How To Pick A Cloud Solution That Fits Your Business
Cloud services are expected to grow more than 17% by 2016. When your company is ready to move more of their processes to the cloud, it is important to pick a solution that properly fits your business. The right cloud services will help you focus on your core business. After all, isn’t that where your attention should be?
Which Cloud Services Do You Need?
In the beginning, you should create a high-level list of all of your business processes. You can start with items like email, payroll, sharing files with clients, AP, AR, etc. Once you have your list of business processes, you can start evaluating which ones can be moved to the cloud.
Next, you will need to to determine which cloud service providers meet your needs. For instance, you may need one for file sharing and another for payroll. Make sure that you pick services to match your business, not the other way around.
“Cloud services present an opportunity for companies to focus on their core competencies. Most business processes are necessary overhead, but offloading the management and maintenance of those processes frees resources to work on what differentiates a business,” states Andrew. “At the same time, IT managers making the decision of what to parts of their process to offload need to be pragmatic and choose the right cloud solutions that are inline with their business objectives.”
Once you have an initial list of service providers, use the questions below to pick the best ones for your needs.
Is the Provider’s Technology Secure?
Does the cloud provider offer a private cloud solution that is only accessible to specified organizations and/or people? Some companies may need the increased security of a private cloud. If this is a factor, make sure the provider has a private cloud solution when doing your research.
Is the Service Easy to Use?
Let’s say you’re selecting a file sharing provider. Is it easy to upload the files to their system? Once the files are uploaded, can you easily set the permissions so that only the right people can access the files? Is it easy to share the files with your customers and vendors?
Can They Meet Your Deadline?
The service provider can have a great product, but if they can’t meet your implementation deadline it can be a deal breaker. This is an important question to ask early on to make sure they can have their service ready on time.
Do they have Incredible Customer Service?
Does the provider have incredible customer service? Will they give you two or three current customers to call for references? If so, some good questions to ask might be:
- How quickly does customer service return calls?
- Is their staff knowledgeable?
- What is their availability?
- If your company has different hours of operation, are you able to wait until they are open for business?
- How long do you have to wait on the phone before a person helps you?
Is There Performance Rate Inline with Your Needs?
Sure, any cloud service provider can say they have great performance, but how do they measure it? More importantly, how do they relate performance to overall customer satisfaction? How reliable is their service? What happens in the case of a natural disaster or power outage? Do they have multiple internet connections for redundancy?
Picking what specific cloud solutions to choose for your company requires proper planning. Making a high-level list of business processes is a great way to start. This way when you look at services, you can match them up to your processes. Once you have this information, researching the right cloud service providers and asking the right questions becomes an easier process.
By Charles Mount