There’s an Aesop’s fable I like about a fox stuck in a well. After gently persuading a friendly goat to jump down and help, the sly fox double-crosses the animal – trapping him below. That’s the real origin of the phrase, “Look Before You Leap” – being prepared before making difficult decisions. For anyone exploring the evolving hybrid IT and cloud space, one thing is clear: There are indeed pitfalls to avoid before implementing an IT strategy, and customers must step carefully.

Sparked by the Digital Transformation, any good IT roadmap incorporates cloud in some way. Yet even with the cost and efficiency savings the model brings – the path isn’t always easy. When choosing to employ a phased approach, Managed Hosting is one critical step on this journey.

Boasting an expected CAGR of 27 percent by 2020, Managed Hosting has the power to transform business. In addition to streamlining IT costs through reduced investment and administration, it ensures fast deployments, unprecedented scalability, and new flexibility. But while the benefits are powerful, choosing a provider isn’t a “slam dunk.” Just like the fox, the path from the well isn’t easy and it pays to know what you’re up against.

There are several key steps when properly aligning with a Managed Hosting partner. Ranging from pricing and contract terms to strategic direction and track-record/support, some items to consider:

  • Pricing: While it seems obvious, these parameters aren’t always understood. Cost comparisons must be equal – matching solutions of the same kind. Understand exactly what’s included in each bundle, so price comparisons are fair.
  • Contract Terms: One of the most disappointing things is a partner who doesn’t meet expectations. While hopefully rare, disappointing relationships must be rectified – meaning a full understanding of termination guidelines. Understanding incurred penalties should also be clear.
  • Strategic Issues: Even the strongest portfolios aren’t always the best choice. Consider a provider’s “bench strength,” or depth of technology expertise. Always question bold claims, such as 100 percent uptime. Other issues include geography, in other words does the vendor have data centers near marquis commerce markets or markets that are within proximity to your own facilities. . For example, colocation facilities shouldn’t be too close or far away from facilities, or you run the risk of adverse effects like data loss due to disaster or lower latency.  Last but perhaps most important are the additional capabilities a vendor can bring to help you test and deploy new technologies rapidly.
  • Quality Performance: Track-record is everything, and providers need to prove their worth. Longevity and performance during that time is essential, while understanding a partner’s ability to innovate is also very important.
  • Support Models: Pay close attention to three specific areas: Support team responsiveness, their flexibility to accommodate growth, willingness to build contracts that are unique to your needs and their power to meet highly stringent security/governance requirements. Each must be sorted out prior to signing a contract.

That’s why we’ve teamed with Hewlett Packard Enterprise.  Together we offer customers the ability to transform an IT ecosystem into a revenue-generating asset. CenturyLink hosting solutions – supported by the power of HPE – is quickly becoming a critