Enabling Partners to Enable Customers
Earlier this year, we kicked off our partner training program. This program is designed to provide our sales and services partners with the knowledge and confidence to help their customers achieve a governed cloud with cloudtamer.io. In this post, I'll share how we structure these sessions and some of what I learned from our first and second (this time virtual!) events.
Our Approach to Partner Training
Over three days, I led partners in classroom sessions and hands-on activities to understand the foundations of cloud governance and the building blocks that make up cloud infrastructure inside cloudtamer.io. Partners each deployed cloudtamer.io from scratch, created users and user groups, established permissions and policy boundaries via Cloud Rules, and attached cloud service provider accounts to apply concepts in real time. We interspersed presentations from a variety of our team members to deliver some company history and mission as background and to talk about the business value of cloud governance at scale.
Our first program offering was prior to our current WFH environment, so attendees had a chance to mingle with our team for dinner and a tour of headquarters (complete with darts competition). This was a great way to put names to faces as our delivery, sales, and support teams will be working together with partners going forward.
Many attendees called out how the simple design and layout of the product UI and its components made it extremely easy to get up and running quickly with even complex cloud environments. So easy, in fact, that several partners used the lab sessions to build out complex cloud infrastructures beyond the scope of the lab exercises. There was also ample interest in how cloudtamer.io integrates with other applications and systems. We capitalized on this interest with exercises using Webhooks and the cloudtamer.io API to interact with external applications and highlight the customizable power underneath the cloudtamer.io hood.
Sharing Best Practices
As a trainer, I'm always excited when questions come up during a class. Questions inject energy into the classroom and help inform future training direction. With a couple classes under my belt now, I've seen common questions surface.
We work with a lot of customers who have established cloud environments. How do I approach conversations around migrating accounts into cloudtamer.io?
Every customer we have worked with at cloudtamer.io has always brought a unique set of expectations and requirements. That said, we find success with our customers in establishing governance principles at the foundation of their cloud infrastructure during migration. Some keys to successful account migration:
- Start the process with a clear understanding of the current account layout, funding and budgeting, roles, and policies.
- Verify each account and it's corresponding roles.
Are there any best practices around building organizational structure with a client in cloudtamer.io?
Ultimately, you want the organizational structure in cloudtamer.io to align with two things - policy and funding. The policy boundaries for many customers often follow the real-world organizational layout of departments and teams. Similarly, the funding for a customer's cloud infrastructure will map closely to their org chart.
What are some examples of how customers have used Cloud Rules to their advantage?
Cloud Rules are a container for cloud service provider policies - AWS IAM, Azure Role Definitions, AWS CloudFormation Templates, etc. The beauty of Cloud Rules is you can group these policies together in a single Cloud Rule. You can even group policies from different providers. Then, you apply the Cloud Rule to anywhere within the organizational structure of your cloud environment.
We've also seen Cloud Rules utilized well as a trigger from a budget enforcement action. If a particular account spend reaches a custom threshold, a Cloud Rule can automatically be applied to proactively enforce the budget and, for example, limit spinning up new resources.
Pivoting to the WFH Model
When it came time for our second partner training session, it was late March. We were in a mandatory work-from-home mode due to COVID-19. With some simple adjustments to our labs and methodology, we were able to hold the 3-day session entirely over Zoom.
Our partner training includes each attendee personally deploying his own version of cloudtamer.io. We preemptively decided to break up the deployment labs into smaller groups of 3-5 to make sure attendees had plenty of assistance in the virtual environment. I think it reflects positively on the simplicity we've baked into deploying cloudtamer.io and setting up cloud infrastructure that all attendees were able to successfully deploy cloudtamer.io.
We did get feedback from attendees that's probably familiar to all of us now working from home: there are challenges. Away from office setups with large monitors and focused workstations, many attendees were using just a laptop. Plus, attendees had to strive for focus in the midst of roommates, significant others, and/or kids in the same room. We're all adjusting to this new norm. I made sure to slow down and provide tons of breaks to ensure people had energy to last the full three days.
Join Our Partner Team
During these events, it was gratifying to see partners immediately understand the inherent value in cloudtamer.io and how they could quickly take the knowledge they had gained to their customers. At the completion of the training sessions, attendees received the keys to our cloudtamer.io Knowledge Base. The Knowledge Base has product documentation, best practice guides, and a reference library of policies, templates, and integrations to use within cloudtamer.io to accelerate customer success.
We've got more partner training sessions planned throughout this year. I'd love to see you at a future class - either in person or virtually. Learn more about our partner programs and contact us to join our partner team.
Matt is the customer training engineer at cloudtamer.io.