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Top 10 Questions to Ask Cloud Solution Providers

Cloud computing against white enter key on keyboard

How many cloud platforms or cloud providers do you really need? It’s almost as though it’s the gold rush again, but this time companies are mining gold in cloud computing.

As long-time members of the IT consulting and solution providers sector, here at EnableIP we can honestly say it has been challenging to keep up with the hundreds, if not thousands, of new cloud providers that enter the playing field every year.

There’s really no barrier to entry.

Of course, they can’t all remain because there’s just not enough demand to go around for all of them. There’s no doubt that a select few cloud providers will dominate the field. But who are they, what do they look and smell like, and how can you be sure they’re right for your business?

Unfortunately, there’s no crystal ball in IT. (We know, we’ve checked.)

The truth is nobody can be 100% sure which providers are susceptible to the cloud bubble bursting (and make no mistake it will), but there’s some basic attributes and best practices that you can use to identify those providers which have the best chance of succeeding long-term.

Here’s a list of 10 questions we like to ask when evaluating a new Cloud provider:

  1. Is the provider following sound engineering best practices within their solution?
  2. Does the product/service work as advertised?
  3. Does the product/service/solution provide extraordinary value over a premise‑based solution?
  4. Is there a market niche or industry vertical that is most appropriate for this solution?
  5. Is there an established client base for at least 2 years?
  6. Is the solution competitively priced — not too low and not too high?
  7. Does the provider market itself well, with established sales infrastructure, systems, tools, proposals, people, processes, and contracts?
  8. Does the provider have client references that can be distributed to prospective clients?
  9. Is there a sustainable support model in place that will allow for customers to grow with the provider?
  10. Does the provider have a NOC that can support customer issues 24/7/365, and is it readily available at all hours of the day?

We think you get the point. These questions help reveal the lifecycle of the customer’s experience with a provider. If you can’t find a clear answer to every single question above, then it’s likely you need to keep looking or table the discussion for a later date.

The cloud industry has minimal barriers to entry, and not all providers are going to be ready for the challenges presented above. We’d even take it a step further and venture to say that most providers aren’t going to be ready for the questions above because each one of these presents it’s own unique challenges. If a provider can’t get them all right, the customer’s relationship with the provider will likely be strained.

At EnableIP, we’ve traditionally been overly cautious with our clients and recommending cloud services primarily because of the significant network disruption that can be experienced with a failure. However, it’s clear that there will continue to be significant advantages to be gained from cloud solutions, which is why we focus every day on building highly available WANs so our clients can leverage cloud applications.

If you build it, and answer the questions above, they will eventually come.

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