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How a cloud “platform-plus” can address the need for speed – and more

  • Posted on March 28, 2017

When I talk with clients about why they want to move to the cloud, I hear a common theme: They’re looking for speed.

Now, speed may mean different things to different people. Some companies want to get their products to market faster. Others need to react more quickly to customer needs. And still others want to be able to adapt more easily to changing market conditions. Or, more likely, it’s a combination of some or all of the above.

Whatever the objective, a cloud technology platform like Microsoft Azure or AWS can deliver the speed businesses are looking for. But that’s only part of the picture. In our experience running cloud managed services for dozens of clients, we’ve learned a thing or two about the strengths and weakness of platforms and the cloud.

While cloud technology platforms provide real value, they typically don’t meet the complete needs of most enterprises. For that, you need a cloud managed services platform, where the technology serves as the base and additional services – tools, processes, people – surround the technology. It’s these additional services that are the real key.

Filling a gap with a “platform-plus”

This type of platform enhances the technology provided by the vendors and fills a gap that exists for most enterprises today. It provides the ability to automate and industrialize IT functions delivered as a managed service using people and cloud-based tools. Think of it as a “platform-plus” that accelerates business outcomes leveraging cloud managed services.

This extended platform provides enterprises with another level of automation, monitoring and management. It helps businesses deal with complexity, which is one of the key barriers to the speed that they’re looking for with the cloud. And the cloud is global, so your platform solutions need the people to support them globally. The extended platform is the combination of globally distributed people, using tools and processes to manage complex cloud workloads. I like to use the metaphor of a cloud managed services “easy button,” which can move you to the cloud faster and address complexity so you don’t have to become an expert or train all your people to be experts. The platform-plus does it for you.

The benefits of a cloud managed services platform extend beyond the speed that can be achieved with a standard cloud technology platform. For example, an extended platform provides self-service (in the form of service catalogs, dashboards, reports, etc.) as well as automation (templates, script libraries, orchestration, workflows). And a globally distributed core services team provides maturity and scalability for common ITIL processes.

Integrating on-premises and cloud is key

Most importantly, a platform-plus provides an added level of integration. Many of the integration points that you took for granted when they were in your data center – like security, network access, management and monitoring – present new integration challenges when distributed in the cloud and on-premises. Will your security systems talk to each other? Will your reporting systems talk? That’s a key benefit from a cloud managed services platform: It connects your on-premises ITIL processes to the cloud.

But how do you build a cloud managed services platform that’s right for your business? And what kind of role will platforms play in the coming years? I’ll address those questions in subsequent posts. Stay tuned.

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