A Cloud Management Portal or CMP for short is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a web portal for managing your cloud footprint. There are a growing number of them obtainable as SaaS, bundled in with other goods, or as part of an MSP service.
CMPs were born in different environments for different reasons:
- OEM CMPs that datacentre hardware manufacturers developed for managing their private cloud systems, now looking to extend their reach into public cloud
- SaaS CMPs created to simplify common tasks with functionality not available natively and unify data across one or more clouds
- Public Cloud MSPs looking to bridge gaps in cloud provider capabilities
- Microsoft Expert MSPs required to provide a portal that enhances and adds further value to the Microsoft cloud platform
None of this sound exciting? What if I told you they were a way of seeing new colours with the naked eye or unlocking revenue you didn’t know was pinned down? Sceptical? Well, read on to see how vision meets reality!
I was [colour] blind and now I can see
Q: “CMP sounds like the epitome of corporate beige. What makes it exciting?”
CMP is a very generic term used to describe what is essentially a window into your cloud footprint to view and/or manage one or more aspects of your investment. Cloud costs have been the number one concern for businesses since the advent of public cloud. As such public cloud CMPs typically zoom in on metrics showing you how much your cloud footprint is costing and maybe offer some controls for common tasks. I agree, pretty beige.
However, what if I told you a good CMP enables you to see shades of beige and great CMPs can show you multiple colours! Well, the good news is they can by showing you key data streams such as costs, security, efficiency, licensing, and sustainability. Moreover, they can go from high level to fine grained detail.
Why is this exciting? Simple. We’re all aware of the great age of data and the mountains of it that all companies have. However, it can be really hard to get at, and even harder to see it in a way that’s not just meaningful for your business, but also to you.
A great CMP pulls together multiple [colours] data streams to show concise information in a meaningful way that doesn’t require specialist access, technology, or skills to obtain. An awesome CMP provides data so relevant and concise that it empowers you to act with urgency.
Show Me the Money
Q: “Microsoft provide multiple portals. Why do I need another?”
The answer to that is in the question. Great CMPs are a focal point for data across your cloud estate avoiding the need for access to multiple cloud consoles. That avoids needing access and training in multiple consoles that are often aimed at technical people when actually a lot of the data you might need is more business focussed:
- Ops Manager: Microsoft cloud is carbon neutral I want to know in real time what that means to my carbon footprint
- Finance Analyst: Internal cross charging is important. I want to be able to quickly define cost centres, set budgets and define alerts for budget excess and cost spikes
- C-Level: I need to see an overview of performance in key areas at a glance without lengthy meetings or reports
Without a CMP this usually results in a failure to obtain the info you want, or delays through submitting support requests.
Awesome CMPs aim to simplify, removing the need for regular requests into the IT service desks to “configure a report”, by putting the power straight into the hands of the people who need it most.
Example: Azure cost management requires a lot of configuration using multiple Azure governance controls. It’s incredibly powerful and granular, but also complex and requires skill. A CMP can remove the complexity by serving up the most relevant information in dashboards that financial analysts find easy to understand, can access on demand, and drill down into using simple controls.
What all this means in real terms is the power to make good decisions is put straight into the hands of the decision maker, removing the burden on IT support, eliminating delays through support requests and freeing up valuable resources to help your business go faster.
Simply put, in a skills shortage, the right people can focus on the right things creating agility you didn’t realise was missing.