Top 8 Considerations When Looking for a Cloud Services Provider


My recent blog on the top 12 reasons to invest in the cloud generated a lot of interest, and so I wanted to continue the discussion on this hot topic.

I reached out to our wealth of Avaya cloud experts for insight, and the result is the following guest blog by my colleague, Bob Camel. The article details a recently-developed online calculator designed to help executives evaluating unified communications and contact center management through the cloud, and suggests the top eight questions to ask when looking for a cloud services provider:

The value proposition of the cloud is clear. It’s about faster and easier provisioning and startup, as well as simplifying the transformation of IT. Moving to the cloud offers more flexibility and scalability with business changes, which helps bring about cost savings or a better total cost of ownership.

Recently, Pat discussed Forrester Research’s forward-thinking Total Economic Impact™ studies on the potential return on investment for the private/hybrid cloud model.

To move the conversation forward, we recently developed a model that helps address how companies can achieve meaningful business results by transitioning to the cloud.

This online calculator factors in the number of white collar employees using unified communications, number of contact center agents and annual IT infrastructure cost to manage and maintain UC and/or contact center network(s) to calculate savings. The calculator demonstrates how managed services at the core of private cloud services can improve the bottom line.

To reaffirm the savings associated with the cloud, consider the advice of the research advisory firm Nemertes, which recently released a report entitled “True Cost of Operations for IPT/UC Decrease.” Nemertes interviewed 26 IT leaders and surveyed an additional 238 professionals to gather data points on several areas of IP telephony and UC.

They came up three “direction points”:

  • “IP Telephony costs down – Capital and operational costs drop, reflecting more competition and shorter learning curves, respectively. But implementation costs rise because of integration and resources needed to effectively plan and engineer rollouts.”
  • “Four providers this year are below median for first-year, on-premise IP telephony costs.”
  • “Cloud not the big cost saver—if you think you’re going to save money on cloud, look carefully.”

“When running a cost model … factor five years out,” writes the report’s authors, on the importance of considering staffing and costs of a cloud deployment. “This will show how costs change as IT staff gains expertise. Particularly in cloud environments, the operation costs should drop as employees are better trained, kinks are worked out of the systems, and the cloud provider steps up to be a true partner.”

So what should businesses look for in a cloud services provider? To get you started, be sure to ask these eight questions of potential providers:

  1. Is the cloud provider focused on the client and their overall performance/business outcomes? Or just on the client’s applications?
  2. Is the cloud provider committed to building a strong relationship through dedication to processes for communications, meeting expectations, discussing priorities and developing strategies?
  3. Can the provider help in the training of employees to use UC/CC apps?
  4. Can the provider troubleshoot and integrate existing apps?
  5. Does the provider have strong support models and management tools?
  6. Do they offer the necessary flexibility to meet the client’s long- and short-term goals?
  7. Is the provider accountable and willing to commit to service-level agreements?
  8. Can the provider offer global standards in their offers, services and tools?

Rightly stated in our top 6 trends for 2015, the allure of the cloud continues, particularly because of opportunities for flexibility and savings. Realizing all of these savings requires careful consideration of these eight questions. Picking the right cloud services partner can make or break the business case for cloud.

What questions are most important to you? How is your cloud performing? Are you seeing savings?

Follow me on Twitter: @Pat_Patterson_V.

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