Managing the cloud: Drive efficiency in delivery

Dave Sobel

With cloud services becoming more and more a part of an MSPs delivery mechanism to clients, a new series of business problems emerge. Cloud technologies may reduce the technical complexity of delivery for an MSP, but those same technologies bring with them new management problems. Cloud providers have different SLAs for delivery of their services, different interfaces by which to manage those services, and the complexities of vendor management across an ever growing number of providers.

Managing-CloudCompTIA’s latest data about cloud services provides both good and troubling news for solution providers. The good news is that when comparing on-premise margins with those margins when delivering cloud services, solution providers are able to maintain similar figures. On-premise service delivery, on average, results in margins of approximately 24% compared with 23% for cloud services. This is encouraging news, proving that solution providers can maintain margin even in a cloud world. However, the challenge comes in terms of comparing average deal revenue.

On premise work averages nearly $2 for every single dollar of cloud services revenue, resulting in a dramatic cut in the top line revenues brought in from services. Thus, to maintain the same raw revenue figures in a business, a solution provider must be handling twice as many customers – and in doing so, adds to their own management complexity.

As an MSP brings onboard multiple cloud services and a greater number of customers to continue to maintain their business targets, seeking new ways of efficiency becomes increasingly important. Focusing in on delivering as many cloud services from a single console and reducing as much of the complexity of vendor interactions as possible should be a goal.

The RMM console is a logical place to manage additional services, as it is already an established portal for insight into a customer’s services and devices; and a common work place for MSPs. Extending the RMM to include cloud management increases the efficiency of the MSP in a way they are already familiar with, and increases efficiency while keeping new training requirements low.

Additionally, integrating into a GUI based management system accelerates the onboarding of new engineers in an MSP, as complex shell based management (such as with PowerShell) is reduced, new engineers can be effective more quickly. As an added bonus, management of these cloud systems can be performed by more junior resources, helping to reduce cost.

This integrated approach also yields benefits in the reporting that is possible, with MSPs able to report on systems across both on-premise and in the cloud on a single interface. By leveraging a familiar reporting engine, MSPs gain efficiency and customers are presented data in formats they are already comfortable with.

This integrated approach is the direction the industry should and is moving in, and should be a key element of selection of cloud services in the future for MSPs. Driving efficiency in delivery is one of the ways to offset declines in revenue as systems move to the cloud.

As always all thoughts and comments are welcome! Are you considering an integrated approach when delivering cloud? Share your thoughts below!