Moving some of your IT to the cloud means putting an external provider at the heart of your operations. Your cloud partner — and its people — will become almost as much a part of the IT department as the staff you employ directly. That means your choice of cloud partner will have a profound effect on your ability to not only develop your cloud strategy but also deliver it successfully.
If selecting the right cloud partner is as important as hiring the right person for your team, what questions should you ask providers when you “interview” them for the post?
Research by the Cloud Industry Forum identified the key attributes you should look for in a cloud provider:
- Do you feel able to develop a strong and trusting relationship with this provider? Digital transformation is not a one-off project but a continuous process of constantly looking at how you can get more out of current systems and take advantage of new technologies. You need a partner who will join you in an open and honest discussion about your ambitions and options.
- Is the size and expertise of the provider a good match for your needs? Cloud providers range from large multinationals to specialists with niche applications. Your technology requirements will play a major role in choosing the right partner. However, you should also take a close look at the support you’ll be able to tap into when you have an issue, as well as how the customer success services available to support your long-term ambitions in terms of scale and technology.
- Does the provider demonstrate deep technical knowledge? Digital transformation is about delivering innovation, which often means pushing the envelope technically and delivering complex integrations. Does your provider have the skills to help you quickly develop and deploy custom apps? Or will they be able to help you make use of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence or Data Analytics?
- Does the provider offer the best offer? This doesn’t just mean finding the cheapest deal right now but looking at what you might be paying over the longer term as your needs evolve. How long will you be locked in to a particular deal? How flexible are the costs: are you really being billed per second or per seat, or does the supplier force you to take a fixed bundle or pay a minimum charge?
- Does the provider’s team include “strategic visionaries”? The hardest part of any digital transformation initiative is not deploying the technology but understanding the possibilities of cloud computing and how it can be used to digitally transform your business. You should be looking for a partner that can help widen your horizons and identify new ways of working and new business opportunities.
To find out more about the impact digital transformation and cloud computing will have on your operations and on your choice of cloud partner, download a copy of the Cloud Industry Forum’s report on The Changing Role of the IT Department or get in touch.