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In the second in a series of articles on how to optimise your cloud ROI, Jonathan Bailey focuses on why good communication is the bedrock for clear project definitions and cloud optimisation strategies.

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In my previous blog on optimising cloud ROI, I discussed the importance of defining good cloud project standards. Setting and adhering to these standards, though, hinges on solid communication. This may seem obvious, but good communication, and by that I mean the right kind of communication, is critical to cloud project success.

Moving beyond the surface

Seemingly successful conversations between customers and managed service providers (MSPs) can often mask critical gaps in information. This gap can lead to misaligned expectations and missed opportunities for true optimisation.

For example, a customer may ask us to set up a domain controller in a cloud environment because they need a backup domain controller to complement their existing on-premises one. On the surface, it seems like a straightforward ask. But it turns out that what they really want is more than just spinning up a controller. Their core concern is resilience. They want to keep their operations afloat even if their physical office is compromised. So a simple VPN P2S connection or even an express route to Azure, which on the face of it would align with this customer’s request, actually wouldn’t be a good solution, because no-one would be able to securely access it from outside the existing on-premises environment.

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That key information comes from really solid foundations to your communication. It’s the bedrock for clear project definitions, optimisation strategies, and making sure customers and MSPs are on the same page about how projects should roll out, no matter how small the project.

The foundation of effective communication involves establishing a common understanding of project goals and standards, which can ensure that the right information flows seamlessly. When everyone agrees on the benchmarks to follow, the crucial specifics lead to well-defined service deliverables. This clarity paves the way for tailored solutions instead of vague assurances.


Evolving from traditional methodologies

Traditionally, past cloud project methodologies involved extensive planning, technical architect involvement, and substantial back-and-forth before a significant financial commitment marked the “Day One” of the project. However, this modus operandi doesn’t align with successful cloud project delivery. Operational support teams should be involved much earlier in the process, as they have considerable insight into the environment and can provide a lot of key data on common user pain points and problems. This means you can design these considerations out of your solution from Day One of the project, rather than Day One of “business as usual”.

Look at password management in line with SSO/SAML passthrough implementations as an example. These are common project requirements for a variety of cloud PaaS solutions and custom apps.  As engineers with a technical understanding of the function, we can intuitively grasp what credentials are required when we sign in to these apps from different locations or devices.  Operational Support teams have the insight into what scenarios end-users struggle with, and how these might be avoided or alleviated by good planning at a design level.


Shifting paradigms

This transition to more agile project management also underscores a mindset shift – moving from a Capital Expenditure (CapEx) focus to an Operational Expenditure (OpEx) perspective. Beyond its financial implications, this shift influences the entire project lifecycle. The traditional approach of allocating a fixed budget for an infrastructure overhaul has evolved.

Cloud optimisation projects are no longer about the “big bang” transformation but about an iterative, flexible approach. Mistakes are addressed promptly, decisions are re-evaluated, and reactions are swift – all of which can occur throughout the project, rather than waiting for the nebulous “business as usual” phase.

Effective communication is the adhesive that binds cloud optimisation tools and strategies together. Understanding the essence of communication transforms cloud optimisation from a technical endeavour into a collaborative journey, yielding enhanced ROI.

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