The term “cloud computing” might project uncertainty or fuzziness, but don’t let the moniker confuse you. Far from creating uncertainty for business owners, cloud computing – and cloud hosting, for that matter – give entrepreneurs the technological ammunition to run their companies. If you own a business, seek the assistance of a cloud hosting provider to understand what it takes to be operationally nimble – that is, ready to seize opportunities as they arise, adapt to competitive conditions and make money in the long term. Before selecting a cloud hosting provider, determine your company’s operational needs; get competitive intelligence; and review products and services offered by providers, to make sure they’re in sync with what you’re looking for.
Determine Operational Needs
A company’s operational needs chronicles things it must do to operate better, people it must hire to improve the bottom line, rivals it must watch, commercial moves it must detect, and products and services it must sell to outmatch competitors. Put a finger on your company’s priorities, asking specific questions that will help inform the decision-making process. Assemble a team of key advisers to help you determine items that should lie atop the operational agenda, leaving aside topics that do not require your immediate attention because of their commercial irrelevance. Seek the expertise of your company’s head of IT, and get his or her take on elements of cost, scalability, IT management, data security and customer service enhancement.
Get Competitive Intelligence
Before entrusting your organization’s IT infrastructure and computer environment to a cloud hosting provider, find out what the competition is doing. Determine which providers your company’s rivals have hired, keeping an eye on why these providers have won your competitors’ trust. Signing up with a cloud services provider that already has a footprint in your industry is strategically smart, because the provider already knows industry-specific challenges and most likely may have appropriate solutions to mitigate them. The goal here is not to formulate an elaborate plan to sneak in competitors’ computing environment – an exercise that might invite the wrath of regulators and cause legal troubles – but to seek publicly available information about rivals’ IT processes. For example, you may dispatch your company’s IT director to an industry conference to glean more data about sector trends. Alternatively, you can reach out to the editor of an IT magazine and seek information about the latest industry developments on everything related to enterprise cloud services.
Review Cloud Services Providers
After identifying your company’s operational needs and figuring out what types of cloud services competitors are using, make the rounds and talk to cloud services providers. Cloud services run the technological gamut, from Web-based cloud services and software as a service (SaaS) to platform as a service, utility cloud services, managed services and service commerce. Ask each service provider specific information about the kind of functionalities available in the product offering – say, what kind of SaaS is offered. SaaS enables an organization to use a given application through a browser, typically granting access to multiple users who may utilize the application simultaneously. Examples include software used in human resources management, customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning.
Jerry Bobrovskian is an Enterprise Cloud Computing Consultant with 15 years experience in the field. Jerry recommends looking to http://www.savvis.ca/ for cloud hosting solutions.