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Navigating the Storm: 100 Days to Cloud with Microsoft Partner Network

Navigating the Storm: 100 Days to Cloud with Microsoft Partner Network

There was heavy snowfall in and around Seattle for the first time in years, but the weather-watch didn’t stop 50-plus attendees and 10-plus speakers from engaging in Microsoft Partner Network’s 100 Days to Cloud workshop.

Navigating the Storm: 100 Days to Cloud with Microsoft Partner Network

The future of technology as a whole, and IT is in the cloud and the workshop was geared to help individuals and companies align themselves with the shift in market.

Organizations are more than aware they need to transition to the cloud. ‘We need to get on this cloud thing’ can be heard from conference rooms across the country, coupled with a collective shrug to the question of ‘how.’

We know what we have to do, but how do we get there?

That’s where the Microsoft Partner Network comes in, fully equipped with the infrastructure and mentorship to guide an individual’s/company’s transformation to the cloud.

What’s cloud ready? What needs to be cloud enabled? Are we dealing with any cloud-native applications? What do we currently have that’s definitely not cloud ready?

Simply put, it starts with a self-assessment to understand where you’re at.

“Start with the assessment. It’s what they had me do and I was fortunate to gain an objective view of where we’re at currently,” said Sujit Ghosh, owner of 3S Global, who went on his 100 days to cloud journey in 2016. “Cannot go where you need to be if you don’t know current state.”

Navigating the Storm: 100 Days to Cloud with Microsoft Partner Network

According to a report released by Bitglass in November 2016, there’s an incredibly high rate of adoption happening for cloud applications in general. This report found that over 59 percent of organizations worldwide either use Microsoft’s Office 365 or Google Clouds’ G Suite.

Why’s this 59 percent figure significant?

It’s over a 10 percent increase since 2015 (48 percent), indicating a rapid growth in deployment.

From the very first segment of the workshop, the goal was clear: not only understand what it takes to reach a certain level, but also how to be successful there. As Todd Nelmes, Karen Fassio, Sharon Lee and other Microsoft employees alluded to, companies have had proven success following the cloud-readiness model offered through the Partner Network. Complex ideas and processes — like this one in question about steps to cloud readiness — get broken down and laid out in an easy-to-follow manner, with other Partners’ journeys acting as the cornerstone of a growing ecosystem.

Navigating the Storm: 100 Days to Cloud with Microsoft Partner Network

Peer Mentorship

With the figures and trends all supporting rapid growth, the only hesitation lies in the individual’s willingness to take the leap and adopt.

Friday’s #CloudReady workshop featured six individuals who had gone through Microsoft’s 100 Days to Cloud transformation, essentially acting as guinea pigs to gauge the efficiency and quality of the program.

A job ‘well done’ would be an understatement.

The individuals — equipped with real life examples from their own journeys — provided highly-valuable tips and information to help break down any doubts about the journey to cloud adoption.

“You’re not selling Power BI, you’re selling a solution,” said James Farhat, CEO of ACTS, Inc., and tech visionary. “Today’s the day an individual can build a business around all of this.”

Navigating the Storm: 100 Days to Cloud with Microsoft Partner Network

Local Impact

What stood out specifically about Friday’s workshop was the focus on Washington state’s local economy, aimed primarily at helping smaller-to-mid-sized business to become cloud ready.

In the current infrastructure, it’s approximated that 37 percent of small businesses (US SMBs) are cloud-ready; that figure is projected to be at 78 percent by 2020.

Inspired by the Ignite Washington presence at the workshop, a portion of Friday’s discussion honed in on making sure smaller local businesses are taking advantage of the shifts in technology. Whether it was a specific on banking, or inquiries about HIPAA-related processes, the conversation allowed for these individuals to have their voices heard and solutions presented.

As Chaitra Vedullapalli of Meylah pointed out, it’s not just a matter of building on the cloud. 98 percent of small business are not mobile ready; 70 percent cannot transact online.

Those not grouped in with the 78 percent by 2020 will be left out of the stitches in this solution fabric that’s being developed.

Pitch Competition

Quite possibly the most rewarding aspect of the workshop was the cloud-ready pitch competition near the end of the day. By discussing one’s company and pitching its potential IP, individuals were able to not only get real-time feedback and guidance, but also receive five hours of free consultation directly from Microsoft’s technical consultants.

Attendees were given some time to jot down notes and highlight what makes their IP a true solution to a problem in the market. By having an open forum to discuss ideas — all received without judgement, but plenty of critique — attendees were able to properly understand what ultimately makes someone successfulin the cloud.

“I don’t care if I win or not, I just want the chance to share my idea with you,” one attendee said before sharing an idea for his company’s IP. “To feel like the dream is alive again.”

The dream is more than alive; it can be a reality in the cloud with a little bit of guidance from the Microsoft Partner Network.

This article was co-developed with  Rohit Ghosh. Rohit has been working with IT Staffing for four-plus years, based out of Los Angeles, and is a content consultant for a variety of industries including IT, tech and sports. He has worked with major outlets including Yahoo! Sports, CBS, and Time Warner Cable.

Storm Photo via Shutterstock

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