Welcome to Managed Services in the Cloud

March 28, 2016 Jiordan Castle

managed services in the cloud

You’ve just finished implementing a new cloud-based application for your business. You breathe a sigh of relief. The end of all that hard work has arrived; or has it? Go-live isn’t the end — it’s the beginning of everything. Big-time cloud vendors like Salesforce, Workday, and Google deploy regular releases, and your organization needs to be prepared for changes and commit to the task of regular maintenance.

Unless, of course, you have a cloud management partner.

The changing role of the MSP

CIOs rely on Managed Services Providers (MSPs) to manage their IT infrastructure. This model has served the industry well for the past 20 years by:

  • Allowing organizations to outsource expertise in systems monitoring and security to specialists.
  • Delivering maintenance service in an annual subscription model, with no upfront costs and predictable ongoing costs.
  • Providing proactive guidance to prevent problems from occurring.

But the role of the MSP is changing dramatically. Most organizations will still require some form of managed services, but that form will depend on new differentiators, and a new kind of partner. CIOs will still benefit from outsourcing expertise to specialists and relying on a partner for subscription-based maintenance and proactive guidance. The big shift will be toward MSPs whose differentiators are less about networking, security, and monitoring, and more about agile delivery, frequent internal releases of new functionality, and advice on how to take advantage of the benefits provided in SaaS vendors’ rapid upgrade cycles.

Cloud infrastructure vs. on-premise software

Good news: The change to cloud infrastructure removes the traditional burdens of on-premise software. With this change, organizations can create a competitive advantage by moving to what Forrester Research refers to as a “continuous improvement model.” Basically, SaaS provides a built-in continuous improvement mechanism via vendor-managed visioning, but most applications investment remains on-premises… with an increasing burden of technical debt as upgrades are deferred. Therein lies the stark contrast between on-premise (reactive) and SaaS (proactive). Forrester says that “increasingly, SaaS provides the most sustainable model with its vendor-managed, continuous updating process,” making continuous improvement for responsiveness and results more attainable for organizations.

Learn how to prepare for the changing role of the MSP in a public cloud-dominated IT landscape and find out why a cloud management partner is vital to future success after go-live from Appirio CIO Glenn Weinstein’s ebook, Appirio’s Guide to Managed Services in the Cloud.

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