Blog Insight

Your Buying Guide to Cloud Services

Your shopping style at home may hold clues to finding the right strategy for adopting cloud-based services. And while buying cloud services isn’t the same as buying a car, a smartphone, or a couple of steaks, if you know the type of shopper you normally are, then by all means, humor me and read on.

What kind of shopper are you?

The Vending Machine Shopper

Have you seen the latest vending machines popping up in airports worldwide? They’re not just for snacks anymore. Let’s say you’re leaving on a trip and you think, “Why bring this old tablet when I can pick up a new one from a vending machine at the airport?” You know what you want. You know how to get it. You’re comfortable making a no-need-to-talk-to-anyone-else transaction. And roughly three to seven minutes after scrolling through your choices—bam!—new tablet.

If this describes you, self-service cloud provisioning is a great fit. You understand the commodity value of what is being offered. You have very few expectations around service. And to get any kind of support, you know that you’ll have to endure phone queues, chat windows, open case numbers, and the lack of a service level agreement. But hey, you just bought a tablet from a vending machine at the airport!

The Box Store Shopper

Maybe 100 percent self-service isn’t your thing. Fair enough. You might have a few questions going in: Does it support X? Can I use it for Y? Is there a package deal? You’re ready to buy, but first, you need answers. For you, knowing the details is all important and builds confidence in your decision. You’re willing to pay a little more as long as you get a little more, such as a number to call if problems arise.

When looking for the right cloud services, having a knowledgeable sales rep at one of the major cloud providers or resellers works for you. The rep can get everything set up and then get out of the way. The rep can even let you know what’s up with your usage and overages. No matter what, this box store model exists to sell to you, not to create a support relationship with you, at least nothing beyond its extended warranties. You know, the ones with hoops to jump through, calls to make, and a process that supersedes service.

The Concierge/White-Glove Shopper

In this scenario, you know what you need to achieve with whatever you’re buying. For you, it’s all about making sure that the purchase fits the requirements. You don’t need the details; you just need it to do the job that it was designed to do. You want white-glove, concierge-style service with MVP status and one number to call. Better yet, before you even know about a problem, the company calls you with the solution.

If top-tier service is your thing, working with a partner that understands how the different cloud operators work might be the way to go—a partner that knows what you need to achieve and where you derive value. Partnerships like that allow you to choose something that addresses your risk tolerance and key performance indicators while providing service level agreements for ongoing support. You’ll pay a bit more than you would shopping at the vending machine or the box store, but knowing that your cloud strategy is being executed to match your goals can make it more cost-effective in the end.

Whether you’re attracted to the simplicity of a vending machine, the options of a box store, or the at-your-beck-and-call service of a concierge, knowing what kind of shopper you are outside the office may help with purchase decisions inside the office. Want to know more? Send me an email and we’ll keep the conversation going.