Media and cable company Shaw Communications recently announced the acquisition of data center services provider ViaWest Inc. for $1.2 billion. ViaWest founder and CEO Nancy Phillips touted the deal as “. . . an excellent strategic development for ViaWest, our employees and our customers.” ViaWest’s PR team is busy sending follow up information to its customers, many of whom may be wondering how this acquisition will directly impact their business. If an acquisition is in your CSP’s future, following are some questions to ask.
1) Am I going to be a little fish in your big pond?
If your CSP is being acquired by a larger company with a different business focus or solution offering, it pays to find out where your business fits into the big picture. For example if your organization relies on your CSP’s colocation facilities, and the acquiring company is all about managed services, you need to find out if they’re going to continue to make investments in colo. Other questions to ask include:
- Do you plan to make additional investments in my cloud platform?
- Are there plans to retire my platform?
2) “Will there be any changes to your support team or services?”
Acquisitions often result in personnel shakeups, so it’s likely that the support team you’ve relied upon in the past may not be the same one moving forward. A leading cloud services provider will have Tier 2 and Tier 3 support personnel who are not only fluent in cloud computing, but are well-versed in their clients’ unique business and compliance requirements. If you sense that your support team is changing post-acquisition, find out exactly who will be taking its place. Request bios from your new support team and even schedule a “meet-and-greet” with them to gauge whether or not they have a solid understanding of your business needs. Other support questions to ask include:
- Are there are any planned changes or enhancements to my customer portal?
- Do you anticipate any delays in responding to customer issues while your support operations are integrated with those of the new company?
- What level of expertise should I expect from my new support team? Tier 2 or Tier 3?
3) “Will the acquisition result in your offering new products and services?”
On one hand, an acquisition can enable companies to provide additional products and services to their customer. In his recent blog entitled Midyear Cloud Review, Sean Bruton, VP of Product Management at HOSTING notes that many CSPs are shifting their focus to managed services. However, there is a distinct difference among CSPs managed services offerings. If you are in the market for additional cloud products or services, be sure to find out how they will be offered and what service level agreements (SLAs) are tied to them.
4) “Is my cloud provider’s existing leadership remaining with the new company?”
Refer back to Question #2. In today’s dynamic cloud industry, most if not all organizations want to partner with a trusted advisor who can protect and manage their business-critical data assets, maintain their compliance and help them plan for future growth. Executive leadership sets the vision and direction of the company, so it pays to find out if the team that is in place post-acquisition is aligned with your business goals.
Check out our recent blogs, How to Engage in a Successful Partnership with a Cloud Service Provider and Selecting a Cloud Provider: What NOT to Do, to learn more about ensuring your cloud hosting partner is right for you.