Cloud projects are complex and unique, with many moving parts and stakeholders. It’s why many companies turn to a cloud consulting company for help. With the right approach and guidance, they can help you create an effective and cost-efficient cloud environment that works best for you. Your company will achieve your business goals and reap the cloud rewards of being more competitive and agile.
With so many cloud consulting companies out there, how can you choose the right one for your business? We’ve created this guide to help you understand your cloud needs, learn about cloud consulting options, and how to choose the right consulting company for your business.
What is a cloud consulting company?
As a reminder, a cloud consulting company specialises in helping businesses make the best use of cloud technology. Cloud consultants analyse your business and existing technology to develop cloud requirements that drive efficiency, agility, and flexibility across your entire company. They are creative specialists with deep cloud expertise and knowledge who can explain the full range of cloud services available and design the right cloud set up that works best for your business.—While saving you money.
From cloud readiness assessments to application modernisation and cloud migrations to cloud cyber security, a cloud consulting firm will develop a solution that ensures your data, applications, and workloads are fit for the digital future.
What services do cloud consulting companies offer?
A good cloud consulting company will work closely with clients to understand their goals and identify opportunities. Most offer:
- Cloud assessments to determine the right mix of cloud services for your business workloads.
- Migration assistance, including physical and virtual migrations and partial to full workload migrations.
- Application modernisation that moves workloads from legacy systems to the cloud and offers increased flexibility and scalability, automated deployment, and true portability across cloud platforms.
- Identity and cyber security assessments and recommendations to manage risks, protect digital assets, and build a resilient cloud infrastructure.
- Regular monitoring, upgrading, and other cloud maintenance activities.
Some providers specialise in particular cloud infrastructures, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS,) Microsoft Azure, and VMware. Others concentrate on virtualisation, containers, and Kubernetes. And yet others focus on machine learning and IoT computing. Each vendor speciality offers targeted knowledge, expertise, and solutions that offer tremendous value to your business.
Why work with a cloud consulting company?
The two main reasons to work with a cloud consulting company are to take advantage of their targeted knowledge and expertise and the cost savings of not having to hire full-time resources to manage your cloud infrastructure.
Further, your company could enjoy:
- Increased application performance: By moving targeted workloads to the cloud, your company optimises business operations and performance immediately. Newer cloud applications could replace multiple on-premise ones, leading to further productivity gains as workflows are refactored and optimised across the organisation.
- Bespoke cloud infrastructure design: A consultancy has the required cloud knowledge and expertise to design the best cloud platform solution for your requirements and budget. You’ll be confident that you’ve got the right solution for your needs and business objectives.
- Upgraded security: Cloud applications and systems are always updated with the latest cybersecurity, so your company’s data, applications, and workloads are always protected. Plus, consultancies understand that some industries and companies have stricter security requirements and guidelines to follow and are well-versed in designing the proper cloud infrastructure to meet governance requirements.
- Continual improvements: Be confident you’re getting the best out of your cloud platform with the continual reviews most consultancies do of their client’s environments. They want to ensure you’re benefiting from the very best of the cloud and are looking for improvements that would help you.
- Expertly managed projects: Because of their knowledge, experience, and skills, cloud consultancies can support clients through the complete cloud lifecycle. They’re there for it all, from planning to deployment and daily management and optimisations.
Your cloud consulting options
Some consultancies offer ad hoc, project-based options, helping their clients transition particular workloads or onto new cloud infrastructures for a single fee. Others provide this type of consultation as part of a longer-term relationship where they offer continual monitoring, maintenance, and improvements for a regular fee. Similar to other as-a-Service offerings, this type of cloud consultancy would be paid monthly or quarterly and last throughout the length of the signed contract.
How to choose a cloud consulting company
Here are a few factors to consider when looking for a cloud consulting company.
Understand your needs
The first thing is to understand your cloud needs so you can have a starting point when vetting consultancies. However, you might not know what your needs are right now and need the help of the consultancy to determine them.
Try asking yourself these questions to figure out where you are in your needs assessment:
- What business issues am I trying to solve by moving to the cloud? (E.g., workload optimisation, cost savings, moving away from legacy systems, etc.)
- Do we already have an affiliation with a cloud vendor such as AWS or Azure? Do we need or want to stay with them or move to a different one?
- What type of support will we need during the transition and after?
Once you understand what cloud help you need, you’ll have an easier time reviewing and finding the right cloud consultancy for you, especially since consultancies have different specialities and relationships with vendors. For example, if you’re looking for help with a cloud migration to AWS, there’s no sense in hiring one who only deals with Azure or Google Cloud.
Know what services are available
This brings us to the second factor: knowing what services your chosen cloud consultancy offers. Doing some research online gives you a general idea of the services they offer and how they could help you. It also helps if you understand what each service entails so you’ll quickly know if it’s something your company could benefit from or not.
Another factor to consider is whether the cloud consultancy has experience in your industry. A financial firm’s needs are different from those of a healthcare facility, so working with someone who brings industry familiarity can be extremely useful. This is critical if you’ve got significant industry or legal governance requirements that must be followed.
Compliance knowledge and experience
There are many rules about moving personal and sensitive data to the cloud, especially for companies dealing with customers across international borders. The major cloud providers like AWS and Azure promise GDPR compliance, but what about other governance rules like HIPAA (in the U.S.) and PCI compliance for anyone handling online payment transactions?
It’s critical to ask your cloud consultancy about their relevant compliance knowledge and experience to ensure your business is protected.
Relationship-building experience with clients
Since a cloud migration may take months or even years, you’ll want to have a good relationship with your cloud consultancy. To set the right expectations, be sure to ask about their workflows and processes as they work with clients. Are they hands-off, or do they offer regular status updates to stakeholders? Depending on your comfort level with the cloud, you may want more or less of a relationship with your consultancy.
Relationships with vendors
As we mentioned earlier, when evaluating a cloud consultancy, you’ll want to know what partnership level they have with any cloud providers they work with. For example, you can look up AWS partners on their website to see what tier they are at and what certifications they hold. This information gives you an idea of the fees the consultant may charge. Generally speaking, the higher the vendor partner level, the higher their fees.
Proven success and track record
You’ll also want to investigate the consultancy’s track record to ensure they’ve got a good reputation. This is especially important if you’re in a highly-regulated industry as you’ll want to know their experience with other customers and that they can adequately support you.
The cloud consultancy should be completely transparent in their promises to you, their workflows and processes, pricing, and anything else relevant to your company. Ensure they’ve got formally documented processes on how they work with clients and vendors, how they change services or apps, log changes, and so on. Most importantly, they should document and communicate with you how and when they communicate with clients like you, including any disruptions or downtimes.
Create a shortlist
By now, you’ve got a good idea of what you need and what options a consultancy needs to have to work with you. Create a list of 1-3 firms and start reaching out to them. If your company has a process for procurement of IT services, be sure to follow it.
Not all cloud consulting companies are created equal. Some offer end-to-end consulting services, while others focus on individual portions of cloud computing (like data warehousing or migrations). A consultancy can offer the expertise, skills, and knowledge needed to move any sized company to the cloud so you can enjoy the benefits of being more competitive and agile in your marketplace.
If you’re ready to explore the world of cloud computing, reach out to our cloud experts today. Redcentric’s approach is to listen and adapt to your unique needs by selecting the right platform, architecture, and workloads that provide an optimal cloud experience. Your company will be more efficient and productive, save money on IT costs overall, and transform faster than your competition.