Many businesses are attracted to the cloud as a means to improve costs and flexibility, but finding the right Cloud Service Provider (CSP) to form a relationship with can be a challenging and time consuming process.
The ideal CSP should be able to customise and flex services to meet your requirements, provide the level of security you require, and have the ability and desire to move forward at your pace – all while offering the usual cost savings and increase in resilience and reliability.
Trying to make things right
Finding the right CSP can be tough, but keeping the relationship going over time can be even harder. Things change. The CSP may have met your expectations at first, possibly even exceeded them, but over time you might start to feel neglected if it fails to meet all your needs. You might wonder if the relationship is still giving you the benefits you want and if it is still aligned with your current and future business requirements.
Communication is key. The service provider cannot be expected to know what you want or need without being told. Make sure you brief the CSP on your business strategy, discuss where and how it can support you and ensure the service provider is fully aware of its role. Ultimately, that’s what will make the difference between a customer-supplier relationship and a strategic partnership where both parties work together to achieve shared goals.
Breaking up is hard to do
Nevertheless, there are times, despite everyone’s best intentions, when partnerships just don’t work out. The CSP might be taking its business in a direction that does not meet your needs or your organisation may no longer require the same services. Whether it is the fault of one party or due to irreconcilable differences, you may be headed for cloud divorce.
In some cases it might be possible to discuss your concerns together and reconcile to a point where you are happier with the direction of the relationship. But in many instances, by the time either party has realised there is a problem, it’s too late and any confidence in the future of the relationship has been irreparably damaged. At this point, the only course of action is to go your separate ways.
Getting it right the second time around
A considerable amount of time, effort and expense goes into running a tender process, selecting a partner and transitioning to a service, so it is a cycle you only want to repeat when absolutely necessary. Bear in mind there is no harm in shopping around to see what else is on offer before cutting all ties – after all, following a review of the market you may find that, despite any change in circumstances, your original service provider is still the one for you.
When running a new tender process, make sure you are asking the right questions and use your previous experience and the lessons learned to help define the future decisions you make. For instance, does the prospective CSP understand your business better than the last? How will it migrate your data? Does it understand your reasons for change? The list goes on, so making sure you ask as many relevant questions for your business as possible will make all the difference.
Just like starting over
Everyone recognises the best course of action to deliver a long and happy partnership is to make the right choice at the outset and nurture the relationship over time. But despite the best of intentions, it doesn’t always work out that way. If you do end up heading for a cloud divorce, you need to try and ensure it isn’t a costly and unpleasant experience. If you get it right, things can be even better the next time around.