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Here Come the Cloud Services Brokers

As companies start shifting computing tasks to outside providers in the cloud, intermediaries have emerged to help them do it. Systems Integrator Appirio has already made a name for itself

Flextronics (FLEX) Chief Information Officer David Smoley is quickly overcoming the misgivings over security and reliability he once harbored about entrusting computing tasks to outside providers.

One of his biggest concerns now is to make sure the various cloud services work well together—and are compatible with existing systems. Instead of buying hardware and software and managing e-mail and other applications internally, CIOs like Smoley can now rent those capabilities from such companies as Microsoft (MSFT) or Google (GOOG), much the way consumers use Hotmail or Gmail. Yet setting up cloud services for a large corporation is far more complex than it is for a consumer or small business. "We don't have folks who are experts on this," says Flextronics' Smoley.