Selecting a Cloud Advisor



Businesses are increasingly aware that they must move to the cloud to meet new demands like rising customer and employee expectations, data management and seamless collaboration. But, according to CIO Magazine, more than 70 percent of cloud consulting engagements result in either a 10 percent cost overrun or a change order. The reason, they state, is miss-set expectations.

The key to success lies with the cloud advisor you choose. They play a pivotal role, helping companies select the best technology, ensuring all the applications work together, implementing with minimal disruption, and making sure they set realistic and achievable expectations for each part of the process.

We’ve identified six key capabilities you should look for in your cloud advisor.

1. Knowledge of your industry and your business

Many cloud consultants are technical experts, with deep knowledge of the features and functions of dozens of solutions, but a skilled advisor also must understand your industry and your business goals. If you are in retail, your needs are vastly different than if you are in the financial sphere. Make sure your cloud advisor has experience implementing solutions for your industry.

The company you select should also have depth and expertise in evaluating, developing and implementing a range of cloud designs, from small to highly complex. They should be able to point to a proven track record of success in the cloud and in other areas as well.

Once you’ve determined their qualifications, the advisor should spend time discovering the current cloud maturity of your business and have the experience and insight to identify opportunities that improve infrastructure and business processes while reducing costs.

2. Vendor relationships and neutrality

Obviously, a consultant working for a large solution provider will be highly motivated to recommend their solution, so finding an unbiased advisor is key to helping you navigate the entire range of cloud options. 

They should be vendor-neutral, assess the optimal solutions by drawing on their knowledge and experience with leading providers, and make recommendations that deliver the best total cost of ownership. As the project progresses, the advisor will act as a liaison to interpret complex contracts and help negotiate price, service level agreements and included services to ensure the best terms.

3. Good planning and a clear roadmap

During the planning stage, the advisor works with your company to understand how to prioritize the applications you will move to the cloud, define where you can cut costs and how you can improve processes. Then, they should clearly document the journey you will take through a realistic action plan based on best practices, and that also includes education and training. 

4. Technical expertise

The engineering staff needs to have expertise and certifications in a wide range of solutions to deliver a smooth implementation and ensure ongoing technical support. This will also help when it comes time to re-evaluate solutions as conditions change. Their expertise should extend beyond the cloud solution to include applications and to knowledge of the LAN and WAN to make sure they are compatible with the cloud.

5. Good collaboration, communication skills

The cloud advisor should be completely transparent with their commitments, clearly stating risk management policies, review policies, and grievance processes. They should provide you with a formal and documented process for changes, and clearly outline the SLA for communications on a 24×7 basis.

6. Ongoing support and training

Advisors are not just there during procurement. They are invested in customers’ long-term success and actively support them after implementation with responsive ongoing technical support. With a team that has certifications in many solutions, they will be equipped to train end-users and administrators, which greatly increases adoption and ensures you get the best return on your investment.

The end result of fulfilling these six key criteria is that you will find a trusted partner for the long-term, and that will help you avoid missteps that can cost you time and money.

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