Across industries, organizations continue their adoption of public cloud services. Some are turning to Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and similar offerings to supplement their existing internal needs. Meanwhile, other organizations are born in the cloud, launching new businesses that rely on these cloud services without ever implementing in-house data centers.

Why are these companies choosing cloud? They want to capitalize on the well-known advantages of cloud services, including flexibility, agility, access to cutting-edge technologies, and OpEx cost models.

But many are also adopting the cloud as part of a larger business and industry transformation. For example, many organizations are making the transition from delivering physical products to services to stay competitive in the marketplace and adapt to rapidly changing customer demands. Instead of creating a new physical product that serves a single function, they are adopting a more flexible approach to problem-solving—one that centers on software.

These organizations are creating innovative new applications that are the core components and drivers of their business. When it’s time to deploy those applications, they turn to the cloud. Public cloud services are often the most effective and efficient way to deliver applications to customers across the globe

Facing Cloud Management Challenges

While the cloud offers the promise of significant benefits, managing public—and hybrid—cloud environments can also present significant challenges.

 

  1. In-house teams can’t keep up with cloud innovation. Microsoft, Amazon, and Google are continuously innovating, launching new features and incorporating cutting-edge technologies into their offerings faster than enterprises can adopt them and become proficient in their use.

Some born-in-the-cloud companies or startups might be able to keep up—at least for a little while. But for the vast majority of organizations using public cloud services, innovations occur too quickly for in-house teams to take full advantage of them. Internal IT groups might be three to five years behind the curve, perhaps shorter for more agile companies. These organizations would need to find, hire (often at great expense), and continually train employees so the business could tap into the new features and capabilities offered by cloud providers.

And what about organizations whose main business is not technology? For a trucking company that needs to move physical products from one place to another, hiring additional technology staff to manage an increasingly complex hybrid cloud environment would quickly diminish many benefits of using the cloud in the first place.

 

  1. Day-to-day infrastructure management pulls resources away from development. Organizations want to focus on offering new services based on innovative software. The more time and money they spend on integrating their new software with cloud-based services and managing infrastructure components, the less time and money they have for software development.

Once new software is created, many organizations could benefit from turning over the deployment and ongoing management to someone else. They need a partner who can help ensure the infrastructure is running as it should, the software is meeting service-level agreements, and all patches and updates are up to date.

 

  1. Cloud costs can escalate quickly. Moving from the CapEx model used for traditional data center infrastructure to an OpEx model for cloud services can be financially beneficial for many organizations. But the new model can represent a significant departure from their current model and seem extremely complex. If those organizations are not careful, cloud costs can rise rapidly.

Traditional data centers have built-in limitations. For example, you can house only so many physical servers within one facility before you need to add additional facilities. Most in-house teams also implement governance policies to manage resource utilization and keep costs in check.

Public cloud services do not automatically have the same guardrails in place. Business teams might continue to consume more and more cloud resources without understanding the financial implications. To avoid cost escalation, many organizations using cloud services need assistance tracking resource utilization across their hybrid environment, implementing governance policies, and maintaining clear visibility into current and future costs.

Maximizing the Value of the Cloud with Managed Cloud Services

Managed cloud services can help your organization address these challenges and realize the full value and benefits of the cloud. Working with a managed services partner can alleviate the burden of keeping up with the latest innovations from cloud providers—you can rely on outside experts to learn about new features and find ways to capitalize on them. In addition, outsourcing infrastructure management enables you to focus your time and budget on application development.

Working with a managed services partner can also help you control costs. You can collaborate with your partner on defining policies that help ensure your users access the resources they need without exceeding your budget.

Of course, the managed services provider you choose must do more than administer your public cloud usage. You need a partner who can help you manage your entire hybrid cloud—including the cloud environment within your own data center walls. And just as important, that provider should offer you tools for directly accessing cloud resources and collaborating on management and planning.

What will the right managed cloud services look like?  Learn more.

My next blog post will define key attributes of a successful managed services platform, and highlight ways you can take advantage of managed services to accelerate your organization’s digital transformation.

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