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The role of a trusted partner in unlocking the true potential of cloud

March 14, 2023

Abhishek Das   

Abhishek Das, Regional Head Cloud and Security Service, Tata Communications

To unlock the true potential of the cloud, organisations need a trusted partner to help guide them through the journey of migrating to the cloud. In this article, Abhishek Das, Regional Head of Cloud and Security Service, examines the hallmarks of a trusted cloud partner and the attributes to keep in mind when choosing one.

Greg Anderson once said, “Focus on the journey, not the destination”. Your journey to the cloud is accurately reflected in this statement. It’s a quest to streamline and automate workflows, increase flexibility, optimise performance, and control costs – all to drive growth and enhance the customer experience.

Given these benefits of the cloud, it’s not surprising that the cloud migration services market size is expected to reach $515.83 billion by 2027. But enterprises need to feel and be confident of the business outcomes of cloud migration before they decide to adopt it. Identifying the technological features of cloud transformation may be easy, but the real challenge lies in adopting them.

The pathway to the cloud is riddled with complexities. When looking to migrate to the cloud, technology chiefs are often concerned with defining the business logic, as well as getting to grips with the existing landscape, legacy issues, and compliance and risk considerations.

“Although comprehending cloud tools and technology may be relatively simple, the implementation, management, improvement, and innovation aspects are often overlooked when devising plans for cloud migration journeys.”

Therefore, a cloud partner (CP) with managed service capabilities has a prominent role to play. The CP defines the roadmap, setting a clear pathway to a future-ready cloud platform.

The big question is: what is the hallmark of a trusted CP, and what attributes should you keep in mind when choosing one?

Who is your ideal cloud partner?

Today, customers are not only looking for best-in-class solutions for their business but also trusted advisors throughout their transformation journey. Finding the right partner, at the right time, with proven skills and experience is the secret to a high-impact innovation journey.

“Your CP needs to have a deep understanding of business functions, objectively define the existing IT landscape, create a solution blueprint and align the outcomes with business objectives.”

They also need to be well-versed in the latest cloud technologies and best practices, with a proven record of successful cloud implementations.

Offering a consultative approach, the right partner will suggest a migration strategy that helps you reap the maximum benefits of cloud adoption. They simplify the whole life cycle of cloud adoption – from planning to migration to maintenance. When searching for a CP, it is crucial to consider their level of proficiency and past experiences. Your CP must be well-versed in the latest cloud technologies and best practices with a proven track record of successful cloud implementations.

Here we outline four ways in which the ideal CP can help you unlock the true potential of the cloud.

1. Simplify cloud adoption

Most platform providers pitch their native tools and cloud features. However, one of the most important steps in the cloud adoption journey is to first identify and evaluate the current landscape.

The right partner has the expertise and tools to decipher what is running in the customer’s environment and how it can be seamlessly migrated and integrated with new systems. They can evaluate and articulate the need for modernisation. According to Gartner, application assessment is the most critical phase in a cloud migration project.

“The CP must study the client’s environment to establish its technological maturity and readiness.”

It is equally important to understand the scope of IT operations in the present scenario and how well can the existing systems connect to new-age platforms. Some of the aspects the CP needs to delve into include application categorisation, the network architecture, system, and user configurations, the extent of automation, security frameworks, current sales level agreements (SLAs) and conformance to compliances.

A simple lift and shift cloud migration strategy can result in project failure for enterprises – research shows that over 30% of cloud initiatives fail. The right CP, with a sound migration strategy, factors in what needs to be changed, the pace of the roll-out, and marks the milestones along the way.

They help design, integrate, migrate and manage cloud services with their proven framework. CPs assume cloud advisory positions to guarantee deployment and oversee operations that help businesses navigate through their cloud journey.

2. Streamline cloud control and operations

The magic of cloud computing lies in it being a journey. Seldom is it considered to be the end destination. Setting up a cloud environment involves multiple stakeholders – from cross-functional teams of customers to the cloud platform provider to the cloud partners. Given this complex ecosystem, it becomes critical for the CP to provide support during this onboarding process.

