There is no disputing that both enterprises and service providers are embracing cloud.  What’s different today is that not only are telcos cloud providers, but enterprises and governments are also becoming cloud providers through a community cloud model.

A community cloud model is a collaborative effort where infrastructure is shared and  jointly accessed by several organizations from a specific group that share specific computing concerns such as, security, compliance or jurisdiction considerations. The community cloud can be either on-premises or off-premises, and can be governed by the participating organizations or by a third-party managed service provider.

A community cloud model   helps offset common challenges across universities, government agencies and enterprises,such as  cost pressures, technology complexity, and spending requirements, security concerns and a lack of sector specific services from service providers.

I recently had the chance to participate in a new Cloud Insights Video Podcast to discuss how CIOs can transform their enterprise IT delivery models and how Cisco is supporting service providers in developing their cloud execution strategies.

User Organizations Are Becoming Cloud Vendors

CIOs have recognized that greater business outcomes can  be delivered for their customers by working together to resolve common challenges and realize common opportunities. It’s also becoming clear to them that using a community cloud model for cloud services is an innovative way to help deliver  on these outcomes.

As we’ve worked with CIOs in governments and universities across various geographies, , we have focused on  building a shared understanding of what can be achieved by moving common services, which are not seen as differentiated to the business, into a community cloud model. For example, all universities offer human resources as a service, and student enrollment services and financial aid services are not considered differentiated. So why not have it as a shared community service that reduces cost outlay and redirects the savings to innovative learning experiences for students?

Changes That CIOs Should Be Driving

CIOs are coming together and combining IT organizations to become service organizations. This requires that they consider:

    • What services need to be delivered via a cloud model?
    • What the proper operating model, governance and organization structure should be be implemented to manage the delivery of  services?
    • Financial transparency – what would the services cost to deliver?

So does that mean that service providers are going away? What is the value that they will be adding?

Service providers are not going away. However, as I speak  with service providers across the world, I hear that they are considering driving value-added services well beyond that of the standard Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and are rapidly evaluating delivering a differentiated services catalog. In speaking with a few European service providers, the discussions have shifted to offering differentiated services, such as  health exchange and using video to reach rural parts of the region. These types of services were not discussed six months ago, but they are coming up in conversations today.

There are three tips for CIOs to remember as they consider  a federated and community cloud model:

    • The service catalog and roadmap must be relevant to the business.
    • Stakeholder and partnership alignment are  important.
    • Financial transparency must be a  critical component

Cisco helps service providers develop their cloud execution strategies. Visit Cloud Executive Perspectives to get additional cloud insights for IT leaders and subscribe to the Cisco Cloud Insights video podcast channel on iTunes or via RSS.  Additional Cisco Cloud Insights videos can also be found here.



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Manjula Talreja

Vice President, Global Cloud Practice

Cisco Consulting Services