Cloud services are increasing the complexity of service provider offerings as well as presenting significant challenges for operational and business support systems. To effectively compete in this environment, service providers must not only innovatively position themselves and their services, but also ensure complete delivery of IT functions to their customers.
The delivery of cloud services often requires network services, computing infrastructure, applications and managed services to be bundled in customized ways. Because of their customized nature, designing these solutions typically requires many iterative steps, which not only results in longer sales cycles but also complicates implementation.
Automating the solution management process is essential to effectively and efficiently controlling the many variables involved in the design, sale and implementation of cloud services. Because today’s complex cloud deployment models require the careful integration of components such as storage and computing systems, MPLS networks, software applications and managed network services, automation ensures all activities are well coordinated and all components function as required. Without such automation, the following outcomes are common:
- Collaboration among personnel who are proposing and delivering sophisticated solutions is difficult, time consuming and error prone.
- Responding to customer-initiated requests (simple or complex) frequently requires one to three weeks.
- Approximately 1/3 of solutions that are sold cannot be implemented as sold.
Additionally, by integrating solution management and fulfillment systems, service providers can significantly improve deployment efficiency as well as increase sales productivity. By better understanding and controlling the solution management lifecycle, service providers can compete more effectively within all types of cloud service offerings, including Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) offerings, which present the most complex challenges.
A Brief Overview of Cloud Service Models and Cloud Deployment Models
The three primary types of cloud service models are Software as a Service (SaaS),