Oct 15, 2018 Cloud Hosting

Guiding the Customer Journey on the AWS Cloud

Media Temple has been helping customers move a wide range of workloads to the cloud since 2015. As a result, we have a deep understanding of the growing pains customers can experience when pivoting to the cloud for the first time. Media Temple has designed an onboarding program that strives to lessen these growing pains by educating you on the cloud, addressing issues before they become problems, and demonstrating a measurable return on your cloud investment in the shortest time possible.

Most Managed Service Partners consider the onboarding of their customers’ onboarding as simply “Build, Deploy, and Migrate”. In other words, they focus solely on getting your workload up and running on the cloud as quickly as possible. They may not care whether or not you understand the details and reasons for what’s happening.

At Media Temple, we focus on strong partnerships and a seamless integration into your organization. Onboarding is a key opportunity to set our customers up for long-term success, and that includes educating all customers about the advantages of the cloud and understanding the key business objectives they are hoping to solve through adopting this highly adaptable and dynamic technology. Here’s how.

IT Adoption or Business Transformation?

It’s easy to think of migrating to the cloud as a simple infrastructure swap. But it takes work to make this a significant and beneficial transformation that can impact many aspects of a business. Migrating from an on-premise workload or from a dedicated server at a hosting company to a dynamic and scalable cloud environment requires an organization to adapt to new ways of thinking. It’s not just rethinking application development, technology adoption, or budgeting, but also exploring new methodologies for innovation, developer productivity, and more.

With Managed Services for AWS from Media Temple, our AWS-certified experts will allow you to take full advantage of the efficiencies of the cloud while taking the burden of architecting, deploying, and maintaining AWS off your hands, so you can stop worrying about your infrastructure and focus on your business. Media Temple optimizes your infrastructure based on your unique goals, working with you to maximize the effectiveness of your AWS investment, backed by our signature 24/7/365 operational support.

Everyone needs a guide. To facilitate this transformation to the cloud, we provide you with a Technical Onboarding Manager for each new Managed Services customer, and existing customers who bring us additional workloads. The Technical Onboarding Manager  specializes in getting projects from paper to production as quickly as possible. In the process, the Technical Onboarding Manager ensures that you become knowledgeable cloud consumers, capable of making informed choices on how to best leverage cloud technology to achieve business and organizational goals, as well as meeting your technical requirements.

We want to make a customer’s transition to the cloud as painless as possible. Our focus on a comprehensive onboarding experience tends to reduce both our customers cloud-related support requests and, in most cases, their overall hosting needs in less than a year. That’s a win-win for all.

It’s More Than Just Hosting

New technology doesn’t exist in a vacuum – its impact can be felt across an organization. Adopting and integrating new technologies only makes sense if they solve larger business problems. This is especially true with cloud computing, as it requires a business to reevaluate their approach to their IT philosophy.

Media Temple’s sales engagement and onboarding process is designed to learn about our customer’s big picture objectives in order to architect solutions that provide hosting and deliver a wide variety of other desired outcomes. We do this by asking a variety of questions to gain an insightful view into both immediate technical needs as well as long-term business objectives and organizational problems.

For example:

  • What are 2-3 things that keep your team up at night?
  • What are 3-5 key business objectives you and your organization will focus on over the next 12 months?
  • In your own words, what problems does Media Temple need to solve for you?
  • How would you prioritize the following technical and business objectives: Cost Optimization, Performance Optimization, Mission Critical Uptime, Developer Efficiency, Innovation, Security, Etc.

These questions are just the starting point. Throughout the onboarding process and the life of your account, you’ll have an assigned technical advisor who will revisit this information periodically to ensure we are solving for the right goals and have a clear understanding of what success looks like for your team.

Why is this important? Well, the cloud is only as useful as you make it. One of the key advantages of moving to the cloud is the ability to architect a variety of solutions that are uniquely tailored to your organization. Media Temple’s ability to help our customers leverage this benefit can only happen if we have a fundamental understanding of our customer’s business, not just their hosting needs.

Knowing these key business objectives from the beginning allows Media Temple’s cloud experts to provide novel ideas and solutions that directly address a customer’s business needs from both a technical and business perspective. Ultimately, this provides our customers with the best short- and long-term cloud strategy for their business.

The Technical and Tactical

Media Temple’s Solution Architects are experts at turning your technical hosting requirements into fast, secure, and scalable architecture. But our Technical Onboarding Managers are experts at putting this plan into action in an organized and clear fashion.

Each project starts with a kickoff call to introduce our respective teams and to review the proposed plan and ensure we’re all on the same page and solving for the same outcome. A master build ticket is created at the conclusion of the call as a way to maintain constant communication and address problems as they come up. This ticket is a comprehensive timeline of the deployment project, including tasks completed by both Media Temple and the customer, as well as key decisions we’ve made along the way and why.

Ensuring our customers are comfortable during their cloud adoption process is critical to long-term success. Depending on our customer’s familiarity with the cloud, our Technical Onboarding Managers provide both informal and hands-on training on any number of topics, such as explaining the Amazon CloudWatch monitoring and management dashboard or how to write AWS CodeDeploy scripts for a customer’s environment. Since communication is the foundation for a successful partnership, we recommend weekly progress calls for all of our customers, during which we cover the work that has been completed, remaining tasks, timeline updates, and more.

Optimizing You for Long-Term Success

We don’t consider an onboarding to be complete until our customer’s workload has been in production on the cloud for a minimum of two weeks. We do this for a couple of reasons.

For starters, examining traffic fluctuations in production can sometimes highlight new problems that we still want to address from an architectural perspective. Rather than a break/fix mentality, this approach helps us deliver a sustainable and efficient final product that will require the minimal amount of support requests going forward.

Next, we want enough time to gather and analyze data about the production environment to ensure we delivered a cloud solution that truly aligns with the customer’s technical and business goals. If a customer needs to achieve specific performance goals, we want to make sure that our solution is tuned accordingly.

Once the customer and Media Temple are both satisfied with how the workload is running, the Technical Onboarding Manager will hold one last call to review the major milestones of the build and deployment process, clarify and document any important changes that were made to the initial proposed architecture, and introduce our customer to their Service Delivery Manager, who will continue to work with our customers to ensure that we are doing the work that matters most to them.

Read this post to learn more about Managed Services for AWS from Media Temple, and connect with an AWS-certified expert for an assessment of your next project and find out how we can design and maintain a better cloud based on your needs.

About the Author Joseph Palumbo is consumed with how technology influences our daily lives. Formerly of Apple, Rackspace and Cisco, as well as a number of startups, Joseph has spent half of his career helping customers make sense of new technology and the other half learning from customers how to build new technologies that solve real-world problems. More by this Author