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The Most Important Consideration When Moving to the Cloud: People | @CloudExpo #Cloud

Once the decision to implement a hybrid solution is made, companies need to begin the cloud solution provider selection process

We've seen the statistics about the continued growth of cloud adoption in the enterprise in 2016 (not surprising). What some people might not realize is the projected growth of hybrid cloud adoption - what experts believe to be the next phase in the evolution of the cloud. The global market for hybrid cloud adoption was over $25 billion in 2014, and analyst firm IDC predicts the same market to reach $84 billion by 2019. The model is growing so rapidly because organizations want to take advantage of the cost-savings enabled by the public cloud, but they realize the model can't provide the levels of security and regulatory compliance needed to protect sensitive or mission-critical on-premise data. A hybrid solution is the most secure and cost-effective approach for many organizations.

Once the decision to implement a hybrid solution is made, companies need to begin the cloud solution provider selection process. This relationship needs to be a true partnership, involving ongoing collaboration on design, build and support. When evaluating providers, an examination of factors such as reputation, uptime, security and integration are key, as well as an in-depth look at the provider's approaches for provisioning, environment tuning, technical monitoring and communication. Providers need to "score" high on these factors if they want to be relevant, earn business in a fast-paced competitive space and create a great cloud experience.

While this is understandably an integral part of the selection process, it doesn't take into account what I believe is the most critical part of the selection process: the people with whom you choose to do business. Time and time again we talk with companies struggling with their provider, and, while they certainly may have technology issues, we typically find that it's the people issues surrounding the cloud that cause the disconnection.

Here are four "people" considerations you should look for in a cloud services partner:

  1. How is the cloud provider going to learn my business and understand what may be coming down the road or risks to look for? If you are a CFO this means anticipating increased needs during closing of the books. For a manufacturer, it could be good support during an upgrade on the shop floor, and for a retailer, it could be lots of planning and attention during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  2. Who is going to help us migrate to the new cloud provider? From the first conversation, a partner needs strong project owners to set and communicate a plan that combines a company's unique needs with a proven methodology to make the move seamless and the process less risky. Getting off to a great start in the cloud helps ensure a smooth ride.
  3. What level of engagement will I have with the leadership of my cloud partner? It should be the prerogative of any customer to connect with the people who help set the direction of the cloud company and understand their strategy as part of the beginning of what will become a long-term partnership. This could be a quarterly review, time together in the on-boarding process or even joining a formal advisory council.
  4. What are the people we are going to work with like? What is their background? Do they listen? Does the cloud provider have high turnover? How are they trained on an ongoing basis? Are they empowered to take care of our needs? Do they like what they do every day?

Be confident that your CSP will invest the required resources to deliver the latest technology and best performance to your organization. Ask questions about how the organization develops talent and encourages a culture of learning and teamwork. Although it's hard to "score" the people factor, it's vital to the decision making process - and to establishing a long-term relationship with a trusted resource.

More Stories By Steve Terp

Steve Terp is president of Concerto Cloud Services. He is a veteran business management and technology sales executive with 25 years of experience in building innovative technology services, business development teams and partnership programs. Steve manages the overall direction and growth of Concerto.

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