There's a big opportunity in the cloud for a variety of channel companies, but getting to the point of capitalizing on that opportunity can be a costly headache. Take the cloud services broker business model as a good example. There is plenty of interest at all levels of the channel in the CSB model, but getting there is something that is far easier for the larger solutions provider or systems integrator than it is for the smaller firm.

Some organizations are trying to make it easier for the channel to jump into the CSB model, though, providing almost a turnkey operation. One of those is Gravitant, which provides cloudMatrix cloud brokerage-as-a-service.

Although Gravitant exerts most of its energy enabling large systems integrators such as General Dynamics (GD), the State of Texas and GreenPages, it has a smaller base of customers that is growing. Although the larger SIs typically use Gravitant's on-premise platform, small and medium-sized systems integrators now have a way to consume that platform in an as-a-service model.

Gravitant's cloudMatrix is practically a turnkey CSB cloud service that can be launched with a handful of cherry-picked cloud services the fledgling broker can offer to end customers. Or it can be completely customized with apps the CSB itself tests and authorizes for its own apps store.

"Everybody is talking about these concepts, but enabling them is very difficult," said Mohammed Farooq, CEO of Gravitant, in an interview with Talkin' Cloud.

The CSB's role may seem small right now as organizations test the waters by directly subscribing to cloud services, but Gartner predicts 20 percent of cloud services will be secured from CSBs in the next three years. That's tremendous growth, and it seems safe to say that percentage will continue to grow as cloud becomes more mainstream.

"Cloud services brokerages are going to be the central mechanism end users use to buy cloud," said Praveen Asthana, CMO of Gravitant.

Not bad for a business model that is still relatively new. After all, Gravitant itself is a CSB, and it claims it's the oldest CSB after only two years building the business model. Imagine where CSBs will be in another two years.