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Best Practice - Procuring cloud via cloud brokers

An evident barrier for procurement of cloud services is the contrast between outdated procurement practices and emerging standard practices in the business world. Cloud Service Brokers (CSB) act as an intermediary and aggregator of services provided by different cloud service providers and can reduce this barrier.

  • An independent perspective can be a real benefit to a project, therefore a brokerage should be wholly independent of the cloud service providers so the end customer can be assured the solution and commercial aspects are fit for purpose.
  • In the cloud procurement landscape section we mentioned the need for skills and education. Procuring cloud services via a broker should reduce the need for training and educating internal staff working on the demand side.
  • A brokerage should be supplying cloud buying and analysis skills on a fractional basis, saving the end customer time and money.

A recent (January 2016) call for tender was jointly launched by twenty EU agencies which shared the same needs and expectations in the cloud service market. In order to optimise the use of EU public funds, the agencies (with the European Food Safety Authority acting as Lead Authority) pooled resources and launched a call for tenders as an interagency joint procurement estimated to be worth €65m over 7 years.
The call will establish the framework for a supply channel for multiple types of multi-sourced cloud services in order to:

  • aggregate the demands across the different participating EU agencies,
  • act for EU agencies as a single point of contact and management of multiple cloud service providers,
  • ensure a vendor-neutral framework and create a level playing field for the cloud providers to offer and compare their cloud offerings,
  • provide integrated brokerage negotiation (e.g. contracts, terms and conditions, SLA, security and data protection clauses) and service delivery with leading cloud service providers operating in Europe.

The goal is to provide a self-service Cloud Management Platform (CMP) to:

  • present, purchase, provision, monitor and manage cloud resources,
  • provide a centralised, transparent and uniform billing and invoicing of the consumed services,
  • ensure flexibility and scalability, including the possibility to charge cloud resources according to the “pay-per-use” model,
  • ensure compliance with security, data protection and audit requirements,
  • ensure portability and interoperability among the different cloud providers,
  • provide complementary, cloud specialised value-added services, such as connectivity services, extended managed services, virtual desktop services, backup services, disaster recovery services, cloud consultancy services and channel catalogue services.

This tender is complementary to the first Call for Tender for Cloud Services (CLOUD I) awarded by DG DIGIT in February 2016. This is a four-year €34m procurement in three ‘lots’ (public and private IaaS and public PaaS) as part of the EC’s move towards cloud solutions for providing internal services.