The cloud is a technological leap into a new environment that provides greater scalability, agility, innovation and possibility. But the move from legacy systems to cloud-driven solutions can be a complex one. If organisations are going to be successful in adopting and exploiting their cloud initiatives, then they will most likely be reliant on experienced Cloud Engineers to provide the implementation leadership on cloud-based systems and processes required. Cloud Engineering is a field of engineering that focuses on cloud services, such as “Software as a Service”, “Platform as a Service”, and “Infrastructure as a Service”. The role of an experienced Cloud Engineer is a complex one that includes an in-depth understanding of cloud architecture, infrastructure, cloud-native software development, container deployment, serverless platforms, automation, continuous integration/deployments, customer microservices, API-based solutions, compliance and security. Their role typically encompasses several technological responsibilities including:
• Assessing existing infrastructure and researching solutions for moving different functions (for example, database storage) to a cloud-based system
• Assessing current applications and business systems and determining the technical feasibility of their migration to the Cloud Platform
• Creating architectures using hyperscale cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure (Azure), Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud
• Migrating existing infrastructures to cloud-based systems
• Implement the supporting cloud functions and processes, for example, disaster recovery, scalability and performance
• Planning, designing and developing a new application on cloud
• Managing security and access of cloud-based systems
• Ongoing operational administration, maintenance, support and troubleshooting
Depending on complexity or scale, cloud plans can take time to execute fully. During this time strategy can change, staff can change and new lines of business can launch. All too often, there are business leaders operating at 30,000 feet and engineering teams at ground level. Cloud Engineers require technical abilities to perform the migration, as well as the ability to negotiate terms with vendors, ensure security of the data and to implement best practices throughout the process. They must also communicate progress to senior management and work closely with IT teams to integrate existing structures into cloud-based systems.
If you are thinking about bringing cloud in-house, make sure you have considered the potential downsides of that approach – as well as some of the benefits working with a managed service provider (MSP) might offer.
Moving your technology applications to the cloud can be a major undertaking, one that needs to see the best possible return on investment. Do you have the in-house cloud engineering resource and expertise, with the training and experience to not only build, but maintain a cloud environment? And is that resource available now or would you have to take them off their normal projects and have them on permanent cloud duty? Building in-house expertise can turn into expensive learning exercises that can often delay and derail results.
If cloud engineering is not a core competency, then perhaps you should consider working with an MSP that can equips your organisation with mission-critical assets, sought after engineering skills and enhanced operational capability and innovative approaches as and when they are needed.
Why companies choose to move to a managed service
There are many factors involved with moving your cloud engineering requirements to a managed service and it is vital to carefully evaluate the pros and the cons. A wise decision will pay you back many times over.
It may be financially beneficial to move some, or all, of your cloud engineering functions to professionals you trust. You need to find the right service provider, one that understands the environment you are using, your specific needs and challenges and provide the sound, independent advice that is to the benefit of your business. Finding a company that has the cloud engineering expertise and experience you need will help you to save on your operations costs and allow you to divert resource that could be better invested elsewhere.
Not every business is the same when it comes to cloud needs, knowledge and ability. You need a service provider that will customise their management capabilities to better suit your specific needs. If you have an IT system in place that works for you and is under the watchful eyes of professionals, you can confidently focus on better ways to increase your sales, expand your business or get your in-house managed in a controlled manner.
The MSP should also take responsibility for ensuring that progress and exceptions are objectively reported to the relevant governance body and stakeholders in a timely and consistent manner through the project workspace and regular face-to-face or online meetings with stakeholders.
One of the biggest benefits of the cloud is scalability. That means that the resources you use in the cloud can grow or shrink seamlessly depending on your company’s needs. Similarly, cloud managed services are also scalable. Your MSP should understand the number of resources you require and accommodate those needs and help you build your cloud up or down.
For some businesses, IT solutions can be a catch-up game because technology moves at such a fast pace that everything they do seems reactionary. The MSP you choose should have strategic relationships with key cloud providers in place and an in-depth understanding of their products and services including Discovery and Migration Tools, Roadmaps and feature sets. Using this knowledge, they should provide independent guidance on where and what to invest in and be able to envision the ideal solution, including appropriate scoping, which considers both technical and non-technical characteristics of your business landscape.
