It's no surprise that organizations want to find ways to cut costs, especially as markets become increasingly competitive. North America, including Canada, is the biggest regional spender on IT services in the world. Cloud migration is one way many businesses are attempting to solve IT resources, cost and flexibility challenges, and that's only increasing with pressures from obstacles such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Global revenues related to cloud services were close to $250 billion USD in 2019. By as soon as 2022, that's expected to balloon to more than $350 billion USD.

An explosive market invites many vendors, which means companies looking to find a cloud migration partner may be overwhelmed with options. Taking steps to understand and truly consider your options helps you make an educated decision when choosing a partner for cloud initiatives.

who are the leaders in cloud services?

It depends on what you mean by cloud services, but Amazon, Microsoft and Google tend to dominate in many of the arenas. This is especially true for Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS. 

IaaS is a complete computer infrastructure delivered via the internet. It relies on APIs and other components to link various cloud services to create a full working environment for enterprises. With complete IaaS, your information and documents are all stored online, but so are the software solutions, workflows and other parts of your technical processes. A related term is PaaS, or Platform as a Service.  

When considering cloud migration, most businesses are considering some level of IaaS or PaaS.

According to Synergy Research Group, Amazon, Microsoft and Google owned more than 40% of the IaaS and PaaS markets in 2019. Canalys numbers put it closer to 55%.

But cloud services can also refer to other types of services as well as hardware and software and data centre operations. Other companies with enough market share to show up regularly on the radar include:

  • IBM
  • Rackspace
  • NTT
  • Adobe
  • Salesforce
  • RingCentral
  • 8x8
  • Dell
  • HPE
  • Cisco
  • Equinix

And then there are hundreds if not thousands of companies with much smaller market shares. Often, these smaller vendors offer very specific cloud services, making them potentially strong partners for some organizations and terrible options for others.

3 questions to narrow down your cloud migration options

Narrowing the field to potential partners that have a good chance at meeting your needs is a good idea early on. That way, you're not dragging out the process by having drawn-out meetings with many vendors and muddying the waters with overlapping and unnecessary demos. Here are three questions to consider asking yourself (and potential partners) during the consideration phase.

•  what services do they provide and at what scale?

This might seem like a no-brainer, but some organizations make assumption mistakes when shopping for technical partners. Don't go into this process without understanding exactly what you need. That means taking time to map out your future cloud state with internal subject matter experts and stakeholders. With that map in hand, you can create a list of specific requirements and hold each potential partner up to that template. If they can't check the boxes, you may need to move on to another option.

•  how do pricing and cost structures work?

Ensure you understand how cost works and what it means for your budget. Are you paying one monthly fee, by user license or a la carte for work and services performed?

All of those pricing structures have pros and cons, and which one is right for your business depends on your needs. If you have 20 people who need access to the cloud services, per-user license might be the most cost-effective option. If you have 1,000 people who need various levels of access, paying per user may not make sense.

•  do you need in-house IT staff and for what?

Choosing a partner for your cloud migration—or any other tech endeavour—doesn't usually eliminate 100% of your responsibility to hire IT professionals. You may need to hire a cloud developer on your end to handle specific integrations or a system administrator to manage the solution for your teams. Not sure about the people you’ll need to hire? Check out our article on 6 key people to consider hiring during a cloud migration.

Understanding your needs and having in-depth conversations with potential partners lets you understand what roles you'll need to fill in-house to support the partnership. And the roles can vary depending on which solution you choose.

man in office smiling
man in office smiling

learn more about choosing the right partner to cloud-enable your IT organization

Looking for more guidance on the steps you’ll need to take to migrate to the cloud successfully? Our guide on choosing the right cloud migration partner contains a wealth of information. Get your copy now for a detailed road map for success as you consider options. With this knowledge in hand, you can confidently make decisions that will have a long-lasting impact on your bottom line, organizational success and HR needs.

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