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One of the major benefits of adopting cloud services from providers like Microsoft is that a vast number of supporting IT services are included in the licence packages. Depending on the specifics of your deployment, everything from physical infrastructure to applications, network controls, operating systems and identity and directory infrastructure can be managed and maintained by your cloud service provider.
That’s good news for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that you can get your in-house IT Teams focused on high value and high impact specialist projects and vital end user support. Alternatively you can run more services with a leaner in-house team as they repurpose their time and focus on the less commoditised IT requirements your business needs.
However, this transformation of the IT support landscape is not without a few challenges.
Who is responsible for what?
In any cloud environment, there are some responsibilities that are always retained by the client, some responsibilities that are shared between the client and the cloud provider, and some responsibilities that the cloud provider handles entirely on their own.
Here’s what that breakdown looks for Microsoft:
It’s important for you and your support provider to be familiar with this breakdown as it applies to your specific deployment, or you risk critical tasks slipping through the cracks and leaving your system vulnerable.
Challenges for internal IT support
Even if your IT team is clear on their responsibilities, they look a little different under the hood to those of an on-premises environment. Internal teams – in particular when pared down to the bare essentials – are seldom equipped with the broad specialist knowledge necessary to support and fully leverage a new cloud environment.
There are a lot of moving parts
Microsoft is also known for constantly updating its tools and services. This is a big bonus from a security and functionality perspective, but can be a challenge to stay on top of – particularly for a non-specialist, internal team with an already-full workload. This adds to the significant complexity of understanding the interplay between all of the parts of Microsoft’s extensive ecosystem – an essential skill if you’re going to tap into the full value of your licensing.
Help can be hard to find
Microsoft does offer assistance, but getting the right, expert attention quickly isn’t always easy. This can make in-house IT teams hesitant to make changes or adopt new functionality, leading to longer-than-necessary resolution times, a lack of focussed cloud adoption progress, increased risk of gaps in governance or compliance, missed opportunities and diminished ROI.
Challenges for traditional outsourced IT support
Even outsourced providers often fall short when it comes to supporting cloud environments, as traditional IT expertise doesn’t translate cleanly to the cloud without the necessary investments. Nonetheless, we see countless service providers trying to offer the same or similar support services to those they delivered on-premises, including expensive and, in our experience, largely unnecessary services paired to 24/7 SLAs that are largely covered by your Cloud Provider.
As a result, a lot of organisations end up paying for services that Microsoft already has covered (e.g. server, storage, performance), while lacking support in critical areas that can severely hinder their cloud experience (e.g. data security, governance and transformation to new/replacement solutions).
A new solution for a new platform
No matter how you spin things, traditional IT support services just aren’t appropriate or effective in the cloud. In many cases, just like their customers, the service providers haven’t understood, invested and transformed their own personnel to match the new skills and disciplines that are required to add value with ever-evolving cloud services. A new environment deserves a new support solution, which is exactly what we’ve created at Cloud Essentials.
Leveraging our many years of experience handling large and complex cloud migrations and deployments as a Microsoft Gold Partner, we’ve created a series of support packages to bridge the gaps between your team and Microsoft’s.
Our goal is not to replace, but to extend your existing skill base in a cost-effective way, giving you access to practical and relevant services that include:
- Much quicker response and resolution times, especially where communication with Microsoft is needed
- Translation of analytics and reports into practical recommendations
- Advice on your strategic Microsoft 365 security roadmap and best practices
The RACI difference
Working in close partnership is a big part of the Cloud Essentials approach to support services, and we believe the best teamwork happens in a fully transparent environment. To facilitate this, we use a RACI model to ensure optimal division of responsibilities, streamlined communication channels, comprehensive oversight and effective collaboration.
Value that pays for itself
Our aim as your support services provider is to minimise hassles and maximise the value you derive from your Microsoft Azure & 365 deployment. Here are a few examples of how this approach pays for itself.
- Your existing personnel can focus on higher value tasks and business development.
- You won’t need to add expensive cloud specialists to your permanent team to run a secure cloud environment.
- You’ll use more of your Microsoft functionality, letting you shed unnecessary third-party solutions.
- You’ll get more value from the same licencing by maximising adoption.
- You’ll avoid costly mistakes due to gaps in compliance, security and/or governance.
Keen to find out more? Get in touch.