After months of strategy sessions, budget meetings and proofs of concept, your boss has finally given you the green light to hire a cloud solution provider (CSP). Congratulations! So what’s the catch? You need write a request for proposal (RFP) and send it to select cloud computing experts about whom your colleagues have said good things (you have asked your trusted network for recommendations, right?)
We get it. Drafting an RFP can be tedious and time consuming. OR . . . it can be a great opportunity for you to ask specific questions that will help you determine if the CSP’s cloud knowledge, work style and support processes meet your (and your boss’s) expectations. So boot up your laptop and jot these down. Your boss will be glad you did.
Top 3 Cloud Questions
1) How long has your company been in business?
Before you dismiss this as a “softball” question, hear us out. Enterprises are still fairly new to the cloud, but have read about outages and data breaches that even behemoth companies have suffered through (remember the Target breach in 2013?). The cloud as we know it has been around less than a decade, however, there are ~3,000 companies billing themselves as top cloud solution providers. While many of these companies began in the cloud, a lot of them started out as something else. Find out the company’s origins, how long they’ve been providing cloud solutions and how they do it. For example, did they expand their existing technology business by partnering with or acquiring a cloud solution provider? If so, how well integrated are they with them? Have they engineered their own methodologies for cloud success? And what is their track record for successful cloud migrations completed since they teamed up?
2) How do you partner with a customer?
Get the details from your potential CSP on how they partner with their customers before, during and after a migration or other cloud initiative. Ask what types of customers with whom they typically work – do their customers expect them to handle everything so all they have to do is write a check every month? Or do their customers want their IT team involved in day-to-day details? Are their customers just looking to archive data, or do they want to leverage the cloud to grow, innovate and compete?
3) Describe in detail how you interact with customer IT teams, and how this process works.
It’s essential to learn what specific support resources a potential CSP provides and determine how they should work with your internal IT team. Understanding what communication channels and support processes they have in place is also critical. The last thing you want is to have a server issue occur on Black Friday and all your calls to the CSPs support team going into a “black hole.”
Ask about the CSPs support teams – how much training they receive, how they are assigned to customers and how many customers each team is responsible for supporting. Ideally, you want a dedicated support team who is fluent in your specific cloud platform and has a solid grasp of your business. Make sure the team provides 24 x 7 x 365 coverage so that every time you call, someone who is intimately familiar with your account is on the other end – ready to help.
Finally, ask the CSP if they have a secure, protected customer portal where you can access support, open an incident ticket and have complete visibility into your cloud environment.
According to global research and advisory firm Forrester, cloud platforms will generate $44 billion and cloud business services will hit $14 billion by 2020. Asking smart questions up front and moving to the cloud at their own pace will help ensure companies avoid potential pitfalls and realize tangible success.
HOSTING Webinar – Cloud 101: The Basics of Cloud
Got cloud questions? HOSTING has answers! Join us for our latest webinar on Tuesday, May 6th, at 1:00 pm EST, Cloud 101: The Basics of Cloud Computing. Bill Santos, president of HOSTING Advanced Solutions, will provide you with a detailed overview of cloud computing including:
- The elements that comprise a cloud
- The business value of cloud computing
- A step-by-step guide to migrating to the cloud
- How a cloud-based infrastructure can impact your company’s bottom-line
Bring your questions to this can’t-miss webinar and learn how to leverage this valuable business tool.