Trustmarque's Cloud-ESP simplifies the procurement and management of Microsoft cloud services

With Microsoft recently announcing that it will be re-pricing all UK product lines from January 1st 2017, Trustmarque Solutions Limited (part of Capita PLC) has officially launched its Cloud-ESP platform.

Cloud-ESP is Trustmarque's online portal for the procurement and management of a range of Microsoft cloud services. Designed for the era of cloud computing and digital transformation, Cloud-ESP gives users the ability to easily sign up to a range of cloud services, providing them with full visibility into consumption and spend instantly via the portal's dashboards. Through Cloud-ESP, users receive automated spend notifications; can access comprehensive support for their services; and are able to fine-tune cloud usage throughout the business.

"The number of cloud consumption and payment models on offer to businesses continues to grow. Indeed, practices such as cloud bursting have been hailed as a way in which businesses can make their on-premise resources elastic and only pay for extra resources when needed. However, in practice, ad-hoc uses of cloud can be complex and result in unexpected costs," commented James Butler, CTO, Trustmarque. "At a time when cloud pricing is becoming more complicated, Cloud-ESP is a critical building block in our strategy to simplify organisations' cloud journeys, giving them an easy way to ensure they have the right cloud controls in place. This level of control and guided adoption minimises the all too common 'unplanned spend' that cloud can cause. Trustmarque has helped over 1,000 companies buy and adopt cloud services, and all of this experience guides our development of Cloud-ESP – by digitising our traditional consultancy and support interactions with customers, we are advancing towards our mission to continue to simplify IT and enable it be delivered 'as-a-Service'."

One of the biggest challenges CIOs face when it comes to cloud is the risk of cloud sprawl and the proliferation of unsanctioned cloud applications. Cloud-ESP provides a 'one-stop-shop' that helps CIOs reduce the adoption and management challenges of cloud, and decrease the associated security risk. The key features of Cloud-ESP will help businesses:

  • Control cloud costs by removing the need for multi-year contracts or daunting up-front fees, and helping them reduce risk and limit cloud costs through a PAYG model managed through the portal's dashboard.
  • View and track cloud spend instantly via the portal's dashboard, which provides visibility into cloud consumption and license usage. Users can monitor peak spend periods for improved financial reporting and management; manage automated spend notifications; and identify unallocated licenses to reduce compliance risks.
  • Access a range of support and managed services that can be provisioned in hours rather than weeks, billed on a consumption basis, and with online access to a 24/7/365 service desk and full enterprise managed service capabilities.

In conjunction with Cloud-ESP, users will be able to procure a range of Trustmarque services built on Microsoft cloud, backed by Service Level Agreements that provide enterprise-ready levels of comprehensive support. Initial services available include:

  • Microsoft Azure-on-Demand (AoD): For many organisations the initial adoption of Azure is complex, costly and challenging. Trustmarque's AoD service removes uncertainty and gives organisations more control over their IT, helping to achieve maximum gains from Azure.
  • Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS): The impact of unplanned disruption can leave businesses unable to meet customers' needs or even render them noncompliant with industry or government regulations. DRaaS reduces this risk, and removes the complexity and cost of procuring, operating and maintaining a secondary datacentre.
  • Back-Up-as-a-service (BaaS): Maintaining systems that cannot meet policies, requirements and timeframes represents a significant risk. BaaS is a simple and reliable cloud integrated backup solution contributing to business continuity and disaster recovery, a solution that protects your data and your applications on your on-premises servers and virtual machines.
  • Virtual Machine (VM) Management: The ongoing management, maintenance and optimisation of cloud is a significant distraction for most IT departments. VM Management services are designed to overcome these challenges and focus on adding value to your organisation, rather than simply keeping the lights on.

Over the last six months, the focus on simplifying cloud for enterprises has attracted over 50 customers from both the public and private sector to Cloud-ESP; including government bodies, financial services organisations and larger retailers. Further, being able to manage cloud procurement, usage, invoicing and technical support in a single portal, with unified managed service, spanning multiple vendor licensing channels, is unique for users. Customer feedback to date has repeatedly mentioned the benefit to their organisations of gaining increased insight into the cloud services in use in their organisations, and in helping to decide on a future cloud strategy.

"Cloud-ESP has provided us with absolute insight into the spend associated with particular workloads and components, giving us more confidence to adopt Azure as our cloud platform," commented Stuart Nicols, Head of Business Applications, The Scottish Parliament.

Michael Feather, Head of Business Transformation, National Counties Building Society, said, "We purchased our Microsoft SharePoint licensing through Trustmarque Cloud-ESP, which enabled us to benefit from simple monthly billing. It also gives us the freedom to upgrade to SharePoint Plan 2 at a time convenient to us, rather than waiting for the 12-month renewal."

In the coming months, Trustmarque plans to introduce further features to Cloud-ESP through monthly release upgrades that will offer even greater choice and control to CIOs. These additions will include the use of intelligent analytics to detect when cloud spend is changing, which will then create proactive alerts based on users' individual profiles. This will facilitate deep trends-based analysis and offer a superior level of proactive cloud control.

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