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4 Tips for the cloud

NIKO MYKKANEN, EMEA PARTNER LEAD FOR AMAZON WEB SERVICES

AMAZON WEB SERVICES (AWS) SHARES SOME BEST PRACTICE TIPS FOR SOUTH AFRICAN SYSTEMS INTEGRATORS PREPARING THEIR BUSINESS FOR THE CLOUD.

 

Over the past few years we’ve seen cloud computing becoming the new normal for companies of all sizes across South Africa and around the world. The ability to access near-endless amounts of compute, storage and other technologies over the internet, on a pay-as-you-go basis, is helping organisations to lower the overall cost of their IT and dramatically increase their agility and pace of innovation. This is leading companies of all sizes from ‘startups’ like Airbnb, Spotify and Pinterest to established enterprises like Shell, Unilever and NASA to move their technology to the cloud. Given so many organisations are moving to the cloud here are some best practices we have seen from systems integrator (SI) partners around the world.

The cloud is your friend

SI partners sometimes hesitate when moving to the cloud as they think that it eliminates the need for a partner. Although customers have the option to work directly with cloud vendors, partners are still a key part of the cloud ecosystem. Early on at AWS we determined that the partner ecosystem was critical to the success of our customers and our business, because partners can have relationships, insight and knowledge into customers that technology vendors don’t. As such, SI partners are in a strong position to be the conduit between the cloud vendor and the customer – helping the customer to make the most of the new technologies while maintaining the same strong relationships they’ve been used to in the past while creating new business opportunities.

Training is key

All SIs that are successful in the cloud understand the importance of training and development of their own teams and those of customers. When building a migration roadmap to the cloud, training should always be the first step. With the cloud there are many familiar technologies and programming languages but there are also new concepts that need to be understood, such as ‘Infrastructure as Code’ and Availability Zones. Training also empowers teams to understand the business benefits of the cloud, how to better consult customers, and how to think of new and innovative ways to use cloud technology, thus driving more revenue.

Go where you know

Once SIs understand the potential cloud has for their organisation the first question most commonly asked is – where should we start? There’s no right or wrong answer here. Many start off using cloud internally for their own technology infrastructure. This allows SIs to become familiar with the technologies and concepts behind the cloud before rolling it out to their customer’s businesses. Some choose to carve off their cloud division into a separate business, positioning it as the innovation arm of their organisation. While others integrate cloud into all facets of their organisation and start selling it into existing accounts for new projects. This allows them to help their customers innovate at low risk. One of the great features of the cloud is it requires no investment up front, you use as much as you like and pay accordingly. As this is the case we see many SI partners use cloud as an opportunity to upsell creative projects to existing accounts with low risk. This allows the partners to showcase their creativity and innovation to the customer while simultaneously demonstrating their ability to use the cloud which, inevitably, leads to future revenue opportunities.

Don’t fight gravity

Starting out in the cloud requires a mind-set change for SIs. Understanding that cloud poses an opportunity for their organisation from the start helps to unearth the full potential it has for your organisation. Cloud is becoming the new normal, both in the channel and for customers. Not using cloud is just like fighting gravity. It is inevitable. If SI partners are not using cloud themselves or looking at where it fits into their strategy, they run the risk of being overtaken by others using the platform.

Pull quote:

“One of the great features of the cloud is it requires no investment up front, you use as much as you like and pay accordingly.”

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