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April 10, 2018
Cloud management emerges as next big IT challenge
By: Michael Liebow

Accenture acknowledged as a leader in cloud managed services

Every year, Gartner ranks Managed Cloud Service providers on its Gartner Public Cloud Infrastructure Managed Service Providers, Worldwide Magic Quadrant 2018, in which Accenture, by a wide margin, is named as a Leader in both its “Completeness of Vision” and “Ability to Execute.” The report is a valuable tool to help organizations make a very critical decision: selecting a partner to help guide them along their cloud journey.

Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure Managed Service Providers, Worldwide

This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from
https://www.gartner.com/doc/reprints?id=1-4UU4YAW&ct=180403&st=sb.

As anyone who’s done it can attest, moving to and operating in the cloud has become more complex as cloud offerings, cloud providers and cloud estates have multiplied. Planning and preparing for, migrating to, and optimizing one’s presence in the cloud requires highly specialized skills, a deep understanding of the cloud environment, and the underlying tools to use it and manage it most effectively. To minimize risk in any multi-cloud journey, many companies choose to partner with a Cloud Managed Service Provider (MSP). An MSP can certainly help with the initial journey to cloud but of even more value is the MSP’s tools, services and expert resources that provides ongoing management of the cloud environment—providing insight, data and information that will govern, manage, and control cloud operations, and to avoid costs that quickly spiral out of control.

Picking the right Managed Service Provider can make all the difference to a successful cloud transformation for your business.

Successful operations in the cloud require a robust MSP with skills, best practice and a cloud management platform

Core to the ongoing management of the cloud environment is the MSP’s cloud management platform—a centralized management plane designed to help a company discover, manage and optimize its cloud resources. A cloud management platform can deliver hardened cloud best practices, automate most cloud management activities, and bring a full range of cloud management services:

  • from commissioning servers and balancing loads;

  • to provisioning the middleware needed for application deployment;

  • to overseeing database management systems;

  • to continuously monitoring the cloud infrastructure and identifying opportunities for efficiency gains and service improvements;

  • to effectively govern usage, along with manage cost and security.

The proof: An MSP in action

GRTgaz, the leading natural gas transmission system operator in France and one of the largest in Europe, recently discovered how powerful a cloud management platform and associated managed services could be—and the significant benefits they can generate.

The company’s 15 customer relationship management (CRM), metering, billing and invoicing applications are critical to secure revenues while taking into account new regulations every year. However, GRTgaz faced a host of challenges in maintaining and testing these business-critical applications. GRTgaz set out on a journey to shorten release cycles, improve application availability and service levels, and reduce IT infrastructure costs—and asked Accenture to help.

To reduce IT infrastructure spend and improve service levels, Accenture moved GRTgaz’s testing environments from the company’s data center to a public cloud hosted on the Accenture Cloud Platform (ACP)—a centralized management control framework for brokering, orchestrating, managing, and governing enterprise cloud solutions. That move enabled GRTgaz to significantly shorten the release cycle for its commercial applications, speed up incident resolution during user acceptance testing, improve overall service levels, and reduce operational IT costs by 30 percent. Encouraged by these results, GRTgaz subsequently migrated its development environments to ACP and is considering moving its production environments there as well.

Accenture continues to add new capabilities to ACP that keep pace with ongoing changes in the cloud marketplace

The recently released version 4.0, for instance, provides a blueprint capability, which will enable a developer to build an application stack once and then apply it consistently through ACP to both public and private clouds. And that means a company’s on-premises environment can benefit from the same Accenture services and high degree of automation and uniformity that previously only public clouds have enjoyed.

What to look for?

If you’re considering a cloud management platform, it’s important to understand there’s a broad spectrum of options you can choose from. To pick the right one for your business, and get the most from the one you do select, think carefully about the attributes the platform should have. In our experience, the important ones are the following:

  1. IT efficiency: Gives organizations the control and agility to consume and manage their business services amply, securely, and effectively across multiple clouds on demand, at speed, from a single point.

  2. Cloud analytics: Improves tactical and strategic planning, allows users to persistently govern IT spend, and helps identify ways to reduce costs.

  3. Cloud management services: Provides add-on tools and services to help manage cloud estates, such as antivirus, backup and recovery, monitoring and patching.

  4. Billing insights: Delivers accurate and timely consumption data, enabling cost transparency and immediate feedback on how much you’re spending.

  5. Operational policies and governance: Gives users freedom and agility to use the cloud while maintaining necessary controls.

  6. Migration: Enables you to migrate and transform workloads consistently and on schedule, at scale, with reduced costs and minimal disruption to the business.

  7. Provider choice and sourcing: Gives you a centralized “command center” for viewing and managing cloud resources in one place, across cloud providers.

  8. App modernization: Provides IP and tools to pre-build and quickly deploy profitable, high-quality, and scalable automated cloud solutions.’

  9. Active Security for compliance and configuration management.

With the cloud continuing to evolve and new opportunities proliferating, it makes sense that companies are leaning on MSPs and cloud management platforms for help getting the most from the cloud. In fact, with MSPs’ robust services and proven track record, there’s no excuse for any company to go it alone and risk falling short of what they hope to achieve.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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