Most enterprises have a good understanding of their IT needs on the front end. However, when it comes to finding someone to help them configure and run that landscape, very few have a useful framework. Many simply rely on the recommendation of a functional partner for outsourcing cloud services. Others end up relying on buzzwords or trends, or focusing on one factor (such as price per unit of compute) while missing the big picture.
None of these approaches are adequate. Your cloud and hosting partner has your data and landscape in their hands, so their competence (or lack thereof) can make or break your business. Here’s how to move beyond cloud outsourcing roulette and take a true, outcome-based approach.
Brainstorming What You Want From Outsourcing Cloud Services
Start by deciding how much support you want. Outsourcing cloud services can entail anything from basic IT support to a fully managed services partner. What services do you want your cloud-based outsourcing partner to handle? Are your needs going to change in the future?
You also need to consider whether your MSP will be responsible for digital transformation, or just basic day-to-day operations. If transformation is the goal, where are you going, and what skills will it take to get there?
Understanding your goals will let you examine your provider’s competencies and select the right fit. For demanding workloads like SAP HANA®, specific enterprise application expertise and a comprehensive managed services model are critical — particularly if you plan to outsource the day-to-day operations of your landscape.
Security and compliance expertise is also important, as it’s very difficult for most companies to adequately address these needs in-house. You should also consider scalability, and the ability to create highly customized solutions.
Narrowing The Cloud-Based Outsourcing Field
Once you understand what your organization is looking for, it’s time to pick the right service model and identify potential partners. On the one extreme, are hyperscale or commodity cloud providers like AWS. These providers have revolutionized rapid scaling, self-provisioning and automation, which makes them a good choice for testing and development. However, they tend to lack the customizability, enterprise skill set and high-touch service of the managed cloud.
On the other extreme are managed application providers (MAPs). These organizations have historically excelled in demanding workloads, such as SAP or legacy systems like the IBM AS/400. MAPs initially lagged behind hyperscale providers in scalability and automation, but have rapidly closed the gap. As a result, some managed providers such as Symmetry can provide a single-vendor environment that combines support for production and development in a way that hyperscale vendors can’t.
Choosing a Partner for Outsourcing Cloud Services
Your partner should be able to prove their skillset. For example, a company with an SAP focus should have SAP certification in hosting, cloud services and HANA operations, as well as continuous in-house training to hone their consultants’ skills.
Your provider should also be able to establish a track-record of successfully outsourcing cloud services. They should have case studies and customer testimonials addressing use cases comparable to your own. Third-party audits are essential — particularly if you are hosting mission-critical production environments.
Most importantly, they should be able to answer your questions on both the business and technical side. A partner that doesn’t understand how your infrastructure supports your business processes may look good on paper, but can let you down in the long run. This is especially true when outsourcing cloud services to a transformational partner, who will have a major say in the evolution of your cloud and IT infrastructure. Any provider can field techs to check logs and put out fires, but only a few can act as a full extension of your team.
Contact us to learn how Symmetry can support your cloud outsourcing strategy.