Cloud Services Provisioning Tips

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May 30, 2014 3:10:00 PM

Cloud Services Provisioning Tips

The cloud computing market has become relatively saturated in a short period of time, as businesses from a wide range of regions and industries have spiked demand for the technology and bolstered the size of the service management sector. While there are so many exceptional options available to business owners today, small business owners will want to ensure that they understand exactly what they need before jumping into a cloud services contract. 

Additionally, knowing how to navigate the highly complex and fast-paced cloud computing market will be critical to enjoying optimal returns on investment, service relationships and more. Studies indicate that a growing majority of small and medium-sized businesses have already started to use the cloud, and that the first investment will often lead to several more before too long, meaning that the initial deployments are critical to the long-term success of the overall program. 

After all, the use of cloud computing solutions is generally related back to the modernization of IT, which is a complex project that will often define a company's ability to adapt in the future to new trends, technologies and consumer demands. The dependency on digital technology has spread to virtually every industry and region of the world, and small business owners must recognize the importance of forward thinking and strategic oversight when beginning to jump into the cloud services arena. 

Luckily, there is plenty of guidance available to streamline the decision-making process, as well as a wide range of service providers that are trustworthy, reliable and ready to consult on deployment, management and strategic matters. The time to get moving on cloud services provisioning programs is now, as failure to step into the new era of corporate computing can quickly lead to a competitive disadvantage, especially with so many companies already saving money and boosting power with these technologies. 

Getting started
Forbes recently suggested several ways in which companies can begin to improve their first conversations with cloud service providers, asserting that decision-makers will want to go into the initial meetings with a strong idea of what they want to get out of the partnership. This ties back into a relatively common piece of advice that must be heeded by small business owners especially, in that they must understand what their needs are and how cloud tools can be used to achieve objectives before shopping around for actual products. 

Alignment of investments with specific needs is one of the first tenets of driving higher returns on investment when it comes to any type of new asset, and this rings true for cloud computing purchases as well. According to the news provider, many companies will simply go into a cloud purchasing situation with the lone goal of saving money, and this one-dimensional view will rarely have optimal outcomes considering the breadth of cloud capabilities. 

In terms of raw finances, the cloud can be used to reduce capital expenditure through the eradication of expensive equipment purchases and the transference to outsourced, externally hosted equipment and software. However, the source stated that companies should go into conversations with cloud computing vendors looking for a bit more than just a few financial benefits, and should instead take a more operation-centric approach to the discussion right from the beginning. 

Forbes suggested asking about the applications offered by the chosen cloud vendor, such as if there are customization capabilities included or if the software will be largely off-the-shelf. Software-as-a-Service is still the most commonly used type of cloud computing, and business owners should know exactly what they want by way of apps before making a purchase. 

The news provider went on to note that interactions with customers and the support-related aspects of the contracts should also be points of interest during the initial meetings with a prospective vendor. Companies should ensure that the service level agreement hits all of their demands. 

Closing considerations
Cloud computing has also become an important aspect of unified communications, as IT and traditional collaboration tools continue to become more intertwined and converged in the modern market. As such, business owners would certainly do well to tackle the IT-specific aspects of cloud computing contracts when first deploying the solutions, but should also keep in mind the UC implications of these overhauls. 

Cloud-based UC is starting to gain traction, especially since companies can leverage the services that they are deploying to streamline and improve their communications platforms and programs. As a result, many cloud computing vendors have started to offer comprehensive packaged deals that will include the entirety of IT and UC management, equipment deployments, hosting and more.

Business owners who are looking to completely modernize their workplaces and technological frameworks might want to seek out a vendor that can scale up - both in terms of the breadth of services and the volume - more organically over time. 

Topics: Cloud and Data