Criteria for a Successful Cloud Professional Services Project

With each new IT innovation comes the temptation to deploy technology for technology’s sake, and the cloud is no different. In a desire to reap the cost- and time-saving benefits of the cloud, many IT organizations undergo a “lift and shift” migration. These efforts often fall short of expectations and result in frustration for both IT and the business. Fortunately, this approach is starting to change.

According to Gard Little, IDC research director, IT Consulting and Systems Integration Strategies, cloud buyers identify ‘project value delivered for fee paid’ followed by ‘provide functional insights and competence,’ as the top characteristics required for a cloud professional services project to be successful. “These two items indicate buyers believe success will come from a combination of consulting/technical skills and functional knowledge,” he said.

I couldn’t agree more. What’s important to realize, though, is that value, technical skills and functional knowledge are all intertwined. A cloud professional services project is only successful if it delivers business value. And it can only deliver business value if software engineers have the consulting and technical skills and functional knowledge to make architectural decisions that align with your business objectives.

I’ll go out on a limb here and venture to say that’s why many cloud projects fail. Organizations – or their service providers – don’t stop to consider why they’re moving to the cloud and how to ensure that the “why” is delivered. It may even be the case that whoever is doing the migration doesn’t understand the technical components well enough to make the proper architectural decisions.

That’s why at RightBrain Networks our engineers focus first on solving your business problem. That means understanding what your business does and what you want to achieve in the cloud. It also means understanding the interdependencies of your applications and current technical limitations. What could you do in the cloud that you can’t currently do on-premises? What issues are keeping you up at night?

It also means understanding what new services and capabilities cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft are rolling out. As I explained in a post on the Cloud Development Life Cycle™, cloud providers are continually releasing new tools and services that can transform how you architect your application for the cloud. Sometimes, as in the case of AWS Lambda, the services enable you to significantly reduce your costs. But you have to know what these services are, how to use them proficiently and whether they make sense for your application.

What many people don’t realize is that value doesn’t end there. Cloud ecosystems are continually evolving so moving to the cloud is not a “final destination.” Instead, it is a starting point to continue to reap the benefits associated with serverless architectures, agile infrastructure and lightweight services. It is because of this continual innovation by the cloud service providers that your cloud professional services firm should continue to deliver value through the life of your application.

This new paradigm is a godsend to the business, which has traditionally faced the reality of an IT organization that’s too slow and too brittle. Once in the cloud, however, the business is free to innovate without being constrained by the traditional IT “blockers” and can now focus on developing new models to acquire customers, grow revenue and develop innovative products.

Without an eye on continual improvement, many businesses run the risk of shortchanging themselves on the full value that can be achieved by adopting a public cloud platform. However, it’s imperative that your cloud professional services partner work with you to not only get you in the cloud but also show how to unlock all of the latent value that the cloud enables.