As cloud computing becomes indispensable as the perfect platform for managing, saving, and processing valuable data and documents, the IT and business sectors are seeing an influx of professionals calling themselves cloud consultants. Unfortunately, most of these well-meaning individuals hail from the infrastructure side of things and ignore the potential of cloud computing to better support businesses.
The truth is, cloud computing is more of an architectural issue than anything else, and these so-called consultants must take the entire business into account, learning the smallest detail about existing systems, before they consider cloud computing options. This is the same reason why organizations should screen the IT habits of prospective consultants, checking for key policies and behaviors. After all, IT habits and internal policies determine the success or failure of a project. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what chief information officers want in cloud consultants.
Exclusive access to the system
From the start of the project until the end, consultants must insist on login details that other personnel, like third-party apps, data sources, or contractors have no access to. This not only benefits the consultant but the CIO as well. Consultants are rewarded additional points for multiple logins on every system they handle.
Backup of system configuration and data
Hiring a cloud consultant is no doubt great news for business, but you’re still technically allowing a stranger to access your entire system. This is why you must perform backup of the metadata and system data beforehand. Consultants must also make their own backup copies to speed impact analysis and reduce the chances of any major errors. Even if you created file backups, this task is part of the cloud consultant’s discovery phase, and it is a deal breaker if the consultant skips this step.
Cloud consultants should be able to work closely with the business’ clients to build, design, and implement different strategies capable of improving business performance. They should be adept at developing customized expertise – industrial, strategic, technical, and functional – in a diverse project scenario that provides many career-growth opportunities. Despite the varying nature of cloud consulting roles, it generally aligns to technology consulting, management consulting, or systems integration consulting.
Use of sandboxes
Sandboxes are necessary if you want important business activities like system development, migration, and integration to be carried out in a safe, efficient manner. Though this involves paying the platform vendor, it does help reduce the overall risks and costs of the project. Any consultant who asks for multiple sandboxes should score brownie points with the CIO. Even better is when a consultant plans to use a configuration management system like Git on all sandboxes.
Maintain configuration logs
Developers hate writing comments and documentation for their code, and so it falls upon the consultant working on the system to maintain a personal log of what they did hourly. The medium could be anything – a spreadsheet document, a time card, a discrete text; what matters is being a vital part of institutional memory. Configuration logs make it easy for businesses to justify a monthly invoice or backtrack on a design decision.
So it makes sense for a business to be aware of the consultant’s process and give credit where it’s due if log files have been backed up every 90 days or so. If the configuration logs are fully viewable by the project participants, the consultant should receive even more points.
Project communication media
In a business, projects often involve both off-site and on-site resources. Offshore ones are also utilized in many instances. Despite being universal, email and phones turn out be quite clumsy and inefficient as a means of communication between collaborating teams in various locations. It is the responsibility of the consultants to accommodate the habits of clients, but at the same time, they should encourage other teams to use a more meaningful mode of communication, like the project collaboration platform.
Request for explicit sign-offs
Businesses should not be surprised if the cloud consultant wants a sign-off while the project is ongoing; this is standard practice. But they need to ask questions pertaining to the when and the how. At the bare minimum, an explicit sign-off is warranted for change orders and at the completion of the project. Knowledgeable, experienced consultants may even ask for an explicit sign-off post the discovery and at major project milestones.
The current business scenario is such that clients are now shopping according to project price rather than the value of the business. No longer is trust the main point of focus; it has now shifted to micromanagement. This does not portend well for anyone, no matter how much a business believes in controlling budgets and expenditures. Cloud consultants should, therefore, work toward garnering the trust and faith of the clients. The end result will be higher win rates on project bids. Cloud consultants will ensure that businesses do not have to make do with cookie-cutter solutions by fueling real innovation, and vendors are not under any pressure to churn out proposals without sufficient time for due diligence.
Provide guidance where necessary
Clients are often more than ready to utilize overseas resources in projects without any oversight. This mainly occurs due to the distance involved. The overseas resources aren’t just physically far away; they are often distant in terms of language, time-zone, and work culture. They tend to make assumptions about how a business works, how project costs can be managed, and what users value. All these can lead to problems during the project unless a cloud consultant steps in and diffuses the situation early on. The consultant should also guide the company on which risk factors they need to remain alert to.
Getting to higher performance
It is the duty of a good, efficient cloud consultant to develop and deliver hosting solutions capable of meeting the rising need for modern cost-efficient and agile computing solutions. By utilizing a mix of public and private cloud technology, consulting professionals can assist a business in implementing high performance, scalable hosting solutions that meet the corporate and digital application requirements of today. Moreover, cloud consultants can work together for an organization to plan and provide legacy infrastructure transformation and migration that is capable of driving the next generation of business outcomes.
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