management. Such entities can manage all of an organization s external cloud connections while enriching the data integration process with validation. Cloud services brokers can help future-proof an organization s business processes by readily scaling resources to help companies adapt to ongoing change. Cloud services brokers also provide flexible and hybrid solutions that can be customized to meet your unique requirements. The Benefits of Using a CSB The ability to integrate your value chain and share information beyond the edge of the enterprise in the cloud with global offices, customers, suppliers and other value chain partners gives you the ability to significantly reduce transaction processing costs, improve customer satisfaction, work more effectively with suppliers, improve order accuracy and increase flexibility, agility and adaptability so you can respond quickly to new challenges. Additional benefits of using a cloud services broker include: Data harmonization and agility. Replicate, cleanse, enrich, and synchronize external application data seamlessly and securely with on-premise enterprise business applications and databases, and realize the benefits of analytics/business intelligence/informatics with data that provides a single version of the truth. Predictable anytime, anywhere access to IT resources. Take data integration, transformation and management capabilities out of their physical silos and make them readily available for whenever and wherever you need them. Flexible scaling of resources. As your business changes, so do your data needs. Scale your data solution investments on-demand for maximum resource optimization. Rapid, request-driven provisioning. Ramp up cloudbased services with a phone call. Lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Expedite delivery of your complex data projects while minimizing resources and costs. About Liaison Technologies As a leading CSB, Liaison leverages its breadth of experience in integration and data management to enable higher levels of agility, flexibility and reliability throughout your cloud integration project. Our proven blend of people, processes and technology delivers solutions that: Have been tailored to reflect the type of challenges and growing complexity that our clients experience at the various stages on their journey to the cloud Achieve the benefits of highly integrated business systems, applications and processes without compromising your architecture or requiring a single-vendor approach Offer the freedom and flexibility of the cloud while leveraging the data models you currently have in place Facilitate speed to value with cost-effective services for any data management or integration scenario
5 A Case Study Mohawk Fine Papers (www. mohawkpaper.com), the largest premium paper manufacturer in North America, successfully implemented a SOA and integration services backbone that combines application-to-application (A2A), B2B and cloud-to-cloud services, using Liaison s cloud services brokerage integration-in-the-cloud solution. As depicted below, Liaison s SOA-based cloud services brokerage backbone provides interoperability between Mohawk s internal and external applications, services and data, and extends this capability to Mohawk s 300 customers and 100 suppliers, partners and external service providers. Using a single connection to all parties such as banks, third-party logistics (3PL) and SaaS providers, including Amazon.com, Authorize.net, StrikeIron and SugarCRM, the cloud services broker simplified Mohawk s B2B and e-commerce strategies and sped up its adoption of cloud computing. The cloud services broker s unified information architecture enables interoperability with Mohawk s business partners and supports seamless integration of on-premises business services with cloud-based business services. Mohawk s IT staff comprised of only six employees can now focus on the formation of business models and business process innovation rather than the technical complexities of managing multiple back-office cloud services. This enables Mohawk, an 80-year old family-owned business, to compete and win against newer startups. By shifting responsibility for cloud services integration to its cloud services broker, Mohawk increased business agility both in terms of integration capabilities and speed/ cost of execution. Mohawk reports they improved time to deployment from months to weeks, achieved an overall reduction of integration project cost by as much as 30 percent and reduced risk through version control and governance. MANUFACTURER 850, , 856 third party e-commerce vendor manufacturer s customer EDI MFTaaS API WS third party e-commerce vendor manufacturer.com web site CATALOG stock check CURRENCY CONVERSIONS address verification manufacturer s customer FINANCIAL payment gateway manufacturing partners logistics partners CRM system orders & contacts In short, [Liaison s cloud integration solution] has transformed our company from a traditional manufacturer toward a service-oriented enterprise embracing internet technologies we have reduced our development time for typical data integration projects from months to weeks. We have observed a 30% reduction in development costs. PAUL STAMAS, MOHAWK PAPER Atlanta US HQ 3157 Royal Drive Building 200, Suite 200 Alpharetta, GA Tel Fax United Kingdom +44 (0) Finland +358 (0) The Netherlands +31 (0) Sweden Liaison Technologies All rights reserved. Liaison is a trademark of Liaison Technologies.