When a customer comes to you with a problem, the best solution is often a bespoke one. That’s why CSPs need great cloud infrastructure architects. They can think outside the box and use all the cloud products available to build the right solution.
But what makes a great infrastructure architect?
What to look for in the best infrastructure architects
A Cloud Architect converts technical project specs into the structure and design of a final product or application. This often involves finding ways to bridge the gaps between complex business problems and solutions in the cloud. To do this effectively, great infrastructure architects must have:
- Mechanical sympathy
- The drive to innovate
- Experience working on the cutting edge
- Expertise in breadth, not depth
- The right accreditations
- Knowledge of best practice
Mechanical sympathy is perhaps the most important, but least discussed, quality of an infrastructure architect. Mechanical sympathy is when you use or design a tool with knowledge of how it operates.
“You don't have to be an engineer to be a racing driver, but you do have to have mechanical sympathy.”
– Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, former Formula One racing driver
In the context of infrastructure architects, this means designing an application to work optimally and harmoniously with the end-user.
Mechanical sympathy is more than building things to be technically optimised. It requires having a deep understanding of how people will use what you design in their everyday lives.
Applications designed this way are the difference between a system people are forced to use and one people love to use.
Drive to innovate
CSPs must keep up with the changing needs of customers. The drive to innovate plays a key role in achieving this. Rolling out cookie-cutter solutions may be efficient, but if your teams don’t strive to improve service delivery at every level, you’ll leave value on the table.
Great cloud infrastructure architects are curious creatures who constantly look for new ways to optimise processes and improve service delivery. CSPs should work hard to foster a curious culture to reinforce the business benefits of innovation.
On the cutting edge
We know it’s hard to keep up with all the updates happening on the major cloud platforms. During events like Microsoft Inspire, updates and offers come out every hour. Infrastructure architects need to be on the cutting edge of these developments for two reasons:
- To feed their drive to innovate
- To highlight new business opportunities when they arise
The pace of development in cloud solutions moves so fast that infrastructure architects can’t afford to rest on their laurels. They need to know what’s coming, how it could affect your business, and how best to roll out new solutions to customers.
Expertise in breadth, not depth
Whether direct or indirect, partner infrastructure architects must be more agile than cloud vendors to keep pace with customer needs. If you query a product or solution with Microsoft or Amazon, you’ll be put in touch with someone who has deep knowledge of that product. But they probably don’t know very much about complementary products and how best to get them to interact.
Partner CSP architects benefit more from a broad palette of cloud knowledge than in-depth expertise. They have experience with a variety of products and understand how the complex cloud jigsaw fits together.
This gives them a better perspective when designing bespoke solutions for customers. Great infrastructure architects know how to join the dots in ways others can’t. They know how to design applications that are more efficient, user-friendly, and value for money.
Of course, any cloud architect needs accreditations – from basic certifications to specialised ones, like Microsoft Certified Educator or AWS Advanced Networking.
These accreditations are more than simple badges to add to your LinkedIn profile. AWS’ Professional certification requires two years of experience designing, operating, and troubleshooting solutions using the AWS Cloud, so they’re well worth investing in.
Cloud certifications are also a feather in the cap of your business, allowing you to show off your expertise and commitment to cloud technology. This can lead to more business. CSP partners also benefit from the various rewards schemes platforms offer.
Practised in best practice
Finally, great infrastructure architects have their fundamentals nailed down. By exercising best practice as standard, you can trust that anything they build aligns to well-architected review standards. And since review, iteration, and updating are all part of best practices, great infrastructure architects design future-proofed products.
Why do you need great infrastructure architects?
With all these qualities at their disposal, cloud infrastructure architects are huge assets to your business and your customers. They provide a range of benefits, including:
- Accelerated time to market
- Improved governance
- Minimised downtime
- Multicloud environment support
- Reduced operational & delivery costs
Level up your CSP with more talent
We all know that there’s a serious skills gap in the IT sector, so finding great cloud infrastructure architects is a serious challenge. Some CSPs rely on their indirect partner to help bridge the gap, while others invest heavily in onboarding and talent growth.
At the end of the day, great CSPs rely on strong relationships with talented people to deliver outstanding digital services to their clients.