July 27, 2015
By Michael Brown 1
Simplicity is the catch word behind the massive success of cloud-based file sharing services. The ability to access files and business applications without needing to invest in costly hardware installation and maintenance is a welcome relief for small, medium and large scale businesses alike. However, while cloud computing brings with it the joys of a simpler life, companies are likely to have some concerns before they put all their eggs in your cloud basket.
Here are some simple ideas on how to evaluate cloud providers as you "date" them before making a big commitment.
Provide simple and fast on-boarding
Nothing turns off a date more than being kept waiting. The same applies to clients who are told that their applications and data will take the better part of a month to be “clouded”. As data migration is expensive (average cost per project being $875,000), you can stand out from the competition by ensuring that the on-boarding process is quick, simple and affordable.
This can be accomplished by automating as many of the steps involved. Automated data migration tools which use simple software clients to migrate data from your customer’s hardware to yours can be of great help when you are looking to finish that on-boarding project quickly.
Make sure your cloud platform works with their existing solutions
As each client will have data and applications specific to their needs, it will help if you took the initiative to investigate if your own platform is going to work with what they are using currently. Even though cloud computing has taken the world by storm (pun intended), there is little consensus in its design and architecture, which makes data migration a bit of a hassle.
If you are really looking to make data on-boarding efficient and fast, then you might want to invest in special APIs for your particular cloud architecture.
Engage with your customers regularly to keep the partnership strong
Being ignored never feels good, so it will aid your cause if you develop customer relationship practices to help you stay in touch with your clients on a regular basis. Just because they are your client now doesn’t mean you should stop selling them on your service – especially if they are seeing multiple managed service providers. You could for instance, send them weekly email newsletters with helpful and/or newsworthy information every week. These can be anything from tips on how to make their cloud experience even better, to how they can provide their customers with a better service thanks to the technologies that you provide.
If you are adding new features, or making changes then be sure to let them know how it will help them. You can also put the spotlight on your customers and show some PR love by including their interviews/advice/strategies on your blog, or Youtube channel.
While the aim behind multi-sourcing is to increase competition and diversify risk, most companies will also use it to find a good service provider, who they select to go exclusive with. This is especially so since multi-sourcing has its own drawbacks. Managing data and applications spread across different clouds no doubt adds to the complexity of doing business. So, even if you are being dated, you can differentiate yourself by being efficient and smart, securing a loyal client in the process.
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