Everyone Wants to Build an Azure Practice. Few Know How.
From conversations at the BitTitan booth, messaging on the expo hall floor, and top-line announcements from Microsoft, it’s clear the service provider landscape has their sights set on deploying and managing Azure.
Little matters more to the Redmond giant than driving Azure consumption. That’s no industry secret. Yet as we see Office 365 adoption and service strategies continue to mature, customers with a taste of the cloud are beginning to ask for more. Designing, deploying, and managing Azure is the next big opportunity for service providers, but few have completed more than a handful of these implementations to-date. Those that have are early members of Microsoft’s new Azure Expert Managed Service Provider program, announced just prior to the start of Inspire this year. But the majority still lack the experience to put these capabilities on their résumé.
Another point to support this conclusion was attendance at Geeman Yip’s Monday breakout session: “Building a Scalable and Repeatable Azure Services Business.” With over 200 attendees, it was easily the most well-attended session of its kind at the show.
Geeman spoke about Gartner’s “Hype Cycle,” another way of measuring market maturity, and compared it to the early days of Office 365. Service providers who invested in the right people, processes, and technologies were the most successful at growing their businesses. Those that lagged behind still saw revenue, but nowhere does the phrase “early bird gets the worm” ring truer than in technology.
Geeman argued the customer’s needs are changing, too. They seek a faster ROI. They will adopt hundreds of SaaS solutions over the next few years. And the decision makers for these purchases are heads of departments where that solution will be used instead of the IT department.
With change comes challenges: integrations between tools, governance of those applications and data, training, and even vendor management are or will become hurdles for a service provider’s customer. It’s going to be their job to help clear them.
Migrations Are Still In
Even with eyes turning towards Azure, the global demand for migration projects and the tools that help streamline the transition is still high. It’s clear from conversations at this event and inclusion in reports like the upcoming Cloud Practice Development Playbooks that MigrationWiz remains the top solution for a multitude of workloads. In this day and age, people need to move more than just mailboxes and they can’t be burdened with professional on-site services or downloads. Migrations need to be launched and managed from anywhere, anytime, with no on-premises footprint.