SDN Journal Authors: TJ Randall, David Paquette, Hollis Tibbetts, Lori MacVittie, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Cloud Security, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Partnering for Cloud Onboarding Success

The key to a successful, secure and compliant implementation is a high touch engagement process

Enterprise organizations are looking for service providers to be a trusted partner with them throughout the entire transition through steady state process. The key for cloud providers is to develop ongoing relationships with their customers using hands-on engagement processes from beginning to end. A high touch process ensures that customers engage with various members of the transition team throughout the three stages of the on-boarding process: Business and Technology Assessment, Transition Plan, and Business Reviews.

Business and Technology Assessment
Like most new technologies, cloud computing can require significant changes in business processes, application architectures, technology infrastructure, and operating models that must be properly understood before embarking on any new initiative. Having a well-thought-out strategy can mean the difference between success and failure. The first step to understanding these challenges is the assessment.

The purpose of the business and technology assessment is for customers to conduct a high-level evaluation of the environment, taking into consideration the complexities and nuances of the client's business environment and provide a clear road map of the scope of the project. Once the scope has been determined, the client is able to assess whether they want to take a "do it yourself" approach or select a partner to assist with the transition.

Prior to any cloud or hosting engagement, cloud service providers will have a group of highly trained personnel on the team to scope the project and assess the readiness of the organization. The technical team, which includes an engagement manager, representatives from sales, architecture, understands that each potential customer is unique in their needs and will approach the cloud from a variety of perspectives. The extended business team includes an executive sponsor, representatives from product management, and operations. Product management and operations help with ensuring the cloud service is supportable and sustainable over the long term but the entire team helps to work through any special requirements or compliance issues during the sales process.

As part of a this approach, each of these team members remains involved throughout the entire client lifecycle to ensure the transition is set up correctly, that it is secure and compliant, and the client gets what they need, when they need it.

The complete assessment includes a technical analysis, an economic analysis and a business and application analysis.

  • Technical Analysis: Existing infrastructure and applications are reviewed to identify the services best suited for the cloud. The assessment covers key scalability and architectural issues, including server and application processes, and database transactions and scalability. Critical application interfaces also need to be assessed to determine the optimal cloud migration path.
  • Business Analysis: Business and economic considerations play a major role in the decision to migrate to the cloud. Customers need to build comprehensive ROI and TCO models that provide economic justification for cloud migration.
  • Business and Application Analysis: This analysis determines whether customers need to re-engineer business processes to leverage the cloud and whether their application needs to comply with specific regulations such as PCI, HIPAA, and SOX.

The Transition Plan
Once a potential cloud customer's level of business and technology readiness is understood, a plan is developed that includes the details of on-boarding and steady state management. The plan is essentially a roadmap that defines what the client can expect and when it will be delivered. It includes a detailed custom network design, any type of phased in implementation, escalation procedures, security and compliance considerations, SLA options, training, reporting, a timeline as well as when and how the team will get the environment in a steady state once the transition is complete.

The transition plan focuses on the impact of the customer, which includes the processes, policies and adjustments needed to move them from their current state to a new state. Some examples included in the plan are Service Transition, Change Management, Service Asset and Configuration Management, Release and Deployment Management, Service Validation and Testing, Evaluation, and Knowledge Management.

This is where choosing the right partner can really make a difference. The best partners will have the following capabilities:

  • Tried and true migration methodology
  • Experience in migrating infrastructure and applications to a cloud delivery mode
  • Can specifically address a range of requirements including physical to virtual migrations project management and on-boarding
  • The ability to implement a hybrid cloud model if customers want to migrate some, but not all, of their IT infrastructure and services to the cloud
  • The ability to customize services to meet the need of the enterprise

This plan will also include the change of technologies, processes and policies to transform the organization. It utilizes technology to spearhead the vision, resolve, business case governance, accountability, workable approach and execution model, capacity planning and the ability to implement and operate.

The engagement manager and the implementation manager play critical roles during this phase. The dedicated engagement manager works directly with the client and harnesses the service provider's internal resources as issues arise while the implementation manager manages the day-to-day operational implementation. The client has multiple points of contact beyond the engagement manager including any of the team members such as the account manager, solution architects, sales, executive sponsor, or operations from the business and technology assessment.

