Using Microsoft Azure to Do More With Less

At a Glance

The big picture: Leaders are now reconsidering their use of cloud resources and seeking opportunities to optimize cloud operational costs.

Why it matters: At a time when leaders are looking to optimize spend while honing in on high-value capabilities, Microsoft Azure offers technologies, tools, and services that enable companies to make smart cloud expenditures.

Bottom line: An established cloud operating model, alignment to governance disciplines and a well-architected framework following five benefit pillars enable organizations to do more (in the cloud) while optimizing costs.

Market uncertainty makes it difficult to predict the future, and there is nothing like uncertainty to make leaders want to do more with less. Leaders today are looking to find efficiencies in spend without losing capabilities in the cloud. One of the easiest ways to reduce operational costs is to optimize cloud expenditures. Why? Because the earlier rush to the cloud has left many organizations’ cloud implementations something less than optimized, performant, and cost-efficient.

There are differences between running a business in the cloud versus running it with on-premises infrastructure. In the cloud’s early days, teams lifted and shifted their on-premises workloads to the cloud. They did so without the benefit of experience yet to come: without today’s governance and greater expertise, many cloud implementations still show evidence of past mistakes. Those mistakes can lead to a variety of hazards and common pitfalls — from sub-par performance, outdated architectural design, misalignment to the business’ revised goals and outcomes, and higher-than-necessary costs to breaches and other security and compliance risks.

Designed properly, the cloud can deliver cost savings, resiliency, and growth. It can enable the automation of IT and security tasks to improve efficiency and reduce costs. For leaders who want to navigate market uncertainty by doing more with less, better cloud architectural design, governance, and implementations help future-proof their businesses.

Doing more with less: Microsoft Azure’s five benefit pillars

Organizations are leveraging Microsoft Azure to do more with less. The ways in which Azure supports doing more with less can be considered in five distinct — but intertwined — benefit pillars.

  1. Operational excellence: Azure’s toolset enables efficient deployment, monitoring, and management of cloud workloads to achieve operational excellence. Automation using Azure DevOps and related services enables continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD), Azure portal offers services to monitor, measure and alert on key business objective metrics, and disaster recovery planning, design and testing conducted periodically to account for the possibility of failure.
  2. Security, privacy and compliance: Azure supports alignment with an organization’s compliance objectives and regulatory requirements. Businesses determine which controls from the frameworks apply to the cloud environment to support their unique compliance needs., Azure services offer the creation and implementation to meet the control objective by taking advantage of built-in policies and configuring additional policies as needed.
  3. Reliability: A well-thought-out architectural design and Azure foundation setup enable businesses to operate resilient, highly available workloads in the cloud leveraging Azure technologies and services. A reliable infrastructure should have redundancy built-in, be scalable and fault-tolerant, including rollback, failure detection and capacity management capabilities, and be optimized to include emergency response and toil reduction automation.
  4. Cost optimization: Azure Advisor and Cost Management services provide visibility, analysis and recommendations for continued cost optimization and savings within the cloud environment. This enhanced visibility into cloud costs helps organizations learn to design more cost-effectively to leverage reserved or SPOT instances, create savings plans and report on chargeback of workloads based on implemented tagging and naming conventions.
  5. Performance efficiency: Azure tools help teams understand their organization’s cloud footprint and performance baseline for each application. By enabling teams to design and tune cloud resources for optimal performance, Azure empowers organizations to capitalize on cloud’s advantages better with improved autoscaling, compute choices and storage configurations. Teams configure their cloud environments to use only what is needed, when it is needed.

Getting started with Microsoft Azure

Leaders can choose a Microsoft Solution Partner with access to modern tools to collect a customer’s digital estate, analyze their currently deployed environment, and provide insights that will lead to achievement of the five benefit pillars. Aligning to Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) can empower a business with the strategy, plan, architectural design, and cloud foundation to harness the power of Microsoft Azure to achieve the stability, productivity, innovation, and growth that will define the organization’s future.

While many organizations pursue these goals independently, others choose to engage with external experts to get the work done. When choosing experts to engage:

  • Seek partners who fully align to Microsoft’s CAF with resources that can support transformations from strategy at the outset through to optimization and operations at the end.
  • Microsoft Solution Assessments can help clients transform their applications, boosting performance via migration to the latest technology stack. They evaluate operations to ensure reliability and resiliency and institute proper measures and controls to ensure compliance and security. These actionable assessments of the current cloud environment determine the next steps that will lead to digital transformation and process improvement.
  • Well-architected framework reviews evaluate the alignment of architectural and operating processes with business expectations and identify strategic and tactical areas of improvement.
  • Choose partners with roots in advisory consulting who will ensure cloud strategies align to desired business outcomes. Look for partners with deep expertise in security, risk, compliance, and governance who will ensure cloud governance guardrails are in place to support the cloud strategy. Partners like these take the time to understand the needs of both IT and the business, to set up cloud implementations with proper cost management, cost optimization, integration into current or new governance ceremonies, and to deliver efficiencies that enable businesses to save money and continue to grow. Strength in security, risk, compliance, governance, or some combination of these enables cloud implementation efforts to harmonize with interests beyond IT and the line of business.
  • Microsoft Solution Partners have access to Microsoft-funded resources to assist with the cloud migration journey including Azure FastTrack, solution assessment programs, and Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP). Look for a partner who will return those Microsoft funds to their clients as an investment in services.
  • When businesses first move to the cloud, or even transform their cloud implementations, they often discover a skill set gap within their teams and a financial understanding of the intrinsic value the cloud service provide above just a data center run by Microsoft. Very few partners will offer full-suite managed talent to fill these gaps and drive to high maturity. It is not unusual for a team to come to understand new operational skill requirements only near the end of a digital transformation or cloud implementation project. That is when it is useful to have a partner that can augment the organization’s team, whether cloud engineering, infrastructure support or another skill set.

Optimizing cloud costs and more

Leaders are wise to seek cost reduction and cost optimization in uncertain times like these. Many leaders are now reconsidering their use of cloud and seeking opportunities to optimize their cloud costs. With Microsoft Azure, they are not only gaining visibility into and control over cloud costs but also designing and tuning their cloud implementations for maximum performance, reliable design, and monitoring while managing privacy and security to meet their compliance needs with the support of Microsoft on this journey.

Register now for our next webinar: Confidence in the Cloud: Ensuring a Successful Migration to Microsoft Azure, Thursday, June 15 – 11 a.m., EDT.

Read the results of our new Global IT Executive Survey: The Innovation vs. Technical Debt Tug-of-War.

To learn more about our Microsoft consulting solutions, contact us.

Will Thomas

Managing Director
Enterprise Cloud

Patrick Anderson

Managing Director
Technology Strategy and Architecture

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