I don't know if you saw the announcement this morning from Sprint, but Sprint is using Parallels for cloud services - for Sprint's Carefree Cloud service and IT Helpdesk offerings.
"Bringing Office 365 to market quickly required close collaboration with Parallels and the deployment of its service delivery system, Parallels Automation. This comprehensive solution enables many of the features and use cases that differentiate Sprint's productivity suites in the marketplace."
I really like this: "This collaboration builds upon the expanding portfolio of cloud-based solutions that Sprint has been focused on launching this year. This portfolio includes Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) planned for launch in late 2012 and Sprint Complete Collaboration, a Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) solution launched earlier this year. Sprint also is delivering an innovative private-label cloud services platform to wholesale customers today, enabling them to quickly deliver simple and affordable brand-name software services to SMBs."
Sprint's IAAS will be delivered through a partner, CSC. For speed to market, companies are leveraging other companies that are already in the market delivering services (or they buy them). There is a tremendous CAPEX behind do-it-yourself cloud - servers, switches, routers, power, bandwidth- and expertise. It is cheaper to buy it than build it.
"Sprint Complete Collaboration bundles all elements needed to deploy UC, including: connectivity through SIP Trunking, IP and video telephony, integrated messaging, collaboration tools, user endpoints and enhanced mobile integration." This is a Hosted Cisco offering, which is strange considering that Sprint offers an FMC (fixed mobile convergence) service via a mixture of MVNO, MPLS and Broadsoft.
While it is smart to be offering cloud services, the challenge will be deployment and on-boarding customers. That is where the rubber meets the road.