While technology grows faster, simpler, less costly, a majority of companies still struggle with IT operations. Systems engineers spend too much time fighting fires or nursing their infrastructures. The average tenure of systems engineers continues to shorten, while software developers grow frustrated and leave without hesitation to greener pastures. The impacts include projects experiencing repeated delays.
What are the most forward-looking enterprises doing about it? By peering into a leading edge, high-growth market, light gets shed on how even blue chip companies leverage partners to springboard into newer architectures and processes.
Globally, the market for cloud-managed services providers is growing at a healthy clip of 15% per year. Forecasts suggest it will be a $55 billion market by 2023 [MarketWatch, 2019]. What is propelling this growth at this rate—to partner with providers on issues of infrastructure, security and DevOps?
- Move infrastructure to private cloud: Enterprises value the experience of partners, who have made the most of older infrastructures in order to create more nimble, responsive private clouds.
- Re-host legacy applications: Enterprises will leverage the partner’s experience to transform invaluable legacy applications into IaaS models for public or private use.
- Migrate custom or legacy applications: Partners who have tackled factoring and re-writing large legacy applications can make migrations into self-service models less risky.
- Replace infrastructures with IaaS and SaaS: Where cost barriers permit—or aging infrastructures simply have run their course—partners apply know-how gained from multiple similar engagements.
Options for Moving to Cloud Management
Undoubtedly, some proportion of enterprises will manage their migrations of code and infrastructure by themselves. Some have confidence and made internal commitments on account of key employees bringing expertise in-house. Other large companies will go it alone to keep control of their projects, intellectual property—or simply a self-perception that it should be a core competency.
Others may begin with a consultant or managed service provider (MSP), grasp the tools and methodologies, then transition into self-management of the process. Downsides typically involve longer total project times and risks include the departure of key personnel on initiatives often taking one, two or more years.
Other enterprises already may be down the road with a specific platform, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure. They may seek out a “best in class” boutique MSP with a portfolio of projects involving the platform. These MSPs bring the people and collective expertise to best partner with the internal team. Should the program reach outside the scope of the partner, the enterprise may face certain limitations or delays to fill the gaps.
But the reality remains that the majority of MSPs in this fast-growing space are what may be termed, niche providers. This means the alternates for the enterprise may involve very large consultancies with fees out of their price range—and who may not actually promise any more stability of their talent or proof of past work.
Enterprise Cloud-managed Service Provider
Dialing out for a moment, it is highly likely that hybrid IT environments will continue to dominate the CIO’s or CTO’s ultimate vision. Spending on hybrid cloud spending has nearly tripled over recent years. Data centers continue to persist, handling workloads cost-efficiently while others move to private or public clouds. This necessarily causes a certain level of complexity to persist over time, and the right enterprise partner can bring a broad range of skill sets and ways to manage hybrids—without the enterprise having to staff every brand of expertise who may not be needed full-time.
Determining the Right Partner
How should an enterprise begin thinking about a selection process for the right partner? Obviously, experience with the platforms and technologies of choice makes sense. But the soft side of the equation is the enterprise’s vision for its own talent and staff development. What should be the core competencies of the IT organization to not just keep up—but get out and lead—the vision of the organization and its mission?
When looking at partners, forward-looking enterprises will consider leaders who have a vision and focus on a more agile, turnkey future for their clients—above and beyond picking the best-of-breed technologies.
These partners have looked across the range of their many clients’ needs to arrive at a business model geared for the future. Today, the client is focused on cloud services and automation, next it may be optimization or legacy migration. The right partner is thinking ahead. It is not just about what technologies are on the tool bench, but the talent they retain and develop—to help the enterprise move away from old IT’s fixed silos and fire-fighting and into an “agile capacity” model for talent and expertise.