Many business owners, when they get ready to move their business to the cloud, immediately start scoping out the big dogs in cloud computing – Rackspace, AWS and SoftLayer, to name a few. These companies are datacenter gorillas serving hundreds of thousands of customers. It’s no surprise that this is the first place business owners start their cloud research.
But what business owners quickly discover is that, while they get what they asked for, their business needs are not actually met by these big-name companies. Future upgrades cost more, support costs more and their usage estimates were flat-out wrong. They might not feel the pinch at first – but they get bit soon enough as their business grows and changes.
Call in the Experts
Cloud services and IT support are NOT commodities. You really need to compare proposals from multiple companies – of all sizes – to get an understanding of the value of what you are paying for. Because often the price will be the same, and it’s the little details that will matter to your business in the future.
I get it. You’re not an IT expert. So how are you going to know what you’re looking at when you have five cloud-services proposals in front of you?
Well, this is when I recommend you call in an expert.
If you have an IT expert in-house, that can be a good place to start. Have them walk you through the pros and cons of each solution from a business standpoint. Don’t just consider what you need right now. Consider what you’re going to need in six months, a year or five years.
This is something we actually help our clients and potential clients with. Most of the time they don’t have in-house IT experts – or their in-house IT isn’t knowledgeable enough about the cloud to be able to help them through. So when we present our proposal, we will also help the client walk through the other proposals they’ve received. We analyze the proposals through a business lens and help the client determine what is going to work best for them.
Sometimes the result is that the client wants to go with a different company. Sometimes they choose to work with us for some services and not others. But most of the time, they become so educated throughout this process that they quickly see we can provide everything they want and need for the same price as the big gorillas. So yes, it’s absolutely worthwhile for us to spend this kind of time with potential clients.
Things to Look Out For
Whether or not you choose to bring in an expert to help you figure out what cloud solutions you need, there are things to look out for as you’re making decisions.
- Don’t just guesstimate what your usage is going to be. Spend the time to think through all the potential use cases and calculate an accurate usage estimate for each piece of your cloud solution. This can be tricky if you’re not super IT-savvy – so I still recommend you call in an expert for this.
- Inform the vendor about what other vendors you’re considering. Their response to this will be very telling. If they turn it into a sales pitch about why they are better than anyone else, beware. Someone who is truly agnostic and going to provide you white-glove service going forward is going to help you compare their solution to the others you’re considering – without a heavy sales pitch.
- Get to know where each cloud vendor came from. Did they start out as a cloud company, or did they just add cloud to their existing solution set? For example, Fluid has been providing hosted solutions for over ten years, and that naturally evolved into creating our own robust cloud solution. Our facilities, technologies, security, staff and solutions meet and exceed what the big gorillas can offer because the cloud is part of the foundation of our company.
- Find out if future upgrades are included – but also find out how much the additional labor is going to cost. This is a big “gotcha” with many cloud solutions. Patches and updates are often included, but the labor for upgrades is usually an additional cost.
- Consider how much attention you really want. The big cloud companies have hundreds of thousands of customers. You’re just a number in a call queue. Smaller companies can often offer much better, more personalized service for the same price.
- Figure out if you are okay with piecemeal service, or if you really want end-to-end service from one company. Most big companies can’t offer end-to-end service. Smaller companies like Fluid can. End-to-end would include:
- Defining the solutions you need in the cloud
- Defining all your technical specifications
- Migrating your business to the cloud
- Full white-glove support, including onsite, post-implementation and ongoing support
As CEO of Fluid IT Services, I am on a mission to help businesses stop wasting their money while also helping them move toward their goals with the right IT services and cloud resources. Contact us today – before you buy a lemon… er… get stuck in a cloud contract you regret.