Many organisations have acknowledged the fact that they face an uphill struggle to attract and retain cloud skills. Data centre and virtualisation skills don’t always translate to cloud.
As a result, these skill gaps are creating tangible security and compliance issues. An increasing number of cloud customers are turning to an Azure Managed Service Provider to support their cloud adoption.
But how do you find the right Managed Services Partner to assist your cloud journey? And what are the questions you should ask your provider from the onset, before you issue that RFP or get on that Microsoft Teams meeting?
1. Are you an Azure Expert Managed Service Provider?
This is the single most important questions to ask if you need to source an Azure managed service. The Azure Expert Managed Service Provider certification is the one of the most rigorously audited accreditations for Azure managed services. Held by less than 90 organisations worldwide, this certification is audited annually by Microsoft through an independent third-party and ensures Azure best practice at every step. An MSP certification guarantees access to superior support from your provider, and Microsoft. It effectively takes the guesswork out of a partner verification and selection; an increasing number of organisations list this as a requirement in tenders.
2. Where is your Azure centre of excellence? How many Azure specialists do you have on the ground in Australia?
The Azure Expert MSP is intended to give cloud customers confidence when selecting a partner to help them meet their digital transformation goals. Equally important is the physical location of your partner’s Azure centre of excellence. Some global partners have been obtained certifications outside of Australia, meaning they can be very light on locally based Azure skills and resources. Yes, you can leverage their skills from overseas, but sometimes you will require that local support presence in your timezone. Your Azure cloud infrastructure is a critical enabler of your business; you want to have the right skills in the same time zone, and just a phone call away.
3. What can you offer to modernise my infrastructure and application portfolio?
A simple lift-and-shift of a virtual machine to Azure doesn’t unlock the power of the cloud. Transitioning to cloud requires careful consideration. By modernising critical applications and using cloud native services you can unlock business value – which requires a specialist skillset due to its potential business impacts. Without correct modernisation, you risk taking critical applications offline and halting your entire business.
An Azure Expert MSP understands your application composition, will help you to leverage the power of native cloud services using a proven model, and can provide services like a fixed cost modernisation factory to assess and modernise your application portfolio.
4. What are your Microsoft certifications and what broader vendor expertise do you have?
Managed Services are a longer-term commitment. Like any relationship, you want to make sure you are compatible and committed for the long haul. In addition to holding Azure Expert MSP certification, you also want to ensure your partner’s Gold certifications are broad and extend across the full portfolio of any Microsoft products you use. You should also leverage the knowledge and expertise your partner has in other vendor technologies, so you can then create efficiencies and problem-solving capabilities across technologies, vendors and appliances.
5. How financially stable is your organisation?
When entrusting a critical part of your infrastructure and building that relationship with a partner, it goes without saying that you want to make sure they have a longstanding, mature presence, and will be around in the coming years. Probe your partner’s financial stability, check industry awards and the presence of a strong and diverse customer base to test the best indicators for future performance.
Data#3 is selected as one of only five Microsoft partners in Australia, and 83 partners globally, to attain the highest level of Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Service Provider (MSP) certification.
Data#3 is also the only Azure Expert MSP to have also been accredited as a Microsoft Azure Modernisation Factory partner in Australia. Aligned to Microsoft’s Well Architected Framework and the Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) methodologies, we are able to offer a proven, consistent and repeatable migration process at scale with a predictable, fixed price model.
If you are struggling to build, manage and operate your Azure cloud environment, get in touch with the Data#3 Azure Managed Services team today.
1. IDC, Inc. (October, 2018). IDC Reveals Worldwide CIO Agenda 2019 Predictions.