So, you’ve decided to partner up with an Azure service provider? Relying on one of the tech vendors that have already proven their ability to turn cloud transformation ideas into high ROI sounds like a winning strategy. But as of 2023, the Microsoft partnership network counts more than 100,000+ Azure cloud service providers. Such a wide variety may pose a challenge for decision-makers who need cloud services, but might get lost in endless partner lists.
How to select the right provider among the multitude of vendors in the Azure partnership network? What criteria should catch your eye, and how can they be translated into value for your business? Scroll down to find the answers.
3 reasons why certified Azure cloud service providers stand out
N-iX is a Microsoft Solution Partner – the status granted to tech providers that are first in line in terms of maximizing business value with Azure Cloud and innovation capabilities. We hold the certification for Digital & App Innovation and Data & AI, which proves our vast expertise in modernizing applications, building cloud-native apps, data governance and management, and AI. Though each of the Azure partners stands out in different fields, there are some features all Microsoft Solution Partners have in common. Let’s find out what characteristics differentiate Microsoft Partners like N-iX from other vendors:
- Certified specialists. Azure cloud service vendors employ professionals who have undergone rigorous training and successfully passed Microsoft certification exams. This ensures that they possess the necessary skills and knowledge to implement and efficiently manage your Azure cloud infrastructure.
- In-depth cloud expertise. Azure cloud partners have deep knowledge and experience in Microsoft Azure services. A thorough understanding of Azure's capabilities and best practices enables their specialists to design, deploy, and manage complex cloud infrastructures meeting the unique needs of each business. Moreover, the engineering teams of Azure managed service providers have access to internal resources, training, and information about new releases.
- Proven customer success. Certified Azure managed service providers have an extensive track record of successful implementation of cloud solutions for various industries. This means that clients can trust their expertise and expect high-quality, reliable, and secure cloud services that have been tested and validated in real-world scenarios.
Why should you partner with Azure service providers?
You might wonder in what ways the high expertise and customer success of Azure cloud service vendors can help you drive growth? Let’s take a closer look at key reasons for partnering with Azure service providers:
To reduce costs
One of the key driving forces for many enterprises that want to shift to the cloud is cost optimization. Azure enables enterprises to easily scale their resources up or down based on their needs, ensuring that clients only pay for the resources they actually use. This flexibility eliminates the need for costly investments in hardware and infrastructure, as well as ensures that businesses allocate their resources efficiently.
To focus on core business activities
Another substantial advantage of partnering with an Azure managed cloud vendor is the fact that such alliance allow you to focus more resources and time toward your primary business objectives. By utilizing Azure's managed services, you can delegate a significant portion of your cloud management or even completely outsource set up and maintenance your infrastructure. Azure managed service providers handle everything from initial setup and migration to monitoring, patching, backups, and security management, allowing enterprises to concentrate on their core competencies and achieve higher efficiency.
To enhance security and compliance
Privacy is a significant concern for businesses due to data security risks and the need to adhere to regulatory compliances. Partnering with Azure cloud service vendors can help you address these worries – Microsoft has the online Trust Center, which provides detailed information about their security, privacy, and compliance initiatives. Moreover, Azure provides numerous services, such as identity and access management, firewall, and encryption, to help their users establish a secure infrastructure and monitor for suspicious activity—all the things that a tech partner can help you with.
Related: 9 best practices for strong cloud security
To improve performance and productivity
Last but not least, Azure service providers can help enterprises enhance their overall infrastructure performance and productivity by leveraging advanced tools, analytics, and automation capabilities. This, in turn, results in faster time-to-market and increased agility, which translate into greater business outcomes. For example, as a part of a cooperation with Orbus Software, N-iX specialists provided technical support in Azure-hosted environments. Our experts helped Orbus customers mitigate both product and infrastructure issues, as well as reach the customer satisfaction index (CSAT) of 4.8/5.
6 steps to picking the top player from Azure cloud service providers
Selecting the perfect Azure cloud service provider can be an overwhelming task. We will guide you through the process of choosing the ideal partner for your business in just six simple steps:
Step 1: Choose a location
Before you even browse the list of Azure cloud managed service providers, think about whether you want to rely on a local vendor or an outsourcing company. Since many vendors have R&D centers in multiple countries across the globe, you can choose the most suitable location for your cloud project. By partnering with an Azure cloud service provider from distant locations, you can save costs while not compromising service quality.
To make it easier for you, we recommend searching the potential Azure cloud service partners by a preferred region or country. In addition, you might also browse the vendor’s website to find out more details about their locations. For instance, N-iX has a global presence, with development centers and offices located across Europe and the Americas, including Poland, Bulgaria, Colombia, the US, and other countries. Therefore, you can choose the outsourcing destination that suits you best in terms of pricing, expertise, and other factors.
