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The Agile Cloud Imperative

Cloud Success

Ali DinBy Ali Din

The word agility conjures up images of fitness, dexterity, and physical aptitude. Agility courses were designed to measure the skill participants have at navigating obstacles. Performance is determined by completion of the course without falling to any obstacles.

Like agility courses, the current approach to IT in today’s business landscape is not without its challenges. “Faster!” “Better!” “Now!” are just some of the imperatives regularly facing IT. With the fast-paced nature of today’s business landscape, near-term objectives are often given precedence ahead of long-term strategy development.

Recent Techaisle research positions a need for midmarket firms to develop what they term an “agile cloud” strategy to combat these challenges. An agility strategy helps companies to stop being reactive and, instead, promote strategy that’s equipped for long-term operational success, future change in business infrastructure, and the ever-expanding scope of IT. Like agility in the physical sense, agile cloud infrastructure moves at a fast pace and accommodates for future change.

If you are like many channel organizations, you too are trying to be more agile to leverage the growing demand for cloud-based services and capture new recurring revenue streams. Addressing the pain points captured by Techaisle’s research can help you initiate long-term relationships as a broker of cloud solutions, and a provider of services to help customers maximize their technical agility.

Agile Cloud Strategy and App Virtualization

A natural place to initiate an agile cloud strategy is app virtualization. Let’s face it, app delivery can be a headache. From compatibility issues, to running multiple instances of the same app, deploying an application is often not as straightforward as it could be. With apps playing a more central role in business operations, modernizing app delivery can have a larger impact on your customers’ IT strategy.

Techaisle elaborates on the impact of app virtualization: “Deciding to embrace cloud doesn’t automatically enable current applications to capitalize on the infrastructure. Businesses need to ensure their applications can run in a ‘virtual everything’ (e.g. processor, storage, network, etc.) environment, making a strong case for application virtualization as the key step to moving from traditional to advanced infrastructure solutions.”

More specifically, app virtualization delivers added value with the following benefits:

  • Faster app deployment. App delivery is drastically easier and quicker to deploy than traditional app publishing methods, without sacrificing the end-user experience. While the app is hosted virtually on cloud servers, it runs just like a traditional application would on a local machine. For additional time savings, evangelize a turnkey solution that minimizes the burden of maintenance on IT staff, or upsell to a package that includes managed services. This gives you an opportunity to capture additional recurring revenue and make life easier for your customers. Win-win!
  • Avoid app compatibility issues. A common application-delivery pain point is support for legacy apps. Having to run multiple instances of an app eats up time and resources needlessly. With a virtualized solution, users can run multiple versions of the same app on the same client. For instance, they can run Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 and 11 simultaneously to support access to legacy apps. In an illustrative use case, one pharmaceutical company uses an app virtualization platform to deploy legacy compounding applications to its geographically dispersed workforce. After adopting a cloud-based strategy, this company qualified its end-user experience positively, saying it “mimics that of a standalone workstation.” Additionally, it lowered its IT bill by nearly two-thirds, which made this a viable solution in the long-term for both the customer and provider.
  • The Cloud Orchestration value-add. There is no one-size-fits all cloud architecture. In fact, much of the appeal of cloud is due to its scalability. Being able to spin resources up or down on the fly is a luxury previously unavailable with infrastructure maintained on premises. Your clients will want to take advantage by focusing on orchestration. Leverage a cloud partner who facilitates direct orchestration. Your customers will want to make ample use of the available platform to connect disparate assets, review utilization, compile reports, and ultimately to optimize your infrastructure.

The Race to Agile Cloud in the IT Channel

With a forward-looking cloud strategy in hand, IT can avoid getting pulled in different directions, instead focusing on the bigger picture.

Ask your customers if they would characterize their infrastructure as agile. If there is any room for improvement (which most companies would admit to) then you’ve identified a prime opportunity to position a cloud-based solution. Like our end-user customers, we must think in the long term to remain relevant. The cloud – and more specifically, agile cloud strategy – speaks to the heartburn facing IT today. Position the concept to your customers before others do and you just may win the course.

Ali Din is GM and CMO at dinCloud, a cloud services provider that helps organizations rapidly migrate their IT infrastructure to the cloud. Ali’s IT industry career in the last 20 years has spanned product development, finance, and most recently, marketing and brand management. For more information, visit: www.dincloud.com or follow @dinCloud on Twitter.


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