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Communication service providers committed almost $8 billion
to cloud-related pursuits in the first six months of 2011, but recent
acquisitions won’t boost cloud revenues overnight and service
differentiation remains poor, according to Informa Telecoms &
Media’s Telecom Cloud Monitor, an analytical tool evaluating CSP’s
cloud strategies. The tool tracks the cloud-related activities of 90
CSP groups worldwide, including their interactions with more than 240
cloud-related equipment, software and services vendors.

The Informa report estimated that the typical CSP generates less
than 5 percent of its enterprise revenues from annuity cloud services.
Despite growing customer wins, some CSPs need to muster 10-fold growth
to hit publicized cloud revenue targets. Of the 10 acquisitions and 21
investments announced in the first half of 2011, 80 percent involved
data centers, highlighting CSPs’ desire to bulk up on physical assets
to sell virtual goods.

“Recent multiples paid for so-called cloud assets aren’t at Enron
Era levels, but they are generous,” said Camille Mendler, principal
analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. “More worryingly, the
companies acquired – although growing – generate a sixth or less of
their revenues from pure cloud services.”

On current performance, Informa concluded that many CSPs are
swapping their dumb-pipe problem for a dumb cloud: 70 percent of the 88
cloud services launched in the first half of 2011 were generic
productivity and storage applications, often involving partners
claiming a major share of the takings. “Software as a service is a loss
leader for most CSPs: Partners like Google, Microsoft and Salesforce
offer great tools, but they want their pound of flesh,” said Mendler.
“Profitable differentiation lies in securing seamless access to
enterprises’ digital assets, not just SaaS resale.”

Informa warned CSPs not to squander their powerful differentiators
in the cloud marketplace and suggested they should create high-value
community clouds to serve the needs of specific vertical industries,
secure cloud access via any device in audited compliance with local
laws and mobilize the cloud to transform business processes
encompassing people and embedded devices.

The Telecom Cloud Monitor is an analytical tool from Informa
Telecoms & Media’s Enterprise Verticals practice. The tool tracks
and evaluates the global cloud-related activities of 90 communication
service provider groups worldwide, including investments, customer
wins, service launches and partnerships with more than 240
cloud-related equipment, software and services vendors since 2005.