19 December 2016 3:12PM
By Paul Dunlop

The first part of this blog introduced the concept of Next Generation Managed Services and discussed 3 benefits.  Here in the second part we will cover:

  • Improved collaboration

  • Improved communication systems

  • Increased productivity

 

In this blog post I will cover the following aspects:

  • Industry expertise and insights

  • IT and Business Goals and Alignment

  • Long-Term IT Strategic Plan

 

Industry expertise and insights

Traditional Managed Services providers are expert in “on premise” networks housed in Data centers. Next Generation Managed Services requires a view on cloud computing paradigms.

Whilst this means a Next Generation Managed Service Provider (NGMSP) continues to play the role of a trusted advisor, they now focus on your cloud journey.

The following knowledge and capabilities are required to be an successful NGMSP:

  • Application Re-Architecting, to make apps take advantage of cloud native offerings and API microservices

  • Cloud native product skills such as AWS Simple Queue Service , Simple Notification Service, Elastic Beanstalk or Lambda so as to integrate these into the next generation application stack.

  • Self healing, making systems have the ability to perceive that they are not operating correctly and, without human intervention, make the necessary adjustments to restore itself to normal operation

  • Cloud automation, to ensure that infrastructure is being built in a way that is repeatable, version controlled, and re-deployable in the event of disaster

NGMS Providers, like API Talent, who can successfully advise and provide insights into these topics and are invaluable resources on your cloud journey.  Lifting and shifting your infrastructure into the cloud may not amount to huge cost savings on its own. It might, but not necessarily. One has to re-develop their application stack to take full advantage of the cloud to receive full advantage of cost savings and elasticity.

IT and Business Goals and Alignment

This is an area that closely aligns in both the old and new paradigm.

Typically Business goals on how IT is used in a company revolve around ensuring IT is cost effective, returning on its investment, and increasing the revenue of a company.

These goals are no different when using the cloud, however the conversation inevitably ends in a capex vs opex argument.

While a NGMSP helps customers optimise for the cloud and unlock agility and innovation an NGMSP need to be mindful their customers “maturity” when it comes to financial models.

Depending on how a company derives profit a CAPEX model may be preferred. In these cases an NGMSP like API Talent adds value by managing the Reserved Instance model for cloud compute. This can be integrated into customers capex financial planning. There will always be an aspect of OPEX when working with the cloud however. Things such as data transfer charges, snapshots etc are never going to be depreciated.

It is therefore very important for companies to have a cloud adoption strategy.

Which is a nice segway into the next topic.

Long-Term IT Strategic Plan

An NGMSP should work with customers to develop cloud adoption strategies for their organisation. Doing so helps answer questions and educate customers on the new cloud paradigm. Living in the cloud involves an internal evolution of existing frameworks, governance and processes, tools and company culture.

I’m not going to go so far as to say “Instill DevOps into your company”.  The definition and debate about what DevOps actually is just obscures my point.

My point being, In order to be successful in using the cloud, you need to modify your IT culture, processes and tools to work for the cloud.

Doing so will remove traditional inefficiencies and pave the way to building cloud platforms that make efficient, scalable applications that save you money.

AWS provide a gateway for this with the publication of their Cloud Adoption Framework. When working with a strategic managed services partner such as API Talent, your cloud journey becomes much easier.

At API Talent, as an AWS consulting partner, we help customers walk through the Cloud Adoption Frameworks perspectives. These perspectives are as follows:

  • Business Perspective – represents the areas that we focus on to ensure that technology services are utilised in an optimum way to deliver maximum value.

  • Platform Perspective – represents the areas that we focus on to ensure solutions are architected and designed in an optimum way to achieve the expected levels of functionality and quality while balancing the cost of building and operating the solution.

  • Maturity Perspective – represents the areas that we focus on to ensure that an accurate initial assessment of the current state is carried out and the desired target state is defined, and a viable roadmap is created to move the organization forward.

  • People Perspective – represents the areas that we focus on to ensure the organisational structures and competencies exist to successfully implement, operate and manage an AWS cloud-based environment.

  • Process Perspective – represents the areas that we focus on to ensure the business processes are in place to plan, implement, and operate a cloud-based IT environment.

  • Operations Perspective – represents the areas that we focus on to ensure the AWS environment can be efficiently operated to meet or exceed the service levels that have been agreed upon, with effective use of automation to minimise manual effort.

  • Security Perspective – represents the areas that we focus on to adopt a comprehensive approach to implementing security within the AWS environment and software solutions that it supports.

As you can see, a company’s cloud journey is not just about technology in the cloud. It is also about the company's executive team understanding how to position the cloud to be an effective tool in the ICT arsenal.

An effective NGMSP knows this and works to be a strategic partner integrating themselves with their customers in all aspects of their cloud journey.

This concludes this segment in my series of blog posts about what next generation managed services means.

In my next post I will deep dive into the following areas:

  • Lower IT Costs

  • Low-to-no Infrastructure investment

  • Manageable Billing Schedules