VP, Managed and Executive Services

I think we all agree that a successful cloud strategy is important today.

In fact, for most organizations, it’s imperative.

Global competition and rising costs are driving businesses large and small to explore ways to integrate more cloud services into their operations. In fact, according to Gartner, the public cloud services market will reach $246 billion in 2017, an 18% increase from 2016.

Some organizations are going all-in, moving to SaaS-based solutions to replace their major business applications. Others are taking a hybrid approach, deploying a cloud-first strategy where it makes sense for new applications and upgrades and maintaining legacy systems for everything else.

But if success is imperative, how do you define success? That’s a question every organization must tackle. And your answer will vary from others, depending on your specific goals and objectives.

No matter how you define success, however, there are challenges with moving workloads to the cloud. Working with a Managed Services provider can help you overcome some of them.

That begs the obvious question: If I’m moving to the cloud, why would I want to consider Managed Services? Here are three reasons Managed Services can help you succeed in the cloud:

1: Access to New Skills

Lack of skilled resources can lead to failure in the cloud. Organizations need people who understand web services and how to integrate web services with their legacy applications. They need resources with DevOps knowledge and experience, as well as others who are comfortable administering SaaS-based applications.

Partnering with a Managed Services provider gives you access to resources skilled in working with web services, DevOps, and legacy system integration. It alleviates the immediate need to hire a lot of new people to fill your skill gaps.

But make no mistake—even if you partner with a Managed Services provider, you’ll need to change the skill make-up of your team. However, you may not need to make the transition as quickly. And, ultimately, you may be able to shift some resources into other areas and focus them on strategic projects instead of operations.

2: Insight into Rapid Change

Cloud providers frequently introduce new web services or service improvements. It’s one of the big benefits, because cloud providers are always searching for ways to improve their services and beat their competitors. And that’s good for your business.

But it also means you must keep up with those enhancements. New web services are great, but how do you take advantage of them? You may have an app that uses these services. What happens if the provider discontinues or changes the service? How does that affect your app? Will the change be compatible or will you have to recode? And will new features introduce problems in your environment?

Answering those questions is complicated. But a Managed Services provider can help, depending on the breadth of services they offer. Many have cloud consulting practices, in addition to Managed Services, that they can engage on your behalf to help work through those thorny issues. They can help you make sure new problems aren’t introduced into your environment, while ensuring new web services are evaluated and leveraged accordingly.

3: Visibility into Cloud Usage and Dependencies

It’s hard to monitor cloud environments. If you have a lot of apps running in the cloud, but you really don’t know where they are, what they’re connected to, or how many resources they are consuming, you have a problem.

Without visibility, you end up with a lot of questions—and no answers.

And lack of answers adds up. Many times organizations don’t remember how many resources they have spun up or how many CPU hours they have consumed. In fact, they often don’t realize how much money they spent on cloud services in aggregate until they finally receive a bill. Then, they panic.

They start looking for ways to unwind what they put in the cloud, or they search for methods to get their arms around what is out there, so they can get better control over their expenditures and make their cloud spending more predictable.

A Managed Services provider can monitor and alert you about issues and usage in your cloud environments. They can trap and alert you on the status of web services. They can create a visual topology of your environment, map dependencies, and report on usage and billing metrics. That gives you much needed visibility into your cloud environments. And it gives you a heads-up on consumption, providing insight into where your money is going.

Partnering is important for success today—that’s true in business and in the cloud. A Managed Services provider can offer a lot when it comes to successfully operating in the cloud. But no Managed Services provider can do everything. That’s why it’s important to choose a company that can—through consulting, professional services, and cloud expertise—not only help you better manage your cloud environments but also offer insight and guidance on how to evaluate your applications and optimize them for the cloud.

For information on how ePlus Managed Services can help you tackle your cloud challenges visit our website, or contact your ePlus Account Executive to learn more about getting started with a cloud readiness assessment.

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