When you are planning a move to the cloud, choosing the right partner is critical. Even though it can be difficult to know exactly what to look for, there are things you can do in your search for an implementation partner that can help you make informed decisions and mitigate risks along the way.
Learn to spot a re-badged reseller
With the systemic shift to move IT infrastructure and applications to the cloud, there has been a dramatic increase in the demand for IT consulting services. This cloud economy has precipitated a situation where many vendors and resellers are re-inventing themselves as service providers rather than simply as technology sellers.
Organizations are setting themselves up as cloud service providers despite lacking the necessary qualifications to do so. These re-badged resellers will have a number of flaws including limited experience within the team, limited knowledge about specific industries and solutions and a lack of service-oriented culture. These flaws can put the companies that choose to work with these new services organizations at risk.
They have neither the knowledge nor the experience to deliver specialized, high-value services to customers. They may hire some experienced staff but, without a strong strategic direction set by management and reinforced by an entrenched services culture, they are unlikely to be able to deliver the business transformation organizations seek.
Meet with the people who are actually doing the work
Organizations should beware of partners that introduce high-level consultants to the customer but get junior staff or offshore teams to execute the work. It is important to meet and speak with the team that is actually doing the work. The clarity and effectiveness of communications can suffer enormously when the team doing the work is not the same as the team speaking to the customer.
Come up with a list of demands
As an organization looking to move to the cloud – you may have a lot of questions and having a partner with the focus and experience deep enough to provide a high level of service is critical.
It is important to come up with a list of demands in your search for an implementation partner:
- A mix of specific technology knowledge and business knowledge so the team can clearly understand the organization’s business imperatives and deliver cloud solutions accordingly
- A strong physical presence and footprint in the industry with positive customer references, preferably from long-term customers in the same industry as your organization
- A stable, well-qualified team with significant tenure at the organization, proving that the organization is a genuine player in the marketplace rather than a rebadged product reseller
- Proven project control and governance methodologies that can be clearly explained
- The ability to bring senior vendor representatives into any discussion to drive results
Organizations should ask the following questions to determine whether a potential partner is capable of delivering a successful cloud service:
- What is your customer retention rate and how do you measure it?
- Where will our data reside and what access controls are in place?
- Is there a dedicated project manager for this implementation and what are his/her qualifications?
- How will you ensure we have control of the system?
- How will your team work with ours to ensure project success?
Once these questions are satisfactorily answered, the organization can move to the next stage of assessing whether the partner is suitable.
When it comes to defining a path to cloud, organizations should focus on providing increased business efficiencies, increasing user satisfaction and meeting business expectations, as well as addressing the risks identified. With the right partner in place, organizations can achieve enormous benefits and mitigate those risks.