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16 characteristics to look for from your cloud partner

In the past it seems like we’ve been pickier in our personal lives than our professional ones. When it comes to finding a potential romantic suitor, we all subconsciously draw-up long lists of what we’d like from a partner. So why haven’t we been doing this for those we work with every day?

Take the swipe-happy world of online dating as an example. Before you swipe right, you’re likely to look through a few pictures before even showing that you’re interested. After that, you do a little more research. You typically read their biography and take a browse through their connected social media channels. It’s not until after all this you take the plunge, you show you like them by sending the first message.

Let’s swing this back to the IT world. A lot of the time we share our goals and objectives with an IT partner straightaway, and simply wait to see if they say they can achieve them. This is like proposing before the first date. You’re sharing your future ambitions before knowing if they’re ‘the one’.

How do you even start deciphering whether you’re talking to the right partner? Well here’s 16 characteristics we think you should contemplate before letting a cloud partner become part of your future.

  1. Cost savvy. Though it’s nice when someone splashes the cash early on in a relationship, after a while this can become tedious and annoying. The same goes for cloud partnerships. You don’t want to be wasting money. And no matter what you’re paying, you want your output/performance to be better than it is today.
  2. Risk-averse. During the honeymoon period we’re often willing to put up with slightly outlandish behaviour because everything is new and exciting. However, after a few months, this gets very stale and your trust might start waver. When it comes to your cloud partner, you need them to understand how IT and business risk align. You need both parties to work together to support your organisation.
  3. Quality. A long-lasting relationship is often the consequence of both parties working hard to keep the flame alive. You want your cloud partner to be as dedicated to the quality of the relationship as you are, so need proof that they’ll continue to deliver high standards after the first few months.
  4. Security. Just as looks are very high on the personal dating agenda, security is now near the top in the IT realms. Security is a currently prominent topic across the board of directors, especially in the midst of the GDPR, so you need to think closely about data protection in the cloud.
  5. Easy start. You wouldn’t continue seeing someone after a disastrous first date, but if you’ve already signed on the dotted line in a cloud relationship, you have to continue working together even if things don’t start well. This is why you should make sure your partner has a service transition plan.
  6. Time. When a date doesn’t get back within a few days you’re likely to get the message that they aren’t interested. Time is also of the essence at the start of a cloud partnership. After agreeing to a solution you want them to start designing and/or implementing it as soon as possible.
  7. Simplicity. This is one space where the cloud dating world can be easier than the romantic one. In our personal lives it’s hard to measure whether a relationship is going well, whereas with your cloud partner you should expect metrics such as SLAs and predicted costs to help assess success.
  8. Outsourcing. Once upon a time every relationship seemed to be destined for marriage but today we accept that not everyone wants to take this route. In IT if you invested in new hardware you were expected to manage it too. This is no longer the case. Check if your partner provides management and support so you can spend more time focusing on the core business.
  9. Innovation. You want a romantic partner that helps make you a better, happier person, just like we want our cloud partners to give us more innovation capabilities. Innovation is now the key to success and you want your partner to be behind this drive.
  10. Flexibility. You expect people to change throughout a relationship and should help each other grow and flourish. Your cloud solution should also facilitate change and allow you to adapt to new trends.
  11. Restrictions. Even when you’re part of a couple, it’s nice to be able to do what you want, when you want to. Now that intellectual property plays such a vital role in any business, it’s important that this data can move to where you want it, when you need it.
  12. Training. Learning the ins and outs of your partner can take years, but you don’t have this long to learn how to work best with your cloud partner. Your partner should offer training, and should also introduce intuitive user interfaces so you can understand what’s going on easily.
  13. Compliance. If you get married you don’t expect your partner to break the vows, just as you expect your cloud partner to keep within the remits of key regulations. It’s easier to support growth and build trust if regulatory compliance becomes a working standard.
  14. Disruption. Transforming a business doesn’t happen without impact to daily operations like you can’t bring up a contentious subject in your personal life without making time to properly discuss it. Make sure you plan for disruption.
  15. Clarity. Clear communication plays an important part in every successful relationship. Your cloud partner should be able to offer regular updates and an easy way of getting in touch when you need to contact them. They shouldn’t ignore your texts and calls like a disgruntled other half.
  16. Integration. Relationships effect almost every element of your life, including your friends and family. Cloud infrastructure does the same. It impacts users and has to integrate well with existing systems.

At first glance this might seem like a long, exhaustive list, but in reality you’ll likely have to think way beyond these factors. That said, these characteristics can serve as strong guidelines for your initial discussions with a new cloud partner, or can even be used to assess if your current cloud provider is delivering as they should.

You can also learn how well cloud partners are delivering upon these expectations by reading ’Complexities and competitiveness: A report on cloud adoption across Europe’. You can download the report here.

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