Despite the adversities we have described in the article The need of Digital Strategy for the Hybrid Cloud Services, the transformation began in most companies – sometimes only because a digitally more affine company was bought out and is now driving digital change. Managed services providers feel the insecurity of their customers. On the one hand, many companies no longer want to conclude outsourcing contracts that have been in place for five years, but on the other hand, they still want to outsource. There is also the question of whether and to what extent business-critical tasks should be handed over to an IT service provider. These are fundamental decisions that management, business and IT departments must make together.
Service provider for the cloud
Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, Alibaba – all of them benefit from the cloud trend. Users choose this path to establish new business processes and accelerate existing ones. They also want to be able to react more flexibly to changing competitive situations. The advantages of a cloud-based infrastructure include self-services for individual users, a high degree of automation and transparent financial management.
This creates new opportunities for managed services providers, but also challenges: In order to be able to offer consumption services, they need a cloud management platform that helps them get the most out of their IT budget. And they need to properly manage contracts to meet their commitments and compensate for unavailable skills.
In the end, these are services similar to those in on-premises times, but well-trained personnel are needed who know the cloud worlds of Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM or Alibaba. In order for orchestration to work, the interdependencies between these systems are also important. And finally, it’s about keeping an overview and preventing shadow IT.
Many specialist departments have their own budget and have no problem booking a service with a hyperscaler. This creates ignorance of where which data is located and the risk of vulnerability increases. Counteracting this with managed services is a real challenge.
Who controls managed cloud services?
The customers do not have to place cloud management in the internal IT. The individual services must be controlled. But by whom? In the future, the specialist departments will develop their own applications in a cloud-native manner and release them to suppliers so that they can then bill based on consumption. If differentiating services are created, this must remain the core competence of the customers as well as strategic management. One of the problems is that many are not able to use the security services, financial management or even operation via a cloud platform in a scalable manner.
When it comes to control, it is also important whether it is system-critical applications in production areas. In addition to the financial loss, their failure would also damage the company’s image. It is therefore a question of trust whether the control of such services should be outsourced. As soon as networked factories populate the manufacturing landscape, OT and IT grow together, and the question of responsibility arises even more. Last but not least, speed plays an important role in service management. If the pressure from the market requires a change in business processes, action must be taken immediately. The fastest way to do this is when the IT department, together with a network of partners, focuses on managing the services.
So who will ultimately have sovereignty over the management of managed services depends largely on the maturity level of the company. Many companies are still far from transferring this responsibility to the specialist departments. Before this happens, either the internal IT organization has to take over this task and deliver services to the business units, or an external provider management is used. There is an organizational challenge behind each variant, owing to the prevailing hierarchy. To break it down, a clear strategy and careful cost-benefit calculations are required. One thing is clear: Cloud is not automatically cheaper.
The new world also remains hybrid
The need for managed services also depends on whether a company is willing to reposition itself organizationally, plan additional budgets and possibly make itself dependent on a cloud provider. Does an emergency create pressure to change? Or does the company simply want to be more innovative?
You don’t have to be a start-up today to go to the cloud. Merely business-critical data or data for which the legislator requires local data storage – such as patient data – continue to make a hybrid world necessary. In a cloud-first world, there will be two parallel developments in the future. One is the control of decentralized structures from the cloud. The other concerns the flexibility to move data from one cloud to another.
The more companies will go cloud native, the further they will expand their integration options. And that these multi-cloud solutions reduce the technological and financial dependencies on the cloud providers not only benefits the customers, but also the managed services providers. This gives you even more options to continuously optimize your continuous service.