Daily, weekly and monthly updates are provided on the progress of the migration.

At the conclusion of this phase, approximately 98% of the project is complete. It is over the next several months where operations fine-tune the remaining 2% of the project.

Business Reviews
With a cloud platform, monthly charges are based on actual compute resources used; therefore it's critical that cloud-enabled applications run efficiently. Periodic performance tuning and load testing are necessary to optimize applications in the cloud.

Reporting to the engagement manager, the delivery manager and his or her team prepare a weekly report that identifies operating trends and specific incidents. The team will review these issues on a weekly call with the customer and develop additional operating procedures in response to the trends and incidents.

For example, a customer's service on a server goes down on Wednesday at 4:00am. The immediate problem is handled by the incident management process. Through the post-mortem process trend analysis, the service delivery team notices that it has happened every Wednesday at 4:00am for the past several weeks. This is when the team may develop additional standard operating procedures that mitigate the risk of the service going down regularly.

On a monthly basis, the delivery team will take a more holistic approach. They will be able to look at the usage patterns and determine how best to utilize the current resources using a number of parameters including consolidating under-utilized resources, and optimize based on time of day usage, on seasonal demand, and on business process usage variations.

Quarterly, the teams meet and look at the initiatives for the upcoming next quarter as well as revisit the business plan. At this time the teams determine the ongoing readiness to scale and support the upcoming initiatives.

Enterprises need to select a vendor that will partner with them through the entire on-boarding process. The key to a successful, secure and compliant implementation is a high touch engagement process from beginning to end.

More Stories By Gina Murphy

As Executive Vice President, Gina Murphy is responsible for all of TriCore’s Solutions, Service Strategy and Sales Enablement. This includes Product Management, Account Management and supporting Sales and Operations with strategic guidance from the customer’s perspective to take TriCore’s products and services to the next level. Sitting between the technical resources and the sales team, her goal is to empower these teams to demonstrate TriCore’s value proposition to its customers as it relates to their unique circumstances.

Prior to joining TriCore, as the Vice President of Solution Architects at NaviSite, Gina managed a global team responsible for providing technical sales engineering solutions to ensure enterprise customers obtain the highest quality of complex and supportable solutions, on time and within budget. She also held management positions in information technology, business management systems, technical training, and operations with Surebridge, TVGuide and Lightbridge.

She holds a Bachelor of Art in Communication from Stonehill College.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@CloudExpo Stories
Cloud based infrastructure deployment is becoming more and more appealing to customers, from Fortune 500 companies to SMEs due to its pay-as-you-go model. Enterprise storage vendors are able to reach out to these customers by integrating in cloud based deployments; this needs adaptability and interoperability of the products confirming to cloud standards such as OpenStack, CloudStack, or Azure. As compared to off the shelf commodity storage, enterprise storages by its reliability, high-availabil...
The IoT industry is now at a crossroads, between the fast-paced innovation of technologies and the pending mass adoption by global enterprises. The complexity of combining rapidly evolving technologies and the need to establish practices for market acceleration pose a strong challenge to global enterprises as well as IoT vendors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Smith, senior product manager for Numerex, will discuss how Numerex, as an experienced, established IoT provider, has embraced a ...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
So you think you are a DevOps warrior, huh? Put your money (not really, it’s free) where your metrics are and prove it by taking The Ultimate DevOps Geek Quiz Challenge, sponsored by DevOps Summit. Battle through the set of tough questions created by industry thought leaders to earn your bragging rights and win some cool prizes.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and ...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
“Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CloudBerry Backup is a leading cross-platform cloud backup and disaster recovery solution integrated with major public cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
Traditional on-premises data centers have long been the domain of modern data platforms like Apache Hadoop, meaning companies who build their business on public cloud were challenged to run Big Data processing and analytics at scale. But recent advancements in Hadoop performance, security, and most importantly cloud-native integrations, are giving organizations the ability to truly gain value from all their data. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, David Tishgart, Director of Product Marketing ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
Effectively SMBs and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance requirements. The most recent are Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU’s GDPR have Board Level implications. Managing sensitive data protection will likely result in acquisition criteria, demonstration requests and new requirements. Developers, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by incorporating changes.
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, will draw together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established ...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.