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Where's the partner opportunity in the public cloud?

Where's the partner opportunity in the public cloud?

How cloud specialists can reduce platform costs by 60 per cent and alleviate security concerns for customers.

James Valentine - CTO, Fronde

James Valentine - CTO, Fronde

Public cloud is fast becoming the go to technology platform for Australian organisations of all sizes, but for many businesses, managing their environment quickly becomes a pressing issue.

Many organisations have embraced the cloud in the expectation of achieving lower costs and improved competitive advantage.

However, the actual costs of managing public cloud services can get out of control if not managed by staff with a specific skillset.

Fronde CTO, James Valentine, said that, while public cloud can seem cost-effective in the short-term, building the capabilities to support and manage cloud platforms within an organisation can be expensive.

“The challenge for organisations is to build the capability to support and manage the platform. In practice, their priority defaults to delivering product or software delivery milestones," he explained.

"The result is higher platform costs. Worse, they may be exposing themselves to significant security risks."

Valentine said Fronde’s analysis of its customer base found that organisations without specialist skills to manage and optimise the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform spend up to 60 per cent more in platform costs and experience 35 per cent more security breaches.

For many organisations, achieving maximum return on investment is unlikely, given their limited access to in-house skills and resources.

The general tech skills shortage in Australian IT means that organisations struggle to find talent and, as a result, will increasingly need to lean on the partner community to fill this gap.

Fronde has a number of customers under active management, some of which are quite passive and use the company to bill them for AWS services.

“Then we have a spectrum of customers which goes right up to full managed services,” said Valentine. “When there is active management, you are looking for efficiencies, and you take proactive steps to ensure that you are doing the things that should be done.

“Amazon does a great job of making you aware of the things that should be done, but what we find is, customers that are not actively managing it don’t prioritise doing that and don’t go out of their way to take the steps they need to stay ahead of the game and get the efficiencies and benefits they should be getting," he said.

“It is more like they are missing out on the efficiencies and opportunities available to them as a result.

“We haven’t really seen a particular demographic or type [of customer] who is going to do it their own way.

"There are people who think it will take care of itself and assume that it is automated and in the cloud, and that some of the day-to-day BAU [business as usual] activities will just happen.

“Cloud does take away a lot of that heavy lifting but people forget that you still have to make sure you are keeping an eye on things. Tech centric organisations such as developers will turn things on and sometimes forget to turn things off."

Valentine said that, in his experience, more often than not, it comes down to types of people rather than types of clients, with those that are spending lower amounts more likely to manage it passively, whereas clients who are spending larger amounts per month are generally more keen for active management.

“What we see is that there are customers that are going from small usage, where they are letting it run and the usage is not really noticeable, but as they start to scale and start to use the platforms more," he added.

"That is when they can start to miss that trick, when they need to start doing more active management.

"When it is $1000 per month, it does not look that different, but at $20,000 to $30,000 to $40,000 per month, you have to be careful that you are actively managing that spend.

“Amazon’s blessing is that it is cheaper to leave it on than traditional models, but it still costs money, so you have to be thinking about it, and it is not particularly hard to manage. But for customers, they want to focus on what makes them different and great and have someone manage that for them.

“It is something we do every day but for them it is just another task on their laundry list of things they need to get done," he said.

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