There’s an incredible amount of advice available when it comes to cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions. The advice not only spans an incredible breadth of topics, but also builds in volume with seemingly ever-changing best practices associated with each. However, when you cut through the noise, the conversations that IT solution providers frequently have center around four topics that are foundational to success when developing a channel-specific cloud go-to-market plan.
The Economics of IT
Most cloud solutions offer savings for end users. Some solutions can be maximized, whereas other solutions don’t make sense to move at all. Moving to the cloud can be a significant investment, so understanding the financial underpinnings is critical to successful cloud implementations. Inspection of operational costs and security/compliance practices are obvious starting points. But a best practice is to focus on business agility requirements, which will help paint a picture of exponential value and provide clarity regarding the “gives and takes” related to a cloud technology.
Many of the answers required will lie beyond the IT department. By adopting business consulting best practices to articulate the value, IT solution providers are able to show how the implementation of IaaS solutions can change how the organization uses technology to meet business needs. The adoption of these best practices can range from the adaptation of consulting framework into an existing sales model to the addition of a business unit specializing in business consultation.
This exercise is an opportunity to view IT beyond a cost center and to understand the role it plays in achieving measurable business objectives. Establishing business credibility that allows for creating dialog around business outcomes can greatly improve the relationship between IT solution provider and client.
Understanding the Technology
After establishing a more detailed understanding of the business dynamics, answers need to be found in the current state of technology for an end user. This is the part of the process where data collection comes in to play.
Assessment tools or services deployed by the partner provide the basis of TCO and ROI conversations with the end user. Some applications may be suitable to leave on-premises or in a hybrid environment. Others are ripe for migration to the cloud based on utilization or availability requirements.
Taking inventory of the current technology assets and workloads is a default requirement. But that only goes part of the way. Taking the additional step to tie the technology in place to business outcomes can provide additional insights into which IT is critical to business. When a partner puts it all together, they should have a clear understanding as to what might be quick wins, items that are considered huge moves, those that should simply stay on premises and what can be shut down.
Telling the Story
For an IT solution provider, understanding the environment can be very different than what is required for an end user to understand the current state. Providing reporting that clearly displays this current state in a way that an end user can easily understand is more important than ever. There can be a lot of variables when it comes to a cloud deployment, so organizing the information gathered from assessments in a way that’s consumable for an end user’s IT organization and line of business leaders can make a huge difference. Crafting stories around a couple of options for migration to the cloud that support business outcomes not only creates a logical next step in the journey to the cloud, but can also provide confidence through transparency.
Optimize, Optimize, Optimize
Once the move to the cloud has been finalized, management becomes the priority. While some will categorize the focus as “cost containment,” the real best practice is optimization of ROI.
A standard tool that monitors IaaS utilization to signal cost overrun or outlier activity needs to be deployed. This tool will allow for the setting of thresholds or monitoring usage at the user level.
One interesting best practice deployed by IT solution providers is reporting that makes the connection between technology consumption and business outcomes. Reporting connects the dots between the business and economic benefits outlined at the start of the engagement to the costs of technology measured while the IaaS solution in production closes the loop.
These best practices for cloud go-to-market topics not only create a basis for success for an IT solution provider, but if executed consistently, can also be a true differentiator.
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