Step 2: Consider the vendor’s size
When selecting among the multitude of Azure service providers, pay attention to midsize and large enterprises with 250+ tech specialists on board. Vendors with vast internal resources tend to have higher workforce availability and can easily scale the team for your project.
Step 3: Look into service offerings
Clearly defining your business goals is an essential step for finding a cloud provider that can fulfill them. Some of the common requests to Azure service providers are Microsoft Azure consulting, the implementation of custom applications on Azure, migration from on-premise to Azure cloud, and managed cloud services. If you have a solid understanding of your desired business deliverables, you can narrow down the initial selection of your potential partners according to their service offerings. For your convenience, Microsoft lists their partners’ expertise on their profiles. It’s important to know, though, that these services are chosen by vendors, not the cloud provider, and therefore, should not be viewed as a validation by granted by Microsoft.
Step 4: Research industry expertise
Before kicking off a partnership with one of Azure managed service providers, make sure that your potential vendor possesses expertise in your or a similar industry. A vendor with success stories of applying Azure-based cloud services in the related domain is more likely to deliver long-term business value. You can find information about the company’s industry focus on their Microsoft AppSource profile or website.
Step 5: Pay attention to service quality compliances
To make sure that your tech partner has extensive expertise and proven success in the required field, you should check its Microsoft Azure specializations. Azure cloud service providers that possess these validations have showcased their ability to bring value to their customers and have been certified by Microsoft. For instance, N-iX has earned the Modernization of Web App to Microsoft Azure which certifies our in-depth knowledge in migrating and modernizing web application workloads and managing app services on Azure.
Step 6: Ask about data protection policies
One of the essential steps in selecting a trustworthy vendor is to thoroughly investigate the company's data security policies and guidelines. To be considered reliable, Azure managed service providers must strictly adhere to international data protection standards and regulations, such as GDPR, PCI DSS, ISO 27001:2013, and ISO 9001:2015. Additionally, verify that your potential partner has a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan in place to handle unexpected incidents and issues. Partnering with an Azure service provider with robust data protection policies protects the reputation of the organization over time and helps to establish trust with customers and partners.
Switching to Azure cloud service provider’s model: Which one will best match your business needs?
Making a decision to go for Azure Cloud and selecting the right partner is merely the starting point of your cooperation. The next step would be to explore Azure cloud service provider's models – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Software as a Service (SaaS) and evaluate their applicability to your specific business scenario:
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offered by Microsoft Azure grants clients access to computing, networking, and data storage resources over the Internet. This allows businesses to manage their infrastructure on their own and scale it on demand without requiring physical access to data centers. Enterprises can store their organization's data on Azure's servers and manage them using the Azure API or the Azure Portal dashboard. This model will work best for businesses that want to delegate hardware management and save infrastructure costs but still have control over their operating systems, data, and applications.
With Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS), you can utilize the provider’s environment for application development and deployment, along with Microsoft Azure middleware, development tools, BI services, and database management solutions. Azure PaaS allows developers to build and deploy custom software online while leaving server infrastructure and data storage management to the provider. PaaS Azure cloud model is optimal for enterprises seeking to refine their development procedures, minimize time-to-market, and concentrate on innovation. Therefore, PaaS is a perfect match for software development businesses and emerging companies.
Choosing Software as a Service (SaaS) with Azure will help enterprises offload the responsibility of managing, updating, and maintaining applications to a third-party provider. The Microsoft Azure SaaS offering spans fully-managed and ready-to-use applications (such as Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power BI) hosted on the cloud. In other words, going for the SaaS Azure cloud model presupposes that your vendor manages both software and hardware as well as takes responsibility for the system maintenance. Software as a Service (SaaS) tends to work for enterprises of all sizes that need to streamline operations and alter their workloads on demand.
Many Azure service vendors, including N-iX, offer Cloud consulting to help you make an informed decision and select a service category that best aligns with your company's goals and objectives.
N-iX – a trusted Azure managed service provider by your side
During 20+ years in tech, N-iX has mastered its expertise in Azure cloud migration, as well as deployment and management of Azure cloud infrastructures. As of 2023, N-iX is a Microsoft Solutions Partner in the fields of Data & AI (Azure) as well as Digital & App Innovation (Azure). In addition, we hold the Modernization of Web Applications to Microsoft Azure Advanced Specialization, which demonstrates our profound expertise and vast experience in modernizing production web application workloads, as well as managing app services in Azure.
Moreover, our cloud team of over 400 specialists has substantial experience in turning clients’ ideas into measurable business value with Azure, delivering successful projects for manufacturing, logistics, automotive, and other industries. To ensure the security of your sensitive information, we adhere to international data protection regulations and compliances, such as ISO 27001:2013, PCI DSS, ISO 9001:2015, and GDPR.