Your CP should be able to support existing processes, adhere to standardisations and strive for improvisation with minimal disruptions to customer operations before, during, and after cloud transitions. They should add value to the business at each layer of technological and service integration. The CP brings together a bundle of services.

“The ideal CP is expected to anticipate the risks involved, mitigate operational issues, and respond with agility during the entire process of project implementation, as well as the entire life cycle of the project.”

Performance monitoring becomes critically important to help identify non-conformities and over or under-provisioning in the client’s IT environment. The right CP will not only optimise and automate cost control but also safeguard your existing investments, wherever possible. They should be able to initiate remediations on the fly and provide actionable insights into the health of your systems through state-of-the-art monitoring systems, IT service management tools and IT infrastructure library -based frameworks.

3. Governance risk and compliance

Cloud cybersecurity is a significant challenge for enterprises adopting the cloud, with, 88% of board directors viewing cybersecurity as a business risk. Ensuring data security in the cloud is, however, no easy feat.  Transitioning a client’s security control to the cloud could highlight a number of vulnerabilities, particularly given the phenomenal recent increase in threat vectors and advancements in vulnerabilities – something which requires continuous re-evaluation of cloud infrastructure from a security perspective.

A secure transition framework should deploy industrialised cybersecurity capabilities from day zero – that is, the day the customers first think of developing their cloud footprint.

“The right CP enhances security measures in the new platform dynamically, as per regulatory guidelines and the requirements of the client.”

CPs help manage such complexities in the client’s IT environment, emphasising the use of the right mix of cloud-native and third-party tools to ensure cloud protection for organisations.

A CP with sound security service capabilities can help organisations build the right cloud security foundation. There has been a phenomenal increase in the threat vectors and advancements in vulnerabilities that requires a continuous re-evaluation of cloud infrastructure from the security perspective.

CPs bring in an extra hand to manage such complexities in the client’s IT environment. They emphasise the use of the right mix of cloud-native and third-party tools to ensure cloud protection for organisations. Your CP should be invested in enhanced technologies like security operations centers and advanced cybersecurity tools to detect non-conformities and manage the IT landscape comprehensively. This would help organisations pre-empt vulnerabilities and respond to incidents in a timely manner. It can also provide technology leaders with a dashboard view of all resources and controls to enhance business efficiencies.

4. Ensure the availability of skilled resources

The absence of specialised IT skills directly hampers an organisation’s digital capabilities, restricting them from addressing changing business requirements. In fact, organisational agility cannot exist without the appropriate skills. Without the right talent, enterprises end up dealing with greater complexities and spend more time scaling and managing computing resources.

“While IT leaders try to manage a team of in-house IT specialists, the challenge of hiring, nurturing and retaining staff in specialised technologies across geographies can increase costs and open up potential compliance risks.”

To navigate this, IT leaders can leverage the capabilities of a CP with industry experience, so they don’t have to become experts in every aspect of cloud technology themselves.

Skilled and certified professionals from a CP can manage your IT setups tactfully. The trusted CP regularly invests in building and developing skilled staff to enable seamless customer IT operations on the cloud. Integrated support from an experienced and certified team ensures that IT leaders can maximise the value of their cloud environment and get back to focusing on their business.

Charting cloud migrations with the right CP

As technology evolves, so must our infrastructure and the cloud is no exception. Hence, customers require an experienced partner who can provide a holistic migration approach framework. One who weaves together a solution that encompasses digital infrastructure of cloud, network, security, and data center, as well as possess the required skill sets and expertise, and have the ability to integrate new technologies within the SLA requirements.

“Customers should prioritise choosing the right CP before choosing their cloud platform.”

Therefore, organisations must aim at onboarding experienced CPs with proven track records, a CP that offers unified cloud experiences. Recent evolutions in cloud computing make subject matter experts indispensable. They help accelerate and achieve technological and business objectives through proactive suggestions and knowledge sharing.

They should dedicate time and resources to establish clear parameters for selecting a CP and define the criteria they must fulfil to ensure the overall success of their digital transformation journey.

To learn about how organisations can adopt a ‘cloud smart’ approach, click here.