Choosing the right cloud technology supplier in a disruptive market
By Alex Hilton, CEO Cloud Industry Forum
In the climate of the perpetual technology revolution it is very hard for businesses to make the right technology decisions and one key component of this is the choice of supplier.
The UK government’s Digital Marketplace offers many SMEs their first chance to supply IT services. As of July 2017, the total spend through the Digital Marketplace exceeded £2.6 billion. Of this spend, 45% was through small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). At the other end, Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of media giant WPP recently talked about the disruptive nature of the digital technology market as being both threat and opportunity. With modern technology paradigms coming at us from every angle the landscape has become more complex than ever.
So, looking pragmatically at the Board and C-level execs in any business, how are they making their technology decisions, are they placing their bets appropriately, managing risk accordingly, seizing the opportunities whilst keeping the core business principles they value most. Fail-fast is great in principle, but it all carries cost, not a good bed-fellow in an agile market.
Every IT supplier will have a business priority that utilises some form of cloud technology, if your IT business strategy doesn’t include cloud, you don’t have an IT business strategy! 92% of businesses state that cloud is important to their business transformation strategy. It clearly is the market mover in this business transformation era. But how does a business choose their IT partner? Simply sticking with the trusted supplier of the last 10 years doesn’t wash any more – there are so many disruptive forces at play.
So, the need for trusted suppliers has never been greater. The safe option could be to stick with the big names: AWS, IBM, Microsoft, Google, most of those vendors also have a large partner eco-system themselves, all of whom try to differentiate their services and create their own unique proposition. Whilst the big firms have partner networks that acknowledge the skills and require a host of accreditations there is a need for a more holistic industry wide certification that recognises and acknowledges the business principles of the supplier. The Cloud Industry Forum’s Code of Practice (Code) defines these principles (or pillars) as transparency, capability, and accountability – each in turn is of the utmost importance.
Transparency. Arguably the most important, transparency of the IT supplier’s business and their operational practices. Organisations complying with the Code shall conduct themselves in an open and transparent manner which facilitates rational decision-making and management by customers of their services, helping buyers have visibility of essential information to make decisions.
Capability. Ensuring the ability of an organization to perform essential management functions, at a minimum these should include written policies and procedures, specific individuals assigned with relevant responsibilities, and appropriate training and awareness programmes.
Accountability. Suppliers that are complying with the Code shall be accountable for their compliance and for their behaviour with customers – thus instilling confidence through public statements of their transparency and capabilities that they have identified.
The need for the IT community to step up and utilise market recognised accreditations have never been greater, but customers must also be accountable by asking for the same from their suppliers.
Choosing the right certification scheme is important. The Cloud Industry Forum’s Code is recognised by ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency) on their Cloud Certification Schemes List.
More details on the Cloud Industry Forum Code can be found at: https://www.selfcert.cloudindustryforum.org/