IT service providers need to optimize their infrastructure and business operations to facilitate growth, reduce costs, ensure data security and optimize the user experience. Alibaba Cloud could help you succeed in providing value-added services to your clients!
This article drills down into the operational challenges many IT service providers face as demand for their products and services grows. It covers a range of common scenarios including managing cash flow, building a local base and moderating content and offers solutions. It also explores how Alibaba Cloud’s extensive portfolio of cloud computing products and services enables IT, service providers, to create improved offerings and add business value for customers.
Read on this article to learn more about how the cloud can help your business grow and succeed in the years ahead while optimizing costs and providing robust data security.
- How to realize cost-effective growth through infrastructure.
- The best ways to protect your valuable corporate and customer data in today’s increasingly digital world.
- How to expand beyond your local market and into new geographies.
Table of contents
Every industry is transforming its products and services to keep pace with advancing digitization. By 2020, global IT spending is predicted to top $3.8 trillion.1 This growth is due in large part to the increasing volume of IT products and services sold for and through cloud platforms.
To fully capitalize on such high demand for their products and services, IT Service Providers need to optimize their infrastructure and business operations to facilitate growth, reduce costs, ensure data security and optimize the user experience. We will address the challenges and opportunities surrounding your customers and UX in a separate article.
In this article, we will drill down into the operational challenges many IT Service Providers face as demand for their solutions grows. We will use a range of fictional but common scenarios and offer several solutions to help your business grow and succeed in the years ahead while optimizing costs and providing robust data security.
Managing Cash Flow
Challenge: You need to better manage and de-risk your cash flow by taking advantage of smart commercial models that align with your own pricing strategies.
Balancing Cost and Growth
Scenario: Your IT solution provides an online platform for building websites, allowing users with little or no development experience to create mobile-optimized websites in minutes.
Despite extensive financial planning, you are aware that your platform could experience periods of high demand if, for example, you are running a marketing campaign or launching in a new region.
As you begin to add more services to meet with increasing user demand, you need a cost-efficient, scalable and high performing infrastructure solution to suit your growing business needs.
Solution: Alibaba Cloud is more economical and cost-effective compared to other Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions as it offers multiple pricing options, and the flexibility to choose the option best suited to your business requirements. Plus, you don’t have to pay the huge upfront costs associated with many other IaaS solutions.
Prepaid and Pay-As-You-Go payment methods also allow you to choose the most cost-effective option for your IT solutions. Both feature a range of flexible purchasing options and an easy payment process.
Under Prepaid payment plan, you can pay in advance, reserve resources and maximize your cost savings. Simply put, the longer your reserve your servers for, the less you pay. You can also auto-renew at the end of each billing cycle.
On the Pay-As-You-Go payment plan, IT service providers only pay for the resources they use and do not pay for any idle resources, as would be the case under a traditional IT set-up. This avoids procuring resources to handle peak hours and then having those resources remain un-utilized during lean traffic hours.
Billing is based on per hour of usage under Pay-As-You-Go, and you get billed at the end of each calendar month. With no termination fees or upfront costs, it gives IT service providers the flexibility and financial information they need to ensure they can effectively financially plan.
Some businesses who are in the process of migrating to the cloud, wish to maintain full control of their IT infrastructure, or prefer to work with multiple cloud vendors may opt for a Hybrid Cloud solution. This approach allows businesses to benefit from the agility, elasticity and cost-effectiveness of the public cloud, without compromising on safety and security of sensitive data. Alibaba Cloud Hybrid Cloud Solutions assists users with challenges associated with hybrid cloud deployment, such as deployment and developing an effective architecture.
We work with you to identify the best deal for your business. Elastic Compute Service (ECS), ApsaraDB for RDS, CloudMonitor and Auto Scaling products are all popular options for IT service providers looking for a cost-effective solution during a period of expansion.
For example, Alibaba Cloud’s Auto Scaling allows you to automatically scale up and scale down your company’s server requirements according to user traffic. Alibaba Cloud ApsaraDB for RDS helps you achieve data redundancy and address storage and backup challenges. Multi-line Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) interconnection also ensures you deliver a consistent user experience across different regions.
You can also join the Alibaba Cloud Galaxy Program (AGP). This initiative offers your business a comprehensive range of services so you can make the most of the benefits the cloud offers.
From a financial perspective, the AGP offers 40,000 VCPU resources to help you lower your operating costs and ultimately attract more customers. You also get access to tailored cloud resources and discounts, according to your business size and goals.
AGP also provides extensive technical plans, including training sessions and ACA Certification Examination, to help your staff get up to speed with technology and provides a range of marketing opportunities to help you further grow your user base.
