When it Comes to your Cloud Platform, are AWS Consultants Really the Best Option?
While relying on AWS consultants to support your requirements for the cloud may seem like the best option, this approach will only get you so far before you face limitations and challenges.
Thankfully, there are more cost-effective solutions available that give you the expertise of a consultant while also providing the ongoing management and support that are synonymous with a successful cloud strategy. In this latest article, we explore this comparison in full detail.
The Cloud is on the Rise
In recent years, the cloud has become a crucial foundation for your organisation’s IT infrastructure, services, and operations.
As the COVID-19 lockdowns accelerated the trend of remote-first, flexible working, it became necessary to shift away from on-premise hardware and migrate our IT systems to the cloud.
Over the past two years, as we’ve seen more mission-critical applications, data, and business processes undergo cloud migrations, we’re becoming increasingly reliant on the technology.
Organisations that have adopted the cloud and removed outdated legacy systems have seen significant improvements of performance, speed, agility, and even cost savings.
The Amazon AWS cloud in particular has seen strong growth in recent years. In fact, AWS reported a 40% year-on-year growth in its net sales figures at the end of Q4 2021.
AWS specifically gives a number of benefits, including:
- Open platform with Linux and Windows services
- Flexibility to scale as your needs change
- Data security and reliability
- A valuable network of partners and third-party vendors.
And this trend is only set to continue, with IDC forecasting that total worldwide spending on cloud services, the hardware and software components underpinning cloud supply chain, and professional and managed cloud services, will surpass $1.3 trillion by 2025 while sustaining a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.9%.
But whether you’re only just getting started on your cloud journey, or have already attempted a large-scale migration, you’ll want to ensure your investment will be a success
An AWS deployment is a complex technical project that has many aspects to it, and lots of moving parts. It requires a dedicated strategy to keep things running smoothly beyond the deployment.
To be successful, you generally require cloud-specific skills to scope out and plan the project, help maintain business continuity, minimise risks, and then begin to realise the benefits as quickly as possible.
What many businesses find is a drastic skills gaps when it comes to cloud compared to traditional IT. With that in mind, it’s common to turn to AWS consultants for help.
Bridging the Skills Gap
AWS may appear to be straightforward to configure and run. You’re familiar with enterprise applications, and thanks to the simple dashboards offered within AWS you may feel confident a cloud deployment would be achievable.
However, the reality is that without cloud-specific knowledge and experience things can go badly wrong.
It’s also a challenge finding the right people with the right level of experience and skills to successfully deliver a cloud project for you.
You can’t afford to take the risk of moving ahead with a cloud investment unless you’re absolutely certain it will be carried out seamlessly, with as little disruption and down-time for the business as possible. But the cost of employing someone in-house just to do this is currently extremely high.
Not only that, but searching for candidates in today’s market with a talent shortage is time-consuming. Of course, you can’t guarantee that person will be successful in their role either until they’re actually on board.
You should also avoid the common mistake many organisations make of trying to find someone who can bring the skills of a developer, administrator, and support specialist all in one. These are different roles that require dedicated resources.
Alternatively, with limited availability of specialist cloud knowledge, external AWS consultants and partners can provide the expertise needed to help you.
The Value of AWS Consultants
As an Amazon AWS user, you may have already encountered the partner network in the past. Enlisting the help of an AWS consultant is generally the most popular way for organisations to bring in these technical skills. With a consultant, you simply hire an expert temporarily to get a specific job done.
These are typically small companies made up of one or two technical experts who have years of experience working with AWS and other cloud technology in a business context.
With such complex technology, and with so much on the line for your business, this is a proven way of ensuring you work with a trusted service provider to get the outcome you’re looking for.
AWS consultants work as an extension of your team, enhancing your IT capabilities with specialist skills and knowledge.
Traditionally, you can hire a consultant to do individual projects and isolated pieces of work, or perhaps work on a retainer for more long-term needs.
AWS consultants deliver technical services to help you in areas like:
Consultants can also help with strategic steps like:
- Business analysis
- Migration strategy
- Project scoping and definition
- Scalable architecture planning for AWS
- Change management
- AWS deployment and integration
- Programme and project management
- Post-deployment services.
But it’s important to note that it’s often impossible to find this range of skills listed above in one person, unless they’re one of the most talented AWS consultants with the highest certifications possible. As you would expect, these rare individuals will have very limited availability and command day rates that are driven by their rarity.
Exploring the AWS Partner Ecosystem
As touched on earlier, Amazon’s AWS cloud has a well-known, well-established ecosystem of partners and consultants available to its users.
This is a network of companies that are specialists in AWS technology, and are certified by the provider to work with it. As a customer, you’re able to access and browse the partner ecosystem for anything you require.
Because they tend to be specialists, many businesses find themselves working with a variety of individual consultants simultaneously. It’s not uncommon for one small-to-medium-sized business to have a separate consultant for AWS, for integrations with other systems, and then additional partners for custom apps and additional workloads.
Unfortunately, this takes up a significant investment of time to manage all these relationships, not to mention the cost of each consultant for each project. You also have to spend resources making sure you integrate each consultant into your team, even if only for a short-term delivery.
When this is necessary simply to keep your IT infrastructure up-to-date, it’s far from ideal. You’ll find the time you have available to spend running your organisation, and focusing on your day-to-day operations, is being drained far more than it should be.
The Challenges When Working with a Consultant
While it is a method many businesses rely on, seeking the help of a consultant to support you with your cloud infrastructure will inevitably lead to additional challenges.
The cloud is a highly flexible, highly dynamic platform, with a vast number of variables and moving parts involved.
