Enterprises face hurdles around experience, costing and governance when racing to adopt the cloud and its competitive benefits.
The solution for many is to turn to managed services, but those services must align with the organization’s goals and needs. “Cloud Complete is an ideal solution for small and mid-sized organizations,” says Jason Mackay, General Manager of Comparex Canada. “But the technical complexity, workflows and governance needs of enterprises demand more robust services.”
It was with that in mind that Comparex developed its Unified Cloud Management (UCM) service. The managed service provides businesses with the framework and support needed to make the most of their moves to Azure and Office 365. It provides Comparex clients with cloud architects and deployment specialists, help desk and technical account teams, and the reporting tools they need to manage software adoption and IT service consumption.
UCM helps enterprise organizations to beat the biggest challenges they face around the cloud, notes Stephanie Mears, Product Team lead for Cloud Services at Comparex.
Expertise to overcome cloud skill shortage
“Cloud expertise remains a severe pain point for enterprises,” Mears says. “The cloud is still relatively new for many businesses, and those who haven’t used it before have a lot to learn. Plus, with new features rolled out quarterly–if not more frequently–it’s hard to keep up.”
In its 2016 IT Skills and Salary Report, training company Global Knowledge found that one-in-five IT decision makers have trouble filling cloud-related roles. This fact has not changed in years, and shows no sign of improving. And even fully-staffed IT teams face challenges around cloud management.
“There’s actually more than 500 different ways you can configure Office 365. How does an IT team stay on top of things like that, while still focusing on its core business?”
Enabling a full cloud solution
While many providers only support the “low-hanging” fruit of enabling Exchange online, UCM goes far beyond that, Mears says. For example, UCM for Office 365 enables the adoption of all elements of the suite, including Skype for Business, Yammer, Portal with OneDrive for Business and SharePoint. As well, Comparex experts consult on cloud security around these productivity tools, including in-depth consulting around Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Information Rights Management (IRM) and Azure Active Directory Premium.
Comparex delivers this complete solution through five enablement packages:
- The Messaging Enablement Package offers the services and support to help any mid-market organization make their migration to the cloud. For many enterprises, this is the first step in their journey.
- The Conferencing Enablement Package migrates and manages Office 365 conferencing environments to create cost efficiencies and enable powerful collaboration.
- The Cloud Security Enablement Package provides businesses with the tools and guidance to protect their Microsoft Office 365 environment.
- The Productivity Enablement Package helps organizations to fully utilize the powerful collaboration and productivity features of Office 365 including Office Pro Plus, OneNote, Groups, Yammer, Delve, and Sway. It helps end users realize the full potential of these products and tracks productivity gains for a true return on value.
- The Portal Enablement Package unlocks the full power of SharePoint Online for businesses. Expert SharePoint architects help organizations determine the best path forward and how to use Microsoft’s best practices for information architecture and SharePoint governance.
Each UCM for Office 365 enablement package includes a dedicated project manager, IT administration training workshops and live training webinars for users to ensure adoption of best practices.
Adoption, cost and governance
“Governance around the cloud is a huge issue for businesses,” Mears says. “One of the most common questions we get from our clients is, ‘How can we be sure we’re utilizing Microsoft best practices and avoiding security risks?’”
She says UCM can be set up to include administration on behalf of clients to assist with this issue. Comparex can then take the corrective actions required to deal with instances of increased spam, security threats or user configurations.
Cost optimization, especially around Azure, is also a crucial concern for enterprises. Through a cost consumption dashboard , UCM for Azure clients receive a detailed breakdown of usage and spend by department, user or application. Enterprises can also gain transparency into peaks and patterns for better budget predictability.
For those deploying Office 365, UCM’s monitoring capabilities can help ensure users are using the software tools provided to them. If not, services such as training and communications are provided by Comparex to increase software and feature adoption rate.
“What good is a move to the cloud if its benefits aren’t being fully taken advantage of by the users?” Mackay asks. “Comparex brings to bear decades of experience—more than 110 years combined—in successfully migrating our customers to Office 365 and Azure and make sure they are getting the most from their move to the cloud.”
This is the first of a two-part blog series on Comparex Unified Cloud Management. Watch for our next blog detailing the steps that lead to a successful process transformation using UCM.