Challenge: You want to address a wider target audience and adapt to new markets and/or geographical regions. If you can achieve this, you will create new sales channels, drive additional revenue and set yourself apart from the competition. But first, you need to ready your infrastructure for this growth.
Building a Local Base
Scenario: You’re a startup IT service provider and ready to go to market with your latest service. A beta service will initially be made available to a few hundred early adopters before you launch across your local market.
You expect rapid growth and a huge user base, and so a highly scalable and stable system is needed to support the ever-growing demands of your users. Targeted at mass users, your service and platforms require reliable performance and high-cost efficiency to respond quickly to changes in your social and advertising campaigns.
Solution: The cloud is a natural fit for these requirements, with minimal set-up costs and the elasticity to scale as and when you need to.
Alibaba Cloud has developed a range of targeted solutions and platforms to help IT service providers from multiple vertical markets offer innovative products and services to a growing user base while establishing an Alibaba Cloud ecosystem.
These specific services complement existing and an extensive suite of cloud-based solutions, which have helped more than one million customers across 200+ regions do business anywhere, with anyone in the world. By working with Alibaba Cloud, you also don’t have to worry about managing your internal IT infrastructure and instead our one-stop web hosting solution means you can focus on developing a better product or service for your customers.
To start, Alibaba Cloud provides you with a detailed product presentation and system configuration guidance, dramatically reducing the learning curve for your staff.
With assistance, you deploy a Virtual Private Server (VPS) architecture, which splits a server into multiple virtual private servers. This separation gives you additional security compared to traditional web hosting solutions. Elastic Compute Service (ECS) and Relational Database Service (RDS) services are also used, which are easy to migrate and deploy, providing you with the system performance your app demands.
Scenario: You’re now ready to expand your services beyond your local market and into new geographies. One major challenge you face is managing the practicalities of serving clients from multiple regions, including China. You are also unsure about how to reach your end-users and attract new customers.
Solution: As the demand for your products increase in multiple regions, you decide to implement Alibaba Cloud’s Auto Scaling service, which automatically adds or removes ECS instances to meet user requests. This service is available free of charge and, alongside intuitive Alibaba Cloud Platform, you can seamlessly manage your cross-region clients.
You also become part of the Technology Partner Program, allowing you to promote your apps and platforms on the Alibaba Cloud Marketplace to a global customer base. Partners also benefit from online and offline marketing events and support from the Alibaba Cloud team. What’re more, partners get a secure, convenient, and lowcost option to reach customers in China.
Reputation and strengths in the China market are second to none. We help you apply for and obtain an ICP Filing and deploy ECS in the China East 2 (Shanghai) region.
As you start to expand across China, you start using the Alibaba Cloud Content Delivery Network (CDN) to scale further and cost-effectively expand your online presence in this market and across the globe.
These products and services help organizations to reduce manual workloads through automation, as well as benefit from fast and continuous product innovation.
Ensuring Security and Privacy
Challenge: Risk is inherent when growing and evolving your IT business. From compliance to content moderation, you need to manage this to ensure your corporate and customer data is fully protected from a wide range of emerging online threats.
Scenario: Your business has developed an online shopping and selling platform, and users are selling a broad range of products in categories including beauty, fashion and sportswear. You need to protect customer information and electronic transitions against online attacks.
Solution: Alibaba Cloud’s built-in security features protect your platform against intrusions and malicious attacks. These features ensure the safety of customer data with storage which is safeguarded by identity and access management at both the resource and network level.
You implement Anti-DDoS solution, so any malicious traffic and DDoS attacks launched against your platform are detected, and the traffic is scrubbed. This improves your business continuity too, as non-malicious traffic can continue to access and use your platform without any problems.
Web Application Firewall also provides real-time monitoring of your servers to ensure high availability and protect against intrusions.
Scenario: On your shopping and selling platform, users can also post content, leave a review or upload images and videos. It’s simply not feasible to physically check every piece of content and evaluate whether it’s inappropriate or not.
Solution: Alibaba Cloud’s Content Moderation service can help mitigate this risk. It combines Big Data analysis expertise and Deep Learning technologies to accurately monitor images, video, text and other multimedia content. It doesn’t just reduce illegal or inappropriate content; it can also minimize spam advertising and other user experience pain points on your app.
Alibaba Cloud can help your company realize cost-effective growth and protect your valuable corporate and customer data in today’s increasingly digital world. Extensive portfolio of cloud computing products and services enables you to create better IT services and add business value to your customers.
As a result, you can strengthen your business value and remain focused on your core priorities, without the burden of managing multiple suppliers and supporting an infrastructure that is no longer fit for purpose.
Source: Alibaba Cloud