The nature of the technology is ever-changing, so a one-off consultancy project will be unable to provide the constant ongoing service that’s vital to a successful cloud strategy.
On-premise legacy systems of the past were easier for consultants to work on, because they were static. The hardware that those legacy systems supported changed little over several years and was totally in your control.
The cloud, on the other hand, is an entirely different concept. A cloud-based IT infrastructure must have:
- Constant real-time monitoring and analysis of usage
- Continual optimisation to maintain performance
- Careful proactive cost management
- Updates, security patches, and more
- Ongoing support and maintenance.
Each of these things are time-consuming, complicated, and expensive if you don’t have the right tools and skills to keep up with them round the clock.
When you’re depending on a consultant to be your cloud expert, you’ll find yourself needing more and more time from them the longer your cloud environment is running.
In that scenario, you could find yourself in a managed service arrangement, which is a high expense and won’t even earn you the consultant’s full attention.
Another issue is that most AWS consultants will only do the specific work they’ve been asked to do. You’re unlikely to find a consultant who will look beyond the project to advise you on long-term strategic decisions with your best interests at heart, as that will usually compromise the job they’ve been hired to do.
To have full confidence that you’re building a healthy cloud environment, and that you’re gaining the desired return on investment, you need more than just a consultant.
You need a dedicated partner who can provide the continual, proactive support, maintenance, and service that is synonymous with cloud success.
Considering an Alternative
As mentioned earlier, one of the main problems with consultants is that the work they deliver is just done in one single fleeting point in time.
You’ll receive a one-off piece of work based on a snap-shot of your cloud, your business, and the platform, at that specific moment.
Then, any time you need additional work, or things change – and they will change, a lot – you’ll have to bring a consultant in again and start from scratch.
This approach doesn’t align with the characteristics of a successful, cost-effective cloud strategy, nor an efficient model for IT services.
Your cloud is always evolving, and requires continual support, and without that you’ll experience significant challenges with both performance and cost.
So, what’s the answer?
Working with a partner like igroup, with the addition of a bespoke CloudOps Active Management Solution (CAMS), you can gain access to far more than a traditional consultant.
With igroup, all the things a one-off consultant offers are readily available from our team of certified experts, while our CAMS automated technology provides you with 24-7 ongoing support and management.
igroup is a certified Amazon partner in cloud infrastructure, demonstrating our leading knowledge and expertise in managing complex cloud migrations to AWS.
We leverage that experience to provide strategic advisory services, while our highly sophisticated CAMS tools provide all the services you need for a successful cloud deployment completely automated.
This allows you to focus entirely on doing your job, with full confidence your cloud is running in the most cost-effective and optimal way possible.
The Benefits of a CloudOps Active Management Solution
CAMS has been built using our team’s experience in supporting and managing enterprise cloud environments since 2010.
Its automated services include advanced performance and cost management, proactive optimisation, automated support, and general administration, all in a simple portal.
This is a proven way to avoid common pitfalls with consultancy projects and ensure you have a trusted, reliable, always-available partner looking after your business’s critical IT systems.
CAMS can be implemented across any existing or new AWS cloud environment, allowing you to focus on delivering the best possible applications and services to your users stress-free.
igroup and CAMS will:
- Become a part of your team, delivering high quality advice and support with your best interests as the priority
- Allow you to concentrate on delivering your own services and applications by removing the headache of cloud management
- Improve overall business profitability, reduce cloud costs, and maximise ROI
- Enable your business to grow and scale with seamless use of the cloud
The monthly subscription with CAMS provides pervasive support all for the cost of around 2 days of work from a typical consultant. Compared to a temporary, limited engagement you’ll get from a consultant, working with us gives you the many advantages of automated cloud management as well as access to strategic advisory services anytime you need them under a fixed monthly fee.
These cost-effective benefits will free up more budget to invest further into your IT innovation. For more information about our pricing structure and what's included please have a look at our pricing structure.
As your cloud changes and your business grows, we’ll be there to keep up with that evolution and help you make informed strategic decisions based on the rich data analysis which CAMS provides automatically.
And unlike typical AWS consultants, CAMS already includes all the features and functions your business needs without any need for additional work or charges.
Investing in a cloud platform should be cost-effective and add greatly to your business. Your cloud-based IT infrastructure should be driving increases in speed, efficiency, and performance. But many organisations find that relying on multiple AWS consultants to gain these benefits drains time and money they can’t afford to spare.
You need an automated software solution sophisticated enough to match the complexity of the cloud, and a partner who will be there to ensure the ever-changing nature of the technology is being managed proactively, rather than just reactively.
With igroup and CAMS, you get all of that and more, all for a fraction of the cost of AWS consultants.
igroup is Here to Help
If you’re experiencing any of the challenges explored here, or are looking for an alternative to the traditional AWS consultancy model, please do get in touch with us and a member of our team will be happy to talk through your needs.
Cloud technology has become a critical aspect of modern businesses. If you don’t have sufficient AWS support in place for your cloud deployments, you’re leaving it open to serious risk.
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Budgeting for a cloud system is a totally new concept when compared to traditional IT systems, and we see those differences causing significant challenges for many organisations.
In this article, we’ll explore some important issues with AWS cost optimisation, provide advice for controlling your cloud spending, and offer suggestions to increase your ROI with AWS.
The Perfect Solution for Managaing & Supporting Your Azure Cloud
CAMS is designed specifically to give you full transparency, control, and support, for your cloud infrastructure. Get in touch with a member of our team to learn more, and we’d be happy to help!
Steve Rastall - Managing Director
Get in touch: Steve.Rastall@igroupltd.co.uk
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