The Azure Assessment: One Year Later | Quisitive
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The Azure Assessment: One Year Later
April 18, 2019
Weldon Boley
Quisitive's Azure Assessment program has been around for over a year now. Learn more about my experience and our customers' journey to the cloud.

In late 2017, Quisitive launched the Azure Assessment Program, created to address a pressing trend we were seeing with our customers evaluating a move to the Microsoft Azure cloud. The delivery mechanism included structured pod teams in which I was one of a handful that was chosen to be on the founding Azure Assessment Teams.

“We knew what we wanted the assessment program structure to look like, but there was no way to anticipate what it would become until we had the first assessment under our belts.”

Also read: Cloud Migration ROI: 5 Things to Expect from a Real Cloud Assessment & Plan

Organizations, while open to exploring the benefits of the cloud, are extremely hesitant about what a migration to the cloud would look like for their business. There’s a lot to consider beyond just ROI (return on investment)—change of this magnitude is and should be scary.

Why are you afraid of the cloud?

Our Azure Assessment Accelerator Program was built in partnership with Microsoft to alleviate the pressures and uncertainty of cloud migration. Quisitive’s comprehensive approach puts proper consideration in the questions that matter most to our customers. We knew we needed to bring different, unique perspectives to the table when building the foundation of our program and the core team that would stand behind it. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to be a part of that founding team, working with a diverse team of infrastructure architects, developers, project managers, and business analysts. Each team member brought a unique perspective to the table, and each role was important to define what successful delivery of an assessment looked like for us and for our customers.

Confidence in cloud migration can be tough for organizations to realize, and when they get complacent, it’s easier to stick to the status quo and keep kicking the can forward. Our Azure Assessment Accelerator Program was built on this foundation—one that allows us to ask the right questions and comprehensively assess if a cloud migration makes sense for our customers. Through this process, we’re able to generate a three to five-year plan for our customers.

  • Are we capturing all customer cost variables when considering ROI or cloud savings?
  • How does the organization’s operational structure change once they are fully migrated to the cloud?
  • Will the organization have to cut or add additional IT staff once the migration is complete?
  • What new capabilities become available to the organization once their infrastructure and apps are integrated in the Azure cloud fabric?

Regardless of which avenue of cloud exploration organizations pursue, I know firsthand that the quality and depth of that exploration plays a significant role in the decision-making process. We knew what we wanted the assessment program structure to look like, but there was no way to anticipate what it would actually be like until we had the first assessment under our belts.

Now, over a year later from the launch of our Azure assessment program, a lot has changed as we have become more experienced in making the program the best it can be. From the start, our assessments were structured into a six-week process that used the entry-point that was most relevant for our customers. As we gained experience and valuable feedback from our customers, we were able to shift the project timeline from six weeks to four while delivering the same results.

While we expected a lot of interest from customers throughout the process of launching our assessment program, we never could have anticipated the explosive growth of the program. Since our launch just over a year ago, we’ve touched 160+ accounts with an assessment conversation and have completed over 80 assessments throughout the life of the program. Through this process, I’ve had the opportunity to gain incredible experience and put my fingerprint on the program’s structure as it has developed.

“I learned that the education component of our assessment program is just as important as our final deliverables—it’s the fundamental piece that flips the switch for organizations.”

Through my experience in the program, there was always shifting dynamics and others that had to remain constant. In any assessment, during the assessment duration, something must be accomplished each day, even if there is a challenge point in the project. At any given point, I would be working on three to four different Azure assessments, each customer in a different stage in their journey. For these assessments to be as successful as they have, there had to be continual output with exceptional quality. As everything came together as something greater than the sum of the individual parts, that’s when I was able to generate invaluable experience.

I learned that the education component of our assessment program is just as important as our final deliverables—it’s the fundamental piece that flips the switch for organizations, helping them shift from a mindset of anxiety to excitement when considering a cloud migration. Without equipping organizations with the education and toolset to comprehensively assess the next steps in their journey to the cloud, transformation cannot occur.

The three common themes I’ve seen in completing over 80 assessments.

Generally, there are three broad buckets that organizations fall into when engaging in an assessment with Quisitive. Sometimes organizations will have team members in multiple buckets which can cause the dynamics to shift. It’s always important to understand where our customers are coming from to make the assessment program the best it can possibly be for them. These three trend buckets are…

  • The Skeptic: These are the IT teams that are often dragged into the assessment by someone outside their core team. They already have a lot on their plate and view the cloud assessment as just a distraction. Many enter our first meeting with an ‘arms crossed’ attitude and aren’t open-minded when it comes to cloud consideration. The biggest benefit for these organizations is understanding the value of the cloud beyond the migration & operations – understanding the innovation that can be applied is normally what begins to uncross their arms.
  • The Procrastinator: These are the IT teams that have done their homework or are bringing their experience. They believe in the value of the cloud but are skeptical of the true benefits and costs to their organization. Many enter the assessment ready to drill holes in the ROI. The biggest benefit for these organizations is the comprehensive ROI the assessment provides them – not just the cost to run in the cloud, the cost to get to the cloud (which are often the hidden costs they didn’t anticipate).
  • The Help Seeker: These are the IT teams that have made the commitment to go to a hybrid or full cloud environment but don’t have a true plan in place to get from Point A to Point B. The biggest benefit for these organizations is the migration roadmap they walk away with, including technical recommendation, time and cost.

In the next article in this series, I’ll break down each bucket with an in-depth look into specific examples of companies that have engaged with an Azure assessment with us, talking about the challenges, opportunities, and the end result of their assessments.

Whether you engage with an Azure assessment with Quisitive or pursue cloud evaluation on your own, the importance of thorough exploration and proper consideration cannot be overstated.