As Accenture research has found, companies are moving more of their IT to the cloud than ever before. And as they do, many are learning the benefits of using an experienced cloud Managed Services Provider (MSP) to help them in their cloud journey. However, choosing the right MSP is not easy. It requires a company to sort through a broad and diverse group of possible MSPs and pick the right one for its situation. And that can be a very complex and time-consuming endeavor.

In this post, I take a look at how an MSP can help you get to the cloud quickly, efficiently and affordably, as well as what to look for when selecting an MSP.

Why a Cloud MSP?

While the cloud has many benefits, migrating to the cloud and ensuring you’re continually getting the most from it is not easy. It requires a lot of specialized skills, as well as a deep understanding of the cloud environment and the tools to optimize its use.

That’s why an MSP can be a valuable partner. It can help you not only at the outset—getting your legacy IT to the cloud—but also manage what’s in the cloud more nimbly and efficiently on an ongoing basis. Looked at another way, an MSP can be the glue between a company and the cloud—or, more accurately, between the assets running in the cloud and those remaining in a company’s data centers.

Actually, the benefits of using an MSP are very similar to those offered by a cloud provider. You get a team of people watching your technology implementation who have “been there, seen that”: They’ve learned from many such efforts at dozens or hundreds of other companies, and you benefit from that experience. The fact is, most companies’ people are not cloud experts, and an MSP brings skills and knowledge that organizations can’t build out on their own. An MSP also enables a company to automate cloud migration and management at scale, and at an attractive cost.

The point is, trying to handle everything in-house can be difficult and risky given your finite resources, and it could stifle the speed of your adoption of the cloud. By working with an MSP that brings scale and experience across many companies, you can leave a lot of the routine, repeatable, and time-intensive work to someone else while you concentrate on providing strategic support to the business.

What to Look For?
But not all MSPs are created equal—there’s a broad spectrum of cloud MSPs a company can choose from. How do you know which to choose? In our experience, the most effective MSP has the following attributes:

  1. Industry focus: A cloud vision, blueprint and solution that’s tailored for your industry.
  2. End-to-end capabilities: Ability to take you through the entire cloud journey—from planning and migration to culture change, management and optimization.
  3. Ecosystem reach and relationships: Strong relationships with all three of the top hyperscale providers (AWS, Azure, and Google).
  4. An automated approach: Codified best practices in a suite of tools, automated capabilities, and collaboration models that can handle migration and ongoing management.
  5. Innovation at scale: A proven track record in, and sufficient resources for, delivering innovative cloud solutions around the world.
  6. Continuous optimization: Provides cost controls, governance and accountability that ensure you generate long-term benefit.
  7. Mutual trust: Offers a shared-risk relationship with pay-as-you-go pricing.
  8. Global delivery network: Capacity to scale to migrate and manage complex, multi-vendor, global cloud infrastructure.

There’s no question the cloud is morphing quickly, which makes it difficult for companies to keep up. Working with an MSP will accelerate not only your learning curve, but also your time to value. If you’re considering a cloud MSP, the preceding list is a good starting point for evaluating prospective candidates. Another helpful resource is Gartner’s latest report, “Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure Managed Service Providers Worldwide.” It will tell you more about what to look for in a cloud MSP, as well as who’s currently leading the pack.

Siki Giunta

Managing Director – Accenture Cloud

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