People, process, technology for Cloud service providers

People, Process, Technology for Cloud Service Providers

There’s been a lot written in cloud circles about the preparations enterprises need to make to prepare for the move to cloud - but what about service providers? A lot of service providers are coming from a managed hosting, managed services or even a telco background and are now building a cloud business. The planning, provisioning, marketing & selling of cloud services can be vastly different from these more traditional IT services. Potential cloud service providers need to prepare for their transformation to cloud from a people, process and technology perspective.


People: The Who

The people part is all about understanding the diverse cloud needs that different users within your customers’ organizations will have. For example, consider the control, visibility and cost transparency requirements that IT leaders may have compared to the day to day governance and performance concerns of IT line managers. Also consider the business users – these can span from ‘C level’ executives to marketing & finance to admin team members. To ensure broad adoption of cloud services, the needs of IT users as well as business users must be understood and incorporated into cloud design and strategy.

Process: The What

Now, if service providers have really done their homework well on the people part, the ‘what’ becomes much easier as it’s all about designing the cloud services that will meet the needs of the diverse users identified. This includes designing cloud services that may need to span across the stack from infrastructure to platform and applications as well as addressing requirements for performance, security, monitoring, compliance and configuration management.  Process also requires consideration of how the cloud services will integrate across the customer’s existing IT systems and processes. The tricky part of process is ensuring that the catalog of cloud services that is designed to meet customers’ needs can be delivered rapidly in an automated, reliable and cost effective manner and that is where the technology piece comes in.

Technology: The How

Technology is where the work done on people and process can really come together to result in a strong cloud services offering that works from a technical point of view, satisfies customer requirements and delivers good cloud revenue to the provider!

Of course, to build a cloud business there are many technology decisions that need to be made but here we will discuss those relating to service design, service provisioning and cloud resource management – key elements that a cloud management platform automates and orchestrates.

In terms of service design, as the many different permutations of cloud services required are revealed, flexible technology that is able to present many different choices to customers within the service catalog without driving up admin costs is clearly needed. A model-driven approach to service design enables many different options to be built into one service blueprint and then presented to users in a configurable service catalog. This helps service providers to cater to the many varied needs of users while keeping the admin task around patching, management & compliance of services very manageable.

To ensure the service provider is able to pass on to their customers the key cloud benefits of agilityand speed, technology that  automates cloud provisioning across the stack from infrastructure to applications and across physical, virtual and cloud environments is essential. And, this automation should encompass maintenance functions as well such as configuration and compliance and change management. Automation enables customized cloud services to be provided to customers rapidly but also increases efficiencies and drives down costs across cloud infrastructure for the provider.

And, the right technology for cloud resource management must be considered across these elements:

  • Intelligent placement of services across cloud resources according to policies
  • Capacity management to avoid over or under investment in capacity
  • Ensuring infrastructure neutrality - both to avoid vendor lock in for the provider and for their customers.

Addressing the people, process, technology aspects of cloud computing from this outside in perspective can reduce risk for both the service provider and their customers, expand revenue opportunities and ensure both service providers and customers get the maximum benefits from cloud computing.

Click here to read the White Paper: People, Process and Technology: The Who, What and How of Getting Your Customers to the Cloud

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