Why Managed Services Are Key to Fill the Multi-Cloud Skills Gap

Written by Thomas Burns on Thursday, November 1st 2018 — Categories: Azure, Cloud Hosting, Hybrid IT, IT Modernization, IT Operations, Managed Services, Multi-Cloud

Multi-cloud is the IT service model du jour, but it comes with a set of challenges that many IT departments aren’t yet ready to tackle. There are many reasons to go with more than one cloud provider, including the use of specific services or abilities, backing up storage across various vendors, maintaining availability or minimizing latency, and even using different cloud vendors as bargaining chips for pricing negotiation.

A managed services partner might be the best way for you to take advantage of multi-cloud IT infrastructure and services, especially if you face the all-too-common cloud skills gap that many organizations encounter.

Read on for statistics on multi-cloud adoption and cloud skills difficulties, as well as ways in which a partner can help you alleviate the top multi-cloud obstacles.

 

Multi-Cloud is Here to Stay

As business priorities and IT best practices shift, more enterprise organizations are adopting multi-cloud as their primary strategy for architecting and deploying IT services. One Forrester survey found that 86% of technology decision makers currently have a multi-cloud strategy.  IBM similarly found recently that 85% of IT leaders were already operating in multi-cloud environments. 

The primary reasons, as mentioned above, focused on using the best-in-class features from each vendor, as well as hedging bets against downtime from a particular service provider, securing better pricing, and backing up services and data across various storage environments.

Ultimately a single cloud service will rarely deliver everything you need to offer modern business IT services for your organization. Combining SaaS, PaaS, and pure IaaS offerings from a variety of vendors — both hyperscale and niche — is the best way to assure high performance, 100% availability, and key technologies like containers, AI, object storage, and more.

 

The Cloud Skills Gap Undermines Multi-Cloud Goals

You’ve heard about it already: there is a significant gap in staff skills and available talent in today’s workforce pool. Multi-cloud management is not exempt from this gap.

One survey from Softchoice found that 96% of IT decision makers had a cloud skills gap. A Global Knowledge survey on staff skills and compensation found that 29% reported cloud computing as a challenging area to find qualified talent (second only to cybersecurity).  

This isn’t a new problem — Green House Data actually performed original research in 2016 that reported 78% of IT decision makers had to use outsourced staff at least once a year or more often. We also discovered less than 30% reported proficiency in internal or external IaaS or cloud servers

When it comes to multi-cloud specifically, the challenge remains. VMware  and the MIT Technology Review found that over 55% of survey respondents listed Changes to Staff as a challenge when migrating to multi-cloud. Over 50% listed Staff Changes as a challenge to ongoing management of multi-cloud environments. 

It’s clear that adopting multi-cloud is too attractive to ignore, but often too difficult to achieve with your current staff and expertise. That’s where a partnership can come in highly useful.

 

Meeting the Top Multi-Cloud Challenges with a Partner

A Managed Services partner is not intended to replace your in-house IT staff. We aren’t coming for your jobs. We’re here as an extension to your staff, adding key expertise in the platforms you aren’t familiar with.

Your team might be VMware experts, or you might have Azure resources on staff. You might be heavily invested in a single platform and ready to add another, but aren’t sure where to start. The IBM survey referenced above discovered that only 38% of organizations had multi-cloud systems in place, including tools for ongoing management and monitoring. The Softchoice survey discovered that 49% of decision-makers were augmenting in-house teams with MSPs.

What are the biggest multi-cloud hurdles that service providers can help you with?

The top challenges when adopting multi-cloud tend to center around data security, especially as information moves between different services, keeping track of expenses and consumption, and integration between various platforms.

A managed service provider can be contracted to address those concerns around performance, interoperability, security, and management processes. Engaging an MSP to develop multi-cloud monitoring, documentation, lifecycle management, and business processes can be a one-time consultancy or an ongoing engagement.

By leveraging outsourced staff skills, you are better able to mitigate cybersecurity risk and avoid cost overruns from cloud sprawl. If you go over budget or suffer a breach, there’s third party responsibility. If your service goes down, your SLA compensates you for downtime.

Ultimately you can focus on digital transformation and IT modernization within the organization. Manage your budgets and vendors. Work on implanting DevOps and service-oriented delivery. Support your internal initiatives and departments outside of IT. Meanwhile, your partner helps guarantee that the infrastructure backbone and upstack applications continue to run properly.

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