Vetting Vendors for Use in the Cloud

Running (and more importantly, growing) a business is not as easy as having an idea and simply making it happen. Chances are you won’t be able to succeed in producing a product without some help from various vendors. Choosing, or “vetting,” which vendors will help you succeed in your business plans can go one of two ways: the easy path or hard path. It all comes down to which vendors you decided to work with.

The problem is that as more business is being done in the cloud, it is getting harder and harder to trust what a vendor puts on paper without first going through the process of working with them directly. To help you vet vendors properly, the cloud computing experts at Innovative Architects ask you to consider the following questions.

What is their business model?

To get the best service, you should only work with a company that has a strong business model, is financially stable, and can perform business at a high level in the cloud. Having these characteristics will indicate that the vendor is stable enough to take on the added pressure of working with your fledgling company and prove that they are committed to efficient business interactions. You should also research their business and discover whether they have a burn rate (i.e. making less than expenses).

How does their technology work?

If your goal is to work in the cloud, you’ll need to ensure that the vendors you choose are technologically savvy enough to support cloud computing. You won’t do yourself any good by choosing a vendor that doesn’t want to (or can’t) collaborate via the cloud.

Furthermore, if you’re going to be using another company’s technology, test it out first! This will let you know if it works how they say it does and if it will actually work for your business processes the way you need it to. In addition, by taking a hands-on approach, your IT staff can discern whether the vendor’s application will work with all platforms and all software you’re already using.

How do they treat their customers?

Customer service in the cloud computing techno-sphere can be difficult if the company you work with doesn’t have the experience or time they need to adequately serve your company. Before making a final decision about a company, you should take the time to make sure that the vendors you choose can handle working with your company. One of the best ways to do this is to discuss the vendor with their other clients, specifically their service and the quality of their product(s).

Another great place to glean information is by visiting a vendor event. Here you can reach a greater number of current and former clients. Pay close attention to former clients who were less than pleased with the company’s performance. Ask them why.

One thing you should not do is expect the vetting process to be quick. At best, it could take 20 man-hours, but it may take upwards of 200 or more. Moreover, the whole process could involve you needing to receive input from employees in the financial, technological and sales departments. Since the decisions you make for your business are important, it is vital that you take the time to thoroughly assess each company before partnering with them.

In addition to taking the necessary time to find the right company, you may also run into the roadblock of finding companies with a stellar sales department, but terrible engineers or poor finances. Failing to have a good balance of these elements will likely lead to your vendor falling short; thus, leaving you to scramble and replace them before your own company suffers.
Cloud computing is slowly changing the face of the business world. As more companies join the world of cloud computing, some business practices will need to evolve. Moreover, as this evolution progresses, some businesses will need assistance to make the transition.

You can find information about the cloud computing solutions and services offered by Innovative Architects by browsing our site or contacting us. We also welcome and encourage you to read our cloud computing blog and knowledge center.