The cloud switch is on: From migration to management

As more IT shops migrate to cloud services like Office 365 and Azure, they face a new challenge: how to manage it all

The cloud switch is on: From migration to management

At this week's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, I saw a shift in vendor focus. Last year, the big focus was migration. Whether the product was Office 365, Azure, or Dynamics, the framing was how to migrate, so many vendors offered migration tools. This year, despite a continued strong presence of migration offerings, the buzz had shifted to cloud management, typically via managed services offerings.

Rocco Seyboth, vice president of product and marketing for BitTitan (a company traditionally focused on migration), said vendors seek to shift from offering a one-time set of project services to offering recurring managed services. Being able to offer a combination of services after migration is essential for businesses to remain relevant -- and keep making money.

BitTitan is a good example of a provider evolving its portfolio to management. At one time, it was known exclusively for migration tools like MigrationWiz. Today, it has nearly a dozen offerings emphasizing cloud management, such as MissionControl for Office 365 for enhanced management, compliance, reporting, alerting, and auditing, and Concierge, a help desk service companies can provide their employees. 

But BitTitan was not alone in focusing on management offerings. For example, Nuvolex pitched its multitenant Office 365 management platform, which is meant to help large IT organizations manage multitenant Office 365 deployments -- password resets, calendar and mailbox sharing setup, and user object setup. In large deployments, Microsoft's native tools do such management inelegantly. 

Such extensions to Microsoft's own tools should help IT provide the kinds of services its organization needs to use cloud tools like Office 365, Azure, and Dynamics most effectively.

Getting to the cloud is a key first step -- and that's why the early focus has been on migration. But as more companies get onto the cloud, the focus must switch to management. That switch is now happening.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.