Looking to Innovate in the Cloud? Don’t Overlook This Key Element of Success

When it comes to the cloud, success is not guaranteed. Digital transformations often fall short of expectations—70% of transformations fail to meet targets, according to Boston Consulting Group. What’s going wrong?

The simple answer is that it’s hard. It’s hard to define the scope, method, and approach of migration, timelines, budgets, and security considerations, and drive the culture shifts cloud adoption demands.

Business leaders today are under immense pressure to deliver innovative business outcomes. Numerous factors need to be considered, and many of these, such as operations and environments, are in constant flux. On top of that, you’re limited by budgets, talent, and capability. It can be very challenging for organizations to achieve their goals if they have to navigate everything on their own.

Not even a public cloud provider can build all the services and expertise to cover every use case. But cloud partners—partner companies associated with cloud providers—act as trusted advisors often guiding the entire journey, through strategy, customized technology solutions, and change management.

Partners can make or break cloud transformations

It’s easy to simplify partners as extra people power or a one-time exercise to lift and shift your systems. However, the decision is far more strategic for today’s innovators.

Over the last decade, organizations have been migrating to the cloud to realize cost savings, scalability, improved security, and faster development, but the primary aim was to change the operating model. Today, their focus is on embedding transformation so every person and team can drive change and innovation.

This larger-scale transformation requires more complete approaches that combine cloud services and a variety of partner solutions to solve specific problems such as security, data and analytics, or machine learning (ML). That may call for several specialist partners working together to solve an end-to-end problem, such as cloud services partners that offer expertise, guidance and custom solution development as well as technology partners (also known as ISV partners) that provide software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions.

Ulta Beauty, the largest beauty retailer in the U.S., partnered with MongoDB, commercetools and HCLTech on a recent cloud project with the goal of providing the best experience to its end customers.

HCLTech provided expert guidance, defining the solution blueprint and cloud-native deployment architecture through cross-functional workshops. MongoDB contributed a database solution for dynamic scaling, ease-of-use, and integrations with Google Cloud. commercetools supported Ulta Beauty’s evolution of its application programming interfaces (APIs).

“Working with the right technology partners has helped us to avoid analysis paralysis that can happen when developer teams spend a lot of time trying to understand and manage every detail,” says Sethu Madhav Vure, IT Architect at Ulta Beauty. “Instead, we convert a proof of concept into a working solution, and quickly bring it to market. It’s been a major shift in our IT culture as we try out new things weekly and see incredible support from leadership.”

Deeply integrated partner ecosystems bring better outcomes

Cloud partnership ecosystems are often misunderstood, mostly because many misconstrue partner quantity with quality. The number of partners working with a cloud provider has little bearing on whether you achieve your goals.

What’s critical is that a provider’s partner ecosystem offers trust and makes its members feel secure and supported, so customer projects can meet and even exceed their full potential.

Does your organization’s cloud provider have a healthy partner ecosystem? Here are some questions to ask. Does my provider…:

  • …have high-quality, vetted partners? Cloud providers are responsible for ensuring a partner’s services practice has demonstrated customer success, offers critical technical capabilities, and includes specializations validated by an accredited third party.

  • …support open and multicloud environments? It’s now essential for organizations to build and run applications across multiple clouds and hybrid environments. Partners within an open ecosystem offer customers choice, allowing them to build once and run anywhere —unlike closed ecosystems that lock in and deny flexibility.

  • …have trusted collaboration with its partners?
    Partners do their best work when they are lifted up, invested in, and empowered to work arm-in-arm with cloud sales teams, all with aligned incentives and goals.

  • …focus on solving customer challenges? Strategies should start with a customer’s specific challenges and a cloud provider can help identify which partners can help solve an end-to-end problem. Multiple partners must often work together and in collaboration with the cloud provider, unlike traditional monolithic partnerships.

  • …offer easy procurement for best-in-class and emerging technologies? Simplified, open marketplaces help facilitate procurement and integration. An open marketplace offers carefully curated partner ISV solutions that integrate with the cloud provider and offer simplified billing where organizations pay once for everything they use. A tightly integrated system also demonstrates aligned incentives by inviting customers to retire committed spend through partner services.

  • …offer deep specialization? Deep specialization in critical areas such as data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, and application modernization enable closer partnerships and better outcomes than generalized cloud knowledge and skills.

  • …offer built-in security? When partner cloud offerings benefit from the underlying security technologies and capabilities of the cloud provider, it ensures you maintain the same level of protection and security throughout your cloud journey. A zero-trust architecture enables a cloud provider to make services and operations, including partner solutions, securely accessible from anywhere without the need to implement more traditional, perimeter-based security models.

A cloud provider’s relationships with its partners deserve careful attention and assessment. As cloud providers bring more services to the market, how they provide those services becomes the differentiator.

So consider this: is your cloud provider setting its partners up for success—and by extension, is it doing the same for you?

Learn more about how partners are helping organizations innovate in the cloud here.


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