When you shop for a car or a home, you wouldn’t just ask for a car or a house. You would have a list of things you want from your car or your home. You will describe the functionalities you need from the car or the house you want to buy. The same is true when you have discussions with cloud providers. You can’t start the conversation asking for a cloud. You need to ask the right questions and choose your cloud vendor wisely.
To have a productive conversation with a cloud vendor, you will need to provide a lot of information in order to get what you need. Clouds are different, so you have to have questions that will narrow down your options to what fits your enterprise best. You can think of cloud vendors like car dealers with lots of different models. Some are bare-bones, and other models have all the bells and whistles.
The most important question you should be prepared to answer when you start your search for a cloud provider is what do you want to do with the cloud?” Your cloud provider is likely to phrase this question differently. They will often ask what your use case is or something as simple as your goal for cloud computing? It is important to be able to identify the functions you want to move to the cloud and the business goals you hope to achieve by moving to the cloud. These questions will also help you prepare your enterprise to migrate to the cloud. Saving money alone is a very vague answer. To get a good, solid quote on an appropriate cloud solution for your use case, you need to be able to articulate what you want to do with the cloud clearly. Here are some examples of things your enterprise may be looking to do by moving to the cloud:
- DevOps-developing custom applications
- Interact with consumers
- Use open-source and off the shelf applications
- Move your infrastructure to the cloud
- Data storage
- Machine learning and artificial intelligence
- A virtual cloud-based call center
- Internal employee services for HR or finance
There are many specific use cases, and the better you are at defining your requirements and needs from the cloud, the greater the likelihood that you will end up with the right cloud vendor and the right-sized solution because different clouds are appropriate for different types of tasks and audiences. Provide the specific requirements and functionality you will need to use your applications and who needs to access the applications.
Another important area to understand and be able to articulate to your cloud vendor is precisely how much you want to manage and how much you want your provider to manage. The fact is even if you migrate to the cloud, there are things you will still need to manage. Moving to the cloud does not eliminate maintenance, security patches, access, or the blue screen of death. The difference is who you want to handle maintenance issues-your IT staff or your cloud provider? The answer to this question involves cost, so it is important to understand what you can afford and what the cloud provider can actually provide in terms of cloud management.
Finally, it would help if you also questioned your provider. The best question to open the conversation is, “What do you do better than any other cloud vendor?” Keep in mind that no one can do everything equally well. They may be good at one or two things, and those are the areas you want them to describe in detail. After all, if a cloud provider doesn’t do at least one thing better than everybody else, why would you want to do business with them.
The goal of asking and answering these questions is to ensure you find the provider that aligns most closely with your IT needs. If what they do best is high on your list of priorities, you may want to investigate their offerings more thoroughly.
Any productive conversation will include what you want, why you want it, how you plan to use the cloud and your expectations of the provider. If you have all of these areas covered, you have all the basic elements for a successful discussion.