Have you moved your on-premise workloads to the AWS cloud? According to AWS, the Cloud is now the top-budgeted item of IT investment for SMBs – total global spend by SMBs on the public cloud in 2022 is $146bn so far. That’s because “SMBs are up-leveling cloud spend to improve business operations and continuity post-COVID”. In the post-pandemic world, cloud-based systems have become the norm in many industries and a huge competitive advantage in others.

At the same time, Flexera found that only 53% of all SMBs are leveraging the cloud. Given that technology can significantly improve productivity and efficiency, why isn’t this number higher? It’s primarily because, when working without a large in-house IT team, it’s not easy for SMBs to set up, develop and maintain an AWS cloud deployment.

Why are SMBs investing in AWS?

AWS’s SMB group found that currently when it comes to SMB public cloud investment, there is an 85/15 split between investment in IT for operations (that is, oriented towards keeping systems up and running) vs driving profitability and other business goals.

Primarily, SMBs invest in the AWS cloud for employee productivity, customer satisfaction, internal and external collaboration.

Post-pandemic market dynamics don’t allow for slow technological adoption. It’s a real competitive advantage to move critical workloads to the cloud faster, since it lowers operational costs, improves efficiency, and makes collaboration easier. However, cloud migration is not as prevalent as you might expect. As many as 60 percent of companies surveyed by McKinsey had “migrated less than 10 percent of their workloads into the public cloud”. That’s because of the complex architectures involved when building modern IT environments, and other migration challenges.

At AWS re:Invent 2021, the team explained that 5 of the top 10 challenges preventing businesses from implementing digital solutions are related to the business’ lack of technological awareness or expertise. With support from the right technological partner, “companies can quickly take advantage of sophisticated cloud services and even move sensitive applications into the public cloud without disrupting their IT architectures and operations”.

However, data architectures are becoming more complex as more innovative cloud offerings emerge. This means that SMBs need a plan in place to address migration challenges.

What kind of challenges are we talking about?

In the new normal, companies of all sizes, and especially SMBs – who do not have the advantage of brand awareness – need technology to maintain parity and create a competitive advantage. This can be done by defining, implementing and integrating their data stacks to leverage the cloud, IaaS tools, new concepts and components.

When you’re not very experienced with technology, it’s easy to get things wrong. While PaaS services are easier to set up, IaaS (including most AWS services) involves a very large number of moving parts, taking experience and expertise to set up.

Migrating a legacy application to the AWS cloud can require re-architecture to suit the cloud services being used. This is a complicated and highly technical task. In addition, security is very technically challenging in terms of the infrastructure, the application itself, and confidential data transfer.

Moving to the AWS cloud

When it comes to the AWS environment, SMBs mainly invest in compute, storage and security resources to get on the cloud faster and more nimbly. By migrating to the AWS cloud with a trusted technological partner, you can build and deploy faster, lower or mitigate risks with proven architecture, automatically deploy the right services, and be confident that your implementation has gone ahead while following AWS best practices.

AWS enables small businesses to enjoy the same kind and quality of backend system as a billion-dollar enterprise. It offers visible, measurable cost savings with enterprise-quality security, virtually infinite capacity and scalability, and resiliency that’s architected in the cloud.

When you’re moving to the AWS cloud, you’re supported by the AWS team in the form of a vibrant online community. AWS also conducts a variety of cloud events by country, to help you improve security, operational efficiency and other aspects of your AWS cloud operations.

The technical roadmap

As you can see, the bulk of the tasks within the roadmap are highly technical in nature. That’s why it’s so important to select the right technical partner when getting started on your project, whether they work with your internal team or as an external partner.

As an SMB, you may wonder who to work with. Is it worth recruiting an in-house team? Or is it more cost-effective to get started with an external tech partner?

Working with in-house technical teams

Internal IT teams are always available at the workplace. This means they have in-depth knowledge of your business and work closely with your team. They understand your requirements and how your users engage with the technology.

Since they’re on your company’s own payroll, they’re more invested in the company and its growth, and since they’re located at the same office, they can deliver results with faster response times. Training and prioritization are under your control.

On the other hand, IT salaries are rising and IT teams need continuous training, which can be expensive. If your internal IT team is too small, it can’t handle the demands of maintaining your AWS cloud project; but when your team is too large, the IT team becomes financially unviable.

Working with an AWS Managed Service Provider

In many cases, outsourced IT support provides increased productivity and cost-effectiveness. AWS helps your team with the various steps of your cloud migration. When you outsource IT support to an AWS Managed Service Provider (MSP), you can gain support beyond typical working hours and restrict compensation based on your service level agreement. In addition, you don’t need to pay to keep the team up-to-date on the tech.

On the other hand, it’s important to select the right partner. After all, when you outsource, you have less direct control and more indirect communication. A feasible solution could be to supplement existing internal IT with an AWS MSP, with a co-managed approach. The MSP’s team works as an arm of your own internal tech team, thus adding trained, up-to-date capacity that’s available on call any time.

What is an AWS MSP?

Managed Service Provider partners provide “end-to-end AWS solutions to customers at any stage of the cloud journey – from consultation on initial solution design, to building applications, through to ongoing optimization and support”. When you work with an AWS MSP, you get the most out of your AWS cloud environment. That’s because the MSP helps you leverage the cloud as a strategic business advantage.

AWS provides partners with resources, upskilling programs and support. An MSP can offer you packaged solutions with the right combination of services, partner products and open source tools.

Not only does an AWS MSP handle all the technical issues that could arise when you’re working to move your tech to the AWS cloud, but they also offer a consultative approach to help you generate positive business outcomes. They act as a trusted advisor and consultant, working with customers of all sizes with all business needs.

As an SMB, it’s not enough to invest in AWS cloud-based solutions. You need to invest in optimization on an ongoing basis, working closely with a trusted technical partner. Are you wondering if working with an AWS MSP is right for you? How do you get started with your new cloud-based solution or cloud migration? Ask our team for a consultation today.