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Why is an Azure Consultant a Rare Thing?

If your business has infrastructure in the Azure cloud or is in the process of migrating data, it can be a huge challenge to find the right skills and knowledge to make sure the move is carried out seamlessly with as little disruption to the business as possible. Many traditional IT companies have adapted to the new (virtual) world and recruited cloud specialists, but there is a major skills gap when it comes to specialists on the different platforms. Using an Azure consultant can help to bridge this knowledge gap. However, that’s not the only option when it comes to receiving on-point support with your cloud platform.


The problem with platform-agnostic consultants

Many cloud consultants take a platform-agnostic approach. They work with Amazon EC2, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, meaning that they can end up having a bit of a ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ result. Although this approach can work well during the initial process of selecting the right cloud platform to fit business needs, it tends to fall short in the longer term, when specialist skills are required to manage the infrastructure and contain costs effectively.

While there are consultants who specialise in one platform or another – as igroup do with Azure & Amazon AWS - it can be difficult to find an accredited Microsoft Azure specialist consultant rather than one who focuses on the other major cloud platforms.

When you use our CloudOps Active Management Solution (CAMS), it acts as the equivalent of a team of Azure consultants, managing each of the different required areas from keeping costs down, to ongoing support. The automated solution provides a 24-hour support function; it’s never on holiday; it never takes sick leave; it’s there whenever you need help with anything.


How igroup work with Microsoft Azure

Microsoft brought Azure out 4 years after Amazon launched the precursor to EC2 in 2006, allowing them to create a more mature product that reflected the needs of enterprise businesses but also meant that the market that they entered was more crowded. As a result, there was a smaller talent pool available, with experienced consultants already specialising.

Microsoft was able to leverage their partner network to grow the scale of the Azure consulting base, and as they’ve grown, so too has the need for specialist Azure consultants and other solutions for gaining the support that’s needed to take the best advantage of what the cloud has to offer.

Microsoft offers extensive certification and training to gold partners to ensure that they offer the required skill set for clients to benefit from their various platforms. In order to achieve Gold Partner Status for Microsoft Azure, two people in a business need to pass a number of specific exams to prove that the organisation has the required knowledge.

The qualifications require substantial knowledge and leverage the existing experience of both cloud and Microsoft technologies, so they are difficult to achieve without extensive study, putting them out of the reach of some smaller consultancy firms.

igroup we were one of the first UK Gold Partners to specialise in Azure technologies, as with our background as SharePoint specialists, we already had a strong technical team in place to be able to manage the transition to covering Azure and gain the required certification to manage complex cloud migrations into Azure.


How CAMS can help to replace the need for an Azure consultant

Although there’s no doubt that a specialist Azure consultant can be useful for a business, at igroup, we felt there was a better way to offer the same level of support but with more effective results.

Using our experience in supporting and managing customer cloud environments since 2010, igroup have designed our CloudOps Active Management Solution (CAMS), offering our clients 24-hour, 7 days a week support for their cloud solution. The software brings together performance and cost monitoring tools, support processes and general administration functions through a single portal to manage your cloud which includes:

  • Always on support, fault find and fix
  • Management monitoring and reporting dashboards
  • Proactive infrastructure optimisation
  • Tools and apps to enhance cloud performance
  • Guaranteed cost savings

Our CloudOps Active Management Solution (CAMS) software can be implemented across any existing or new Azure environment, allowing your business the time to focus on delivering applications and services and not worry about managing your cloud infrastructure.

We have worked hard to create an onboarding and management process which gives your business the best output from the service, including the following steps:

Our advisory sessions

All organisations have different requirements, which is why we treat each of our clients as individuals and get to know your specific needs, using these to plan a solution that helps you realise your goals. Our initial approach is to carry out a number of advisory sessions with your team to understand the setup of your cloud architecture and the main priorities of what you’re looking for from an Azure support function. From here we can plan out the best way to fulfil your requirements and get the most out of your cloud usage.


Planning your architecture

Based on your needs, our team can then determine the optimal configuration for virtual machines and storage that blends cost efficiency with the power and processing that you need. It’s worth remembering that when we set this up in CAMS, it will change and grow with the needs of your business, not just based on a snapshot in time that you would get from an Azure consultant.


Ongoing support

One of the key benefits of the CAMS software is the ability to provide Azure support as and when you need it, with minimal delays and disruption to your service. The solution is designed to be an extension of your team, providing the in-depth knowledge and information you need to keep your cloud properly maintained and healthy, and helping to avoid any undue risks.


Risk monitoring

During these beginning stages, we also carry out extensive risk assessments so that we can record any potential problems and monitor these as part of our support mechanism.


Cost control

We will provide you with visibility of what your costs are now, rather than it being a surprise when you receive your bill. You will be able to track where you are against budget at all times so that you can be sure you’re always getting the most beneficial and efficient level of service for the price you pay.

Working with igroup

If you want to find out more about how CAMS could provide the Azure consultancy and support that your business needs, get in touch with us today and speak to an Azure expert. We can also provide you with a full product tour so that you can see how it works in real-time and the benefits it offers.

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“Your client-centered approach, diligence, professionalism and technical acumen is second to none."

"Considering where we were before, igroup provides a five-star and superior value-for-money service - thank you so much. Your services are highly valued, and we look forward to a very long-term relationship.”

Keith Bero
Commercial Director at Doddle Learn

“The igroup culture of approachable professionalism has been a great match with my team."

"Also, their ‘can do’ attitude with a pragmatic approach to problems has enabled us to move our product roadmap forward.”

Dan Frost
Managing Director at Adaptive

"Moving our Azure resources over to igroup was our main initial concern, but their skill and regular communication ensured the process went smoothly."

"Unlike other companies we've spoken to, we felt unrushed and that they fully understood our business specific concerns."

Tom Gullen
Founder, Scirra Ltd

igroup had the knowledge and expertise we needed and they were able to demonstrate how they would support our development team quickly and efficiently through their cloud management solution, CAMS.”

“Working with igroup has helped us to ensure that as we grow our infrastructure is supported fully and can deliver the results our customers expect.“

Steve Stringer
Software Architect at Oak Software