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Do you trust your cloud platform service provider?

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Trust is important for all users of online services, but when we think of trust, it’s usually Handshake closeupabout consumers and how they feel about transacting online. In this piece, I want to focus on the trust that cloud platform providers must earn from their customers—the consumers and service providers who transact on their platforms—and how this trust can help the platform provider gain more business.

As an analogy, consider shopping for a shirt. How do you choose from among the thousands of retail stores that sell shirts in malls, warehouses and online? Do you look for a shirt that is well-made, perhaps one that is branded from a quality manufacturer? Or is price your main concern?

If you are like many people, you care about the quality or brand as well as the retailer from which you purchased it. You may have an allegiance to a certain brand of shirt and a certain store.

Brand loyalty for products or services is easy to understand. After all, manufacturers and service providers work hard to build brands that stand for high-quality offerings that are well designed, thoroughly tested, and provide superior value. But do you care about the trustworthiness of the retail store?

The retail store facilitates consumption. If the retailer is trustworthy, more manufacturers come to it to sell their wares. In turn, more customers are drawn in by the variety of offerings. The retailer thus helps both manufacturers and customers become more successful in their objectives.

This translates to the cloud as well. The shirt purchaser is now the service consumer, the shirt manufacturer is the service provider, and the retailer is the service platform provider. So you can see that:

• If the cloud provider is not trusted, service buyers will not come to it.
• If buyers come but they do not make a purchase or make purchases of a specific kind, service providers may choose not to come to the platform.
• If a platform is selective about the types of buyers and sellers they keep and promote, it can have better control over its business ecosystem.
• The platform can provide value-added services, which act as a differentiator, to bring buyers and sellers to one platform over another.

Cloud platform service providers can build trust and use it to provide valuable assurances in the ecosystem. Here are some examples:

• Service users (buyers) can select services knowing that they have undergone basic verification for correctness of capability and performance claims.
• Service providers (sellers) can offer services knowing that users have a track record of not causing harm to providers.
• A composable integration environment will motivate service consumers to explore new, potentially better, services and inspire providers to keep innovating. This contributes to a steady revenue stream to the platform provider.

There is room for innovation. For instance, I think new solutions will emerge to measure, use, and promote trustworthiness of cloud platform providers.

What do you think? I will be happy to hear your opinion below or on Twitter at @biplav_s.

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