6 steps to help your customers get started with Microsoft Azure

Categories: Cloud Infrastructure
Tags: Microsoft Azure

For any business looking to refresh its IT infrastructure, at Vuzion we believe that Microsoft Azure is the cloud platform of choice for delivering modern business IT solutions.

From initial planning, through to budgeting and choosing the relevant migration strategy for the customer, and creating an ongoing management plan, below we outline six steps that can help you get your customers started with Microsoft Azure:

Step 1: Help your customers to define their goals for the cloud

The first step is to make sure that you have clearly defined aims for moving to the cloud.  

While, a primary goal, for example, might be to save money on IT by shifting the cost of capital expenses (CAPEX) to operating expenses (OPEX), there are many other benefits to be gained – such as those resulting from Azure’s flexibility, the faster development and deployment opportunities, and the ability to utilise modern artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.

Vuzion tip:  Develop your in-house Azure expertise through Vuzion’s training and enablement programme EDGE and leverage Vuzion’s professional services, to ensure you’re able to support your customers with premier advice.    

Step 2: Help your customers with the creation of an effective cloud migration plan:

With its growing number of integrated services – and which include networking, storage, analytics, and computing – it’s essential for a business to create a migration plan that aligns with business objectives.

Begin, by gaining a full understanding of your customer’s business and what they’re trying to achieve. This is also the time to rank/score existing workloads according to how a move to the cloud would impact the business.

Vuzion tip: Vuzion’s Cloud Discovery Package can help you support customers with planning. Delivered white-labelled if required, the package comprises:

- a review of existing on-premises applications, systems and infrastructure

- a review of pain point and concerns in the context of the business's future plans

- the collation, analysis and evaluation of collected data, performance and workload metrics to create a customer itemised cloud discovery report and roadmap.

Step 3: Ensure your customers consider compliance and regulatory requirements

Compliance and regulatory requirements can vary depending on industry sector – and, as an example, government, healthcare, retail, and finance all have their own specific rules regarding data security.

Vuzion tip: Understanding data security requirements in your customers’ particular markets will give you the edge over other suppliers.

Step 4: Calculate the customer’s potential financial return

Although Azure provides many benefits, your customers will want to know that their financial return will be both short- and long-term. This is where you can demonstrate that you really are a trusted advisor on whom they can rely.

Review each workload with your customer and evaluate the cost to a) move it to the cloud, and b) run, manage and maintain it in the cloud.

Vuzion tip: Help your customers even further with budgeting, advising on the best way to optimise spend – for example, for customers who can predict spend, a saving of up to 80 percent can be made by investing in Azure VM Reserved Instances for a one or three year term.

Step 5: Help your customers define a cloud identity and security strategy

Eighty one percent of breaches result from identity theft (source: Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report 2018), with threats across device, data, apps and infrastructure on the rise. An identity and access management strategy is, therefore, an essential component of any cloud migration plan.   

A cloud identity strategy that’s weak gives insufficient protection against cyber-attack, whereas one that’s too strong can frustrate users by blocking legitimate access.

A critical step will be in determining how to handle sign-on, authentication (for example, whether multi-factor authentication (MFA) is required), and self-service capabilities in the cloud. With Azure Active Directory (AAD), customers benefit from centralised and seamless access to any approved application from virtually any location or device.

Vuzion tip: Vuzion professional services offer an Azure Identity and Access Management service that can help you support your customers in the creation of an identity and security strategy.

Step 6: Follow Microsoft’s four stage migration programme

Microsoft promotes a four stage programme to adopt when migrating customers to Azure:

Assess: begin an Azure migration by assessing your customer’s on-premises apps, data and infrastructure. Map dependencies across applications and decide their priority for cloud migration.

Migrate: move the resources using powerful tools that can automate the cloud migration journey while minimising downtime.

Optimise: streamline the customer’s cloud resources and monitor the applications to improve performance, maximise ROI and stay compliant with regulatory standards – all from within Azure.

Manage: ensure the applications are protected and proactively managed after migration.

Vuzion tip: Vuzion’s certified Azure experts are well qualified in delivering projects utilising Microsoft’s four-stage migration programme – and can provide additional support if required, so that you’re able to make the most of Azure’s potential. 

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