When searching for a reliable cloud managed services provider, it can be difficult to see through the noise. Indeed, there are hundreds if not thousands of cloud service providers out there. In evaluating providers of cloud managed services for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure, it is not enough to check the accreditation level, certifications and competencies of these vendors alone. Instead, companies should examine a variety of other aspects to find the truly right fit for their business. Here are a few areas to check during your selection process:
Depth of Validation
It’s always good to start your search on the website of the cloud provider you want migrate to, whether it be AWS, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure. Each website should have a list of verified service partners. When a cloud managed services provider achieves accreditations and competencies from AWS for example, they must prove their expertise and abilities to AWS directly, a high bar for many to clear. Since each tier of accreditation can, to some extent, represent the level of confidence AWS places in each vendor, it’s best to begin at their highest accreditation tier (APN Premier Consulting Partner), then work your way down to reach the cloud managed services provider who matches your company’s unique objectives, both now and for the long term. Similarly, it can be good to pull from a list of those who have competencies in your specific industry.
Once you’ve narrowed your list down to these potential providers, begin the process of evaluating each on their websites. Here, the goal is to peruse and check whether the cloud managed services provider can execute on your priorities. Seek a company with a deep history of managed services, a depth of expertise in the area related to your objectives, and third-party validation of their services from both clients (in the form of reviews, testimonials or case studies) and analysts (such as Forrester or Gartner). Reach out to the ones who seemingly fit the bill for a conversation, which will help verify your research and further narrow down your list.
Aggressive Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
Take a skeptical approach in how each cloud managed services provider speaks about SLAs. Does the vendor provide some commitment to the service in writing? Are they aggressive, specific and reasonable? If not, run away: they aren’t willing to take responsibility if things go awry. If yes, what will they do if the SLA isn’t met? A good provider should offer service credits or some other tangible restitution.
Company Cultural Alignment
One area that bears critical examination is a provider’s business culture, and if it aligns with your own organization’s culture. Here, it’s a question of values, trust, and responsibility. How well do you anticipate your IT team getting along with their team? With this in mind, it might be good to gather your IT team together to discuss their opinions of a cloud managed services provider before signing any paperwork, to be sure there’s no major objections. Engaging with a third party may often mean a relationship with that vendor that lasts for many years, so harmony on both sides is essential for continued success.
Knowledge Outside of Cloud
As part of your assessment of culture fit, also dig into the vendor’s depth of knowledge, not just of the IT solutions you intend to provision, but also the IT systems that your business is currently using and intends to migrate from. For example, if you intend to migrate to AWS and are currently using an on-premise infrastructure, it may be essential for the cloud managed services provider to have detailed knowledge of cloud, hybrid and on-premises architectures.
Indeed, the majority of organizations today have IT systems that leverage hybrid tools, largely because of a few legacy applications upon which a business still depends. But hybrid isn’t often the end road. Many organizations, while they have an existing footprint in the cloud, desire ultimately to be fully cloud native. How well does the cloud managed services provider help you achieve this result?
Keeping an Eye on Success
Consider what other capabilities your business is searching for in a cloud managed services provider, such as compliance support for a specific framework or SASE security methodology, or even managed services that extend beyond the cloud you’d like covered. Make a list of what those capabilities or qualities are. When evaluating vendors, go down the list and make sure each checks those boxes.
Lastly, find a cloud managed services provider with a detailed methodology for success in the cloud, both during migration and after. How does the provider approach migration and optimization? What are they willing to promise? For example, InterVision has a proprietary program to ensure our clients’ success in the cloud, which we call Cloud Migration Lifecycle Assurance. It’s a well-defined process and documentation of approach to address common pitfalls we’ve historically seen to stall a migration process. Learn more here.