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Friday, 25 August 2017 08:12

The Growing Need for Robust Project Management in Cloud Deployments

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Written by Andrean Georgiev, EMEA Project Manager, iland cloud

According to a PWC study, 97 percent of organisations believe project management is critical to business performance and organisational success, and in my opinion there are good reasons for that. Project management methodologies provide a proven framework to break down complexity, and bring together people, processes, technology, organisational structure and tools.

Typically, project management techniques are used for large IT infrastructure and large technology led change programmes. But, as we move more and more critical applications into the cloud, should we be using project management techniques and methodologies in cloud provisioning? Is it necessary?

In very simple cloud deployments it is generally not seen as necessary and, as a result, many cloud service providers don’t offer these specific resources to their new customers. That said, the cloud service providers that do offer this as a service to their customers do absolutely see the benefits. The project manager acts as a single point of contact from start to finish of the deployment. From my experience, especially when working with some large service providers, the prospect of finding the right person, department, or process can be daunting and without a single point of contact, previously relayed information often gets lost or miscommunicated. Additionally, even though the technology has matured and the process of utilising cloud interfaces is simpler than ever before, customers still benefit from a tailored onboarding plan for their technical administrator, which is where the project manager can really help.

In more complicated scenarios, the assignment of a project manager from the cloud service provider has become an absolute necessity. As cloud becomes more mainstream, so organisations are putting more of their critical infrastructure into the cloud and this means the specific requirements and scope are also increasing, hence the reason why those project management skills are more widely sought after.

These more encompassing use cases require flexibility and add-on items to standard Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), and other offerings. Here at iland we have a number of project managers that are finding that more and more customers want to utilise direct circuits to our data centres, and they want to colocate or rent specific physical devices for utilisation alongside public or private cloud, or need to implement ever more complicated networking which goes through phases of testing. In the course of providing those services, there is increasingly a need to interact with and manage several telecommunication providers, equipment manufacturers, MSPs, consultants of different hierarchies and levels of information and familiarity. The key here is having a project manager who can communicate on all levels with all the various stakeholders, as well as the ability to customise the project methodology to the exact requirements which will ensure there are more controls and transparency around the deployment.

To that effect, we offer a bespoke tailored deployment to every one of our customers. For example, the setup of our iland Secure Cloud DRaaS utilising Zerto replication technology comes with a deployment plan and a kickoff call during which we go over all deliverables needed for a successful DRaaS set up, while also providing any relevant training and feedback to help it to run successfully post-implementation. All of this is possible as each of our customers are provided with a dedicated project manager to guide the project teams on both sides throughout their deployment and onboarding experience.

So today there is real value in having a project manager assist in cloud deployments and I believe this is now just as relevant in both simpler and more complex scenarios. We put strong emphasis on processes and methodologies that help customers cut time and costs in getting their iland environments up and running. Most importantly, we believe in improving the overall customer experience. Undoubtedly the predictability and transparency brought about by our tailored project management methodologies certainly helps with this. In our view cloud deployments today are just like any other technology deployment, especially in our highly complex and constantly changing world. Therefore the need for those prerequisite skills to manage the deployment successfully will mean that the customer sees the return on the investment in cloud projects they were expecting.

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