Another potential advantage of working with a MSP is in the cost avoidance associated with failed projects: projects that implement the wrong solutions, those that take longer than planned, or others that are over budget. When these duties are left to internal staff who are typically pulled in several directions, the output is less successful.
An effective Engineer as a Service (EaaS) delivery model should be a catalyst for greater efficiency as it allows an organisation to do more quality work with fewer resources and less risk. Your engineering plans, dependencies, risks and issues, changes, project documentation, quality and costs will all be managed by the service provider through consistent and repeatable standards/methodologies delivering benefits such as greater accountability, continuity, simplified oversight, and the ability to measure project success more effectively. Projects are also more likely to get delivered on time, within budget, and with minimum surprises resulting in improved project success rate within the organisation.
So how do you choose the right service partner?
Choosing the right MSP can make or break your business, so it pays to do some homework. Just like any company, the quality and value are largely determined by the workforce operating behind the scenes. You need to know that the outsourced team that you have committed to have the experience, dedication and motivation that will help your business to thrive.
You need a partner that understands your methodologies, processes and project organisation to make a comprehensive recommendation that ultimately identifies and prioritises project requirements, maps them with business strategy and delivers actionable insights. Only then can they define a roadmap to move from your current “as is” state to your “to be” or desired outcome.
Any managed service must start with some form of in-depth evaluation of your business’ current state including strategic business alignment, scope, planning, prioritisation, budget and risk
Many companies in the managed service market space are most successful as niche players. This type of strategy often produces success and growth because these companies focus exclusively within their core competencies. A logical extension to this strategy is to develop a strong partnership model. This will allow these niche players to provide customers with additional services as an extension of their core capabilities without taking on the infrastructure internally. There are several key elements in the foundation on which a successful partnership model is built.
Find partners that run their business in a complementary pattern to your own. Ensure that they are financially viable, and that this partnership is as important to them as it is to you. Each company selected must also have the training (certification, if required), business practices, and geographic coverage necessary to meet the requirements you define.
Finally imagine being able to hold internal staff to a rigorous service level agreement (SLA) with financial and contractual penalties for missed metrics. Since this may not be feasible, focus your attention instead on defining SLAs with your service partner. The SLA should have strict guidelines for managing scope, quality, budget, schedules, and other risks.
NWT No matter how much planning happens, the journey to the cloud can be unpredictable. Unforeseen issues and roadblocks can present themselves in any complex undertaking – especially when organisations are new to a paradigm-shifting technology like the public cloud. NWT built its EaaS offering in anticipation of the engineering skills essential for organisations wanting to embrace the future and succeed in a world driven by data and insight-rich decision making.
Our experienced Cloud Engineers provide the skills and expertise required to get your cloud transformation right first time. If you are about to kick off a new cloud project or are struggling to keep your current cloud on track, working with NWT will enable you to unite 30,000 feet above ground with ground level. We can provide the Cloud Engineering skills needed to manage cloud-based engagements including an in-depth knowledge of:
• Assessing business infrastructure and migrating different functions to a cloud-based system (across many different platforms)
• Analysing and assessing the current environment
• Using cloud hypervisor products and services including Discovery and Migration Tools, Roadmaps and feature sets
• Cloud migration methodology
• Envisioning the ideal solution including appropriate scoping
• Building a roadmap to success that considers both technical and non-technical characteristics of your business landscape
• Architecture, Software, Security, Data and Networks
• Maintaining ongoing support to ensure continued productivity post-migration
At NWT, we believe that EaaS is about getting new things done as successfully as possible. Our EaaS provides access to high-quality professionals, resources and tools at a flexible and predictable cost.
Our service portfolio offers a true end-to-end service, from cloud IT Advisory, Business Analysis Services through to Programme and Project Delivery ensuring that your cloud technology-oriented projects are conducted in a well-managed, consistent and discipline approach within an assigned budget and in a timely fashion.
Whether you want to kickstart or ramp up a cloud engineering project we can provide the expertise you need on demand. You will be able to dial cloud engineering resource up and down in sync with your delivery needs, giving you more control over your costs.
If you would like to understand more about our EaaS please contact firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your area of interest and a member of our team will contact you to discuss how we can help you.