CIOs set new benchmarks for managed cloud services providers

IDC research highlights drivers and expectations for cloud transformation, cloud services and cloud management

Hybrid cloud is quickly becoming the norm, and CIOs bear the bulk of the responsibility, especially as it moves IT to the very heart of the organization. It’s a precarious position—disruption can easily result in lost business and damage to a company’s reputation. With the stakes so high, many organizations seek managed cloud services to support both the journey to cloud and ongoing management of hybrid environments.

A recent IDC paper examines the needs and requirements for companies using hybrid cloud and managed cloud services, from the initial cloud migration to continuous management of cloud environments, both private and public, to critical challenges that surround cloud and managed cloud services.

Business drivers for managed cloud services

First, let’s look at why businesses are turning to cloud managed services. Respondents to the IDC survey were asked to identify the primary business drivers that led them to use cloud managed services in their business. The top three drivers:

  1. Business demand for more agility and/or speed from IT
  2. Need to increase revenue by enabling new revenue streams
  3. Desire to link IT with business performance

Agility is the business term for how swiftly an enterprise can move on budding business opportunities. IT agility, on the other hand, looks at how proficiently the IT infrastructure of an enterprise can respond to outside influences and support business performance. “It makes sense that agility would top the list of business drivers,” says Chief Architect for IBM Cloud Migration Factory Dr. Kumar Saurabh. “It’s also a major component of the other drivers on the list.”

Transformational requirements of moving to managed cloud services

Next, the research digs into the professional services that CIOs need to support their business’ move to managed cloud services—what are they looking for in a managed cloud services partner?

Read the IDC paper

  1. Application portfolio rationalization and modernization
  2. Experience in designing a robust security blueprint
  3. Data center infrastructure design and optimization

Application portfolio rationalization and modernization is an ongoing enhancement program that requires consistent reassessment and re-engineering. Data centers are intricate environments, constantly evolving. “Skills, technologies, systems, resource needs, security matters, governing and regulatory necessities are all transforming, and the stride of transformation keeps accelerating,” Saurabh says. “An experienced hand is critical in data center infrastructure design, transformation, optimization and creating security blueprints.”

Modernization and transformation to managed cloud services

Another crucial step in this process is identifying the business’ key priorities once a partnership with a managed services provider is formed. IDC asked respondents which modernization tactics are primary objectives:

  1. Upgrade legacy infrastructure to a private cloud infrastructure
  2. Re-host or re-platform legacy or older packaged applications (like SAP, Oracle and Microsoft) onto cloud infrastructures
  3. Replace existing infrastructure with cloud infrastructure

It is important to look at the whole picture when it comes to data center transformation, including consolidation, standardization, relocation, automation and migration. “To be successful, enterprises should have, or seek partners who have, the experience and skills to support complex transformations,” Saurabh says. “That includes the ability to re-host or re-platform legacy environments or replace existing infrastructure with cloud.”

CIOs rightly have high expectations for managed cloud services, and providers must bring a broad set of capabilities to the table in order to address the full life cycle of a business’ cloud transformation. Service consistency, portability and flexibility are also critical things to consider.