Businesses are buying into the benefits of cloud transformation in huge numbers as they look to reshape business models for the better, harness data to produce lucrative new commercial opportunities, and automate processes to redefine customer service.
As more organisations make the switch, finding a reliable way to manage their cloud architecture has become vitally important so that core team members can continue to focus on what they do best – innovating and creating value for their customers.
As a result, many businesses (and the IT teams within them) are turning to cloud managed services as a cost-effective way of optimising their cloud infrastructure and application management.
And, they’re noticing one of the key ways to achieve long-term success is in having a trusted third-party TechOps team to partner with. Why is that? And how can it help add undeniable value for IT teams and the business overall?
What are cloud-managed services?
Most IT professionals understand the overall benefits of the cloud and of managed services, but what about managed services specifically for the cloud?
Does your technology team need them? In short, yes.
In a competitive market, cloud services can give IT teams of all sizes an edge over competitors who use less agile on-premises and legacy systems:
- Startups and SMEs can get their operations up and running quickly and cost-effectively using a team of experts who have tried and tested solutions
- Larger businesses with higher complexity solutions and variable IT demands can increase their operational efficiency and productivity.
Regardless of their size or goals, cloud managed services offer you a way to successfully adopt and use the cloud.
As Idea 11’s Senior Solutions Architect Rian Brooks-Kane says, “Most businesses aren’t ‘IT companies’. The value they provide isn’t about running around and dealing with systems and solutions. It’s on building new products, features and value for their customers.”
Even highly skilled IT staff can’t be “experts in everything”.
“The cloud is a big place,” Rian says. “AWS, for example, has over 200 different services. The benefit of managed cloud services is that we work across a lot of verticals, a lot of industries and a lot of customers, giving us the ability to learn from each experience.”
Cloud managed services are also extremely flexible.
You can limit managed services and maintain overall control over the ecosystem or opt for a provider to look after a full range of IT services – including updates, upgrades, help desk and critical issue management.
Hybrid IT manages the mix between cloud and on-premises solutions
In either a fully cloud-based or hybrid environment, working with a cloud-managed service provider means that you can count on a team of experts with in-depth knowledge of your solutions to support your in-house team.
And no matter how your systems are set up, managed services deliver a wide range of benefits and deliver a customised plan based on your needs.
“For us, it’s not all about the cloud,” Rian points out. “We also support hybrid infrastructure and end users as well. And that’s a point of difference between Idea 11 and lots of other managed services providers, many of which don’t provide end-user compute and end-user support.”
“When we started out the cloud didn’t exist, so on-premises expertise and user support is a part of our history and DNA, and is a key reason why a lot of companies want to work with us.”
How do hosted services differ from cloud-managed services?
Dedicated hosting, also known as hosted solutions, is a more traditional option where a server is reserved exclusively for your use – either on-site at your office or off-site in a data centre.
Hosted solutions are typically more expensive than cloud managed services because of their custom configuration. This has important implications, the main one being that your team may be responsible for managing, monitoring and troubleshooting.
“Hosted solutions are ones you still have to look after,” Rian explains. “They provide you with the infrastructure that your application runs on top of, but you still have to care for them, make sure they’re performing, getting patched and backed up.”
“A managed service on the other hand isn’t just about automation and tooling, it’s about helping you move towards a business outcome. It gains power from the humans sitting behind it who are there to ensure it’s producing the results you want from it.”
What are modern cloud-managed services?
Modern cloud managed services go beyond basic cloud adoption by establishing a business technology support partnership between an organisation and their service provider.
As Rian points out, “We have a lot of customers that have both small and large IT teams, and we’re not there to replace them but rather to work in partnership with them. Or, we can come in when issues have escalated.”
Idea 11’s modern managed services model, TechOps, is built around managing, monitoring, supporting and reporting. “At the end of the day,” he adds, “that means making sure that customers can focus on their business and on delivering value instead of having to look after the underlying infrastructure that makes it all work.”
“In the cloud, it’s all about experimenting and building new things and really leveraging available platforms to create insights or opportunities. Modern managed services are about coming along for the ride and not standing in the way of that progress,” according to Rian.
“Our TechOps services are focused on delivering that flexibility and at the same time giving customers the operational support to monitor things and make sure they perform and are cost-effective.”
Benefits of cloud-managed services
According to Rian, cloud-managed services offer many benefits, including:
- Low infrastructure costs and better pricing models. With the cloud’s pay-per-use model, there’s less wastage and more potential for cost optimisation. The role of managed services is to help you with this and to ensure you are only spending what’s necessary for your system to function efficiently.
- Future-proof technology. With cloud managed services you have solutions that are designed to be automatically updated and improved over time.
- Better security. Cloud managed services can provide better security. A cloud managed service provider can monitor your organisation 24/7 for suspicious activity and can deploy cloud resources to protect your data.
Overall, cloud managed services are perfect for IT teams that want to free up their resources to focus on revenue generation, or growing a business, rather than purely managing technology.
What should you look for in a cloud managed services provider?
There are so many service providers to choose from and differentiating between them can be tough.
Rian describes what a great managed cloud service provider looks like and provides some considerations to keep in mind when reviewing your options:
- Qualifications, certifications and training. Ensure managed cloud services providers are qualified and hold all relevant certifications for their roles and that they upskill and train their staff on a consistent basis.
- Skills and experience. Providers should be familiar with the cloud services you use and your unique business needs. They should understand industry best practices, know how to integrate critical tooling and applications, and be able to adapt or optimise your workflows for cloud resources.
- Transparency and control. Choose a provider that’s willing to work in true partnership with you, collaborating with your in-house team and freely sharing performance reports and metrics with them.
- Pricing and service inclusions. Getting a clear picture of what you’ll receive and what the costs will be is another important aspect of transparency. Are prices flat rate or fluctuating? What is the service level agreement and how closely will the provider be involved from implementation through to critical response? Importantly, do they have the capacity to scale their services if you need them to?
- DevOps, site reliability and automation. A good managed services provider will be clear about what their tech stack is built on, what sorts of proprietary or open-source tools they are using to look after your environment, and how will they be managing site reliability going forward.
- Security and compliance. Security is a critical consideration when it comes to managing cloud IT systems. Look for a provider that offers robust security measures and has a proven track record of protecting its clients' systems, data, business intelligence and IP.
Get TechOps Managed Services powered by the experts
Idea 11 knows how important your cloud operations are to running your business.
As an AWS partner, we offer TechOps managed services based on a unique “Manage, Monitor, Support, and Report Methodology” – all of which is designed to give you the consistency of service and remove the stress of IT management from your team.
We have an outstanding track record of working with clients to deliver both the framework and continuous improvements for their tech to stay ahead of the game.
As Rian says, “We’re not just at the end of the phone. To quote one of our clients, we’re ‘in the trenches’ with them. And it means we can be proactive rather than just reactive.”
Contact us today to learn more about how we can work with you to power your Cloud Managed Services.