Did you know that AWS now has 500 unique resources?? How is anyone supposed to keep up with that? (A full updated list (Winter 2022) published by the folks at Eckher can be found here: https://www.eckher.com/c/21gjdl7gz4 .) Where do you even start? Are you using the right services? What the heck is AWS Sage-Kensis-Fire-Maker-Brain?! Is this something a consultant can help with? And what really are the benefits of using a cloud strategy consultant?
The pace of change within the Cloud Computing industry is fast and getting faster. More and more dollars are being invested in cloud (spend on public cloud services is forecasted to grow by 20.7% in 2023). The proliferation of services makes it difficult for many organizations to keep up with new developments.
If we compare this to previous years (below), we can see that the rate of acceleration is increasing. What the future holds is anyone’s guess, but it seems safe to say that unique cloud offerings will arrive faster than ever.
For many businesses, keeping up with the pace of change and innovation in the cloud space is unsustainable. But, it shouldn’t be a requirement.
Here’s what we’ll touch on:
- Risks of falling behind the technology curve
- How can a cloud strategy consultant help?
- What does an engagement look like?
- Key takeaways (if you’re short on time, jump straight here)
Risks of falling behind
We get it. Most development and operational teams are busy with the tools and solutions they currently have in play. These teams need the time and space to do some research, learn, and immerse themselves. Diving deep into new technologies that are continuously emerging.
Especially with day-to-day targets and objectives to hit, making space for this is near impossible.
Not keeping up can put you at risk though. A slip in R&D can give competitors the opportunity to gain a significant competitive advantage. More so with cloud, where cloud hyperscalers leverage R&D time for greater impact. Tools from today can be 10x more efficient than those from only two years ago. The AI revolution arriving with the likes of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, even 100x improvement is possible.
Once your organization falls behind it can be difficult to catch up. A lag in this area has subtle hidden knock on effects. Starting with a lowered morale that can cause your team’s best and brightest members to jump ship to other, faster moving workplaces. This then compounds issues. Such as the rate of change, lowering an organization’s technical bar. Making research and development even harder, if not impossible. Especially during busy stretches of time such as during recruitment and onboarding.
How can they help?
So how can you prevent this all from happening in the first place?
This is one of the situations where a Cloud Strategy Consultant can provide expertise and guidance. They’ll work together with your teams to develop and put in place a plan for the most efficient use of time and resources. They’ll highlight a clear path to improving internal processes and achieving business objectives. Without the usual pitfalls associated with trying something new, or developing internal competence.
Sometimes it can be as simple as having someone looking over your current architecture and processes. Then making some recommendations on optimizations. They can help you with:
- Financial savings – such as pulling asynchronous process out of the main application to run on spot instances for a 90% cost saving
- Indirect efficiencies – such as reducing the time taken to deploy to dev/test environments and saving developer time. This helps to increase morale as well as save one of the most finite and expensive resources an organization has, the developer hour.
Another often overlooked area in busy organizations is one of risk mitigation. Sure, you have a risk desk in your InfoSec org, but what about architectural and systemic risks?
What could that look like?
Using AWS as an example, many organizations have high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR) plans that involve switching over to a new region when an outage occurs. They’ll rest on the assumption that their Infrastructure as Code scripts (we are big fans of IaC by the way) will be able to get them up and running in a matter of hours if not minutes.
Which they should rightly assume, in most cases. Yet teams often overlook things like soft limits on services. Services like SES email quota, or the number of permitted EC2 public IPv4’s which are both set per region, not globally. Don’t get me wrong, AWS support is outstanding! But you can imagine that after a regional outage, it may take longer than a couple of hours to get your SES mail soft limit raised in a new region due to high demand. These sorts of unknown risks are the things that a good cloud consultant will be able to help you identify and mitigate.
What does an engagement look like?
So how does it work then? Do you just call 1-800-CLOUD-CONSULT and answer the prompts?
If only. Selecting a cloud consultant or consulting agency can be a tricky process. Make sure to look for:
- Teams with domain specific knowledge in your industry (or an adjacent industry)
- Broad understanding of what can be achieved with a wide range of clouds and cloud tools
Inter and cross cloud solutions are starting to present some valuable options. For example Google’s GCP, long regarded as the cloud of choice for data and analytics now offers some fantastic cross-cloud offerings. Allowing you to reach into other clouds to analyze the data in situ.
Now with your shortlist in hand. We recommend selecting your preferred two or three agencies and working with them on a small, discrete, well-scoped project. A project where you can control the agent-principal problem as much as possible. So you have a reasonable understanding of how to get the work done yourself and can judge if the work done is of sufficient quality and completed in a reasonable time. If this isn’t possible, you can take the scopes of these projects in the form of a work breakdown structure. Make sure to have good ‘definition of done’ for each task. Then have all your shortlisted teams quote for each other’s work. These quotes can later be compared to the billed values and competitors numbers. In this way you can work down to a single trusted partner to go forwards to a larger project where more trust is required from the organization.
For an in-depth guide on how to choose the right cloud strategy consultant for you. Check out our post here.
- Don’t fall behind the technology curve. It can have a greater impact than just ‘not keeping up with trends’.
- Cloud strategy consultants should be able to provide value in the short and long term.
- You should look for a consultant that can MVP their services for you so you know what you’re getting into.
- Look for a consultant that could be a long-term partner but can also turnaround value rapidly.
We can help!
At Autimo, we want to make sure that we’re a good fit and provide value as quickly as possible. We aim to engage with new clients in a small get-to-know you project. This allows us to build trust and rapidly turn around a real, quantifiable demonstration of value. We’ll take learnings gathered during this project to inform the next. Iteratively building our knowledge of your environment. While at the same time delivering a constant stream of incremental value.
We used this approach with our client Array systems. Starting with an initial small project the help identify ways to improve developer experience. This led to an ongoing relationship managing and maintaining what has become a sizable body of terraform code.
Working with a cloud consulting agency doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. While this approach comes with a cost associated, we have found that most customers enjoy the experience, and even achieve ROI much faster than first anticipated. Because often, we’ve been able to modernize tooling and process and achieve that golden 10x in speed, productivity or savings.
If you are interested in working with us, you can book us for a friendly, low pressure “is this a good fit” meeting here
 Soft limits are put in place by AWS to prevent accidental overspend and can be removed or raised by making a service request