How to prepare for the increasing demand for cloud-ready partners

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How to prepare for the increasing demand for cloud-ready partners
There are 5 key considerations along the path from a traditional data centre to a modern cloud practice.

With Gartner predicting that total spending on public cloud services in Australia will hit $18.7 billion in 2022, there is a strong demand for more cloud-ready players to enter the market. While developing or managing cloud workloads has traditionally been the domain of specialists, we’re now finding that partners of all types are working with customers who have cloud workloads.

However, we have found that many partners with a current managed services and data centre offer are struggling to transition to a robust public cloud managed services offer. Some of the common challenges are:

  • Your team isn't confident about helping a customer determine which cloud environment suits them best
  • There are concerns over the public cloud service provider owning the partner/customer relationship
  • You’re concerned about contractual risks
  • You come unstuck when trying to navigate capacity planning
  • You’re unsure of the time to value for a data centre migration
  • The company struggles to keep up with business-as-usual while making meaningful changes to the services offered

The five internal pillars of a Managed Cloud Practice

If your organisation is struggling with any of the above, there are five key areas that you need to consider on your path from a traditional data centre to a modern cloud practice:

1. Technical and Security

A good starting point is to conduct a technical assessment of your current environment. This process will help you design your target environment and determine the key opportunities to optimise or modernise your offer before you start to consider migration planning and proof of concept.

2. Operational Management

You also need to understand the IT and DevOps requirements, looking first at your current capacity and then developing a plan. Because DevOps and cloud both offer benefits around speed and agility, integrating cloud can deliver a compelling offer. The key to successful cloud integration revolved around updating underlying architecture and modernising the environment for deployment into the cloud.

3. Contracts and Compliance

Another crucial component to consider is drawing up contracts. The inclusions and wording of these contracts generally raise internal questions about how you will approach various aspects of work. For example, when it comes to liability, most vendors cover loss of revenue, profit, goodwill and savings but do not always cover liability for data loss. You also need to consider which clauses you will include regarding suspension and termination.

In addition, there are several regulations surrounding the industry, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standard, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) 72-hour notification requirement for information security incidents within the financial services industry and the Australian Government’s new Security of Critical Infrastructure (SOCI) requirements. Data sovereignty is also an important consideration.

4. People and Skills

Next, it is time to consider your people. Is your current headcount sufficient for your future business model, or do you need to consider recruitment? When reviewing your existing staff, what is their current level of training and confidence when it comes to platform knowledge, data migration, cybersecurity, database management and AI and automation? You need your customer-facing team members to be comfortable discussing the customer’s needs and the project managers to be able to facilitate those needs. Staff will also need to complete the appropriate accreditation for your chosen cloud platform.

5. Product and Sales

The last, but equally important, pillar is to delve into how you will structure and present your product portfolio. Your service plan, website and marketing collateral will need to be updated in line with this new direction.

That sounds hard… How do I get started?

It is a lot to wrap your head around, so Tech Data has teamed up with Microsoft to develop a Data Centre Modernisation programme. Starting with an assessment and audit of your current capabilities, it is designed to help you plan and work through a transition towards a profitable public cloud practice with Azure CSP. Click here for more information or email the team at aus-sales@techdata.com.

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