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7 Things to Look for in an Azure Managed Services Provider

Organizations worldwide have spent more than $30 billion on cloud infrastructure services in the second quarter of 2020 alone, according to a recent study done by Synergy Research. With so many business operations taking place inside the cloud, the cost of a cloud misconfiguration or poor cloud optimization can be exceedingly high. So finding the right Azure managed service provider (MSP) becomes imperative for an organization that has embarked on the cloud journey.

An Azure MSP is a partner who helps corporate customers in transition – by advising them in all aspects of their cloud journey. A cloud MSP shows a customer all the benefits that come into play at cloud adoption – from consulting to migrations, to operations management, and more.

An experienced Azure MSP separates itself by acquiring expert skills around DevOps, automation, and cloud-native application design. It uses the best features of Azure in designing solutions – be it IaaS, PaaS, DRaaS, or SaaS offerings, to meet their customers’ demand or business requirements. It provides solutions as a one-stop-shop for its clients by providing usual support, other technical know-how, and more. An MSP also incorporates hosting, SI, resale, or application design as a combined managed service offering to the Corporate Customer.

Below are 7 key skills that will certainly help to find your perfect Microsoft Azure MSP:

1.    How much domain knowledge or expertise should the Azure MSP have? 

An Azure MSP should provide you with deep knowledge and expertise in all aspects of MS Azure. So, before you partner with an Azure MSP, make sure that it has an advanced status – an Azure Cloud Platform Gold Partner. A proficient MS Azure partner will have years of experience in planning, deployment, and management in addition to key certifications and best practices. All this will help on your Azure journey from pre-sales to purchasing and going onboard.

So before shortlisting an Azure Partner, find out:

  • MSP status with Microsoft.
  • The extent of Azure practice expertise of the MSP
  • Certifications and experience of the MSP and that of its team members.
  • The right combo of solutions and services that an MSP offers – to meet specific needs

In fact, why just for Azure, a good MSP should have understanding of ground realities upto granular level in the of cloud hosting business – as Progression does, with over 2 decades of flawless, relevant experience.

 

2.    How can you extract full value out of your Azure? 

Organizations usually use three Azure services: computing, networking, and access control. An MSP should help you determine the right Azure services to help your shift to derive the ideal services. It can assist you in finding sections in your application that can be fine-tuned to derive the utmost benefit in scaling up to Azure. In doing so, an experienced Azure partner help by averting typical errors. So, it is not necessary to change your entire infrastructure to get the maximum value out of Azure. An MSP will determine key areas to focus on so that your migration occurs quickly and get the utmost benefit.

Ask yourself the following:

  • Can the MSP suggest the right service for me?
  • How can the service help my organization?
  • What appropriate changes should I make in my IT infrastructure for Azure?

 

3.    Does the MSP offer end-to-end support?

A proactive MSP starts assisting you right from the pre-sales period to help you understand your needs and continues supporting you throughout your span in Microsoft Azure. It will audit your existing IT infrastructure, processes, and IT objectives. The MSP will assess the position of your migration to cloud and device a precise practice and planning to make the most of Microsoft Azure for your organization. It will measure, monitor, and manage to improve your actual operations. Please check if your MSP Partner can offer the above services and help you to progress and grow.

Do remember to assess the following salient factors before identifying an MSP partner:

  • Kind of services the MSP partner offers, in planning and cloud preparedness
  • The solutions and mix of services it will provide to help in priority applications – such as whether it possesses and deploys a RIMM (remote infrastructure monitoring & management)
  • Or consider the fact whether it has an on-ground 24×7 NOC that works to ensure clients have seamless performance
  • Support from experts to help you customize or change your existing Azure deployment

 

4.    What are the procedures for managing communications and availing technical assistance?

An important factor of a Managed Service Provider is supporting your organization with its expertise through a process of communication with your team. The MSP should ideally align a dedicated manager or a SPOC who will understand your organizational needs to ensure the best possible outcomes from the deployment of Azure.

A successful MSP will provide 24/7 support through various channels if you face an issue in adapting Microsoft Azure so that the operations of your organizational flow seamlessly.

Some relevant queries at this point:

  • Will the MSP assign one devoted manager for your organization?
  • Will your organization get 24/7 support?
  • What are the various service channels you stand to receive?

 

5.    Does your Azure partner provide you the required service?

 Please ensure that your Azure MSP offers you all the services that you may require. It should possess the inherent skills to access pro-active, continuous monitoring for your systems and applications. It includes application performance, log monitoring and alerts, system health monitoring, and more.

A good MSP should also provide support operations management, identity, and access management, configuration support, and backup and disaster recovery support. Your Azure partner will provide all the scope for support so that it will be easy for you to determine how effectively it will assist your organization in the journey with Microsoft Azure.

The following queries to keep in mind while availing services

What Microsoft Azure solutions and services do your MSP offer?

  • How can an MSP help you plan, prepare, and manage Azure deployment?
  • What are the solutions that the MSP offers – to support your needs in agile business environments in the future?
  • What services does an MSP offer to enhance prevailing Microsoft Azure to scale performance according to your organization?

 

6.    How can an MSP optimize cost?

 An MSP is a potential partner to help you in cost savings. It supports your organization by providing efficient services at a competitive price rather than hiring a full-time internal staff. It may also provide FREE services on a limited period trial basis.

Your chosen MSP should work optimally by deploying analytics to know your usage and help you precisely predict your cloud demand. Hence, it will be easier to measure a solution according to your needs and pay for that only. This will also give you an option to take more or fewer services from the MSP as your organization evolves in the future.

Ask yourself the below queries:

  • What is the cost of savings can your MSP offer?
  • Does your MSP have special offers, promotions, special pricing?
  • Does your Azure partner have combined billing to simplify management?

 

7.    How do you keep up with the innovative edge of Azure?

 

Microsoft Azure comes up regularly with innovative products and releases. It requires a lot of R&D which could be a full-time job. A Microsoft Azure MSP should be an expert with the latest Microsoft innovations and releases to suggest to you so that you can optimize your service requirements as and when needed. This will have a strong impact on your organization and the desired MSP should assist you in keeping up with the latest cloud technology.

Queries for you to ask:

  • How skilled is the MSP with handling the latest Microsoft Azure innovations?
  • How does the latest release impact and therefore – benefit your organization?
  • How agile is the MSP to understand innovation as it happens and work to your advantage?

To wrap up, identifying a Microsoft Azure MSP is the first and most critical step to ensure your seamless transition to the cloud. So, finding the right answer for the right query will help you locate a successful and experienced Azure partner designed for your needs.

Answering these queries in detail will then ratchet up your quotient of ‘peace of mind’ that an MSP and impart to the client. Remember, taking the MSP route is to be able to move from operational aspects to strategic aspects of IT & core business, while the MSP takes care of the operational aspect and enables the client to gain competitive advantage.

Find out more about how Progression, which is a Gold Partner for Azure – can help kickstart your journey on Microsoft Azure. Please leave us your contact details here or call us at +91-124-6670100. Reach us today for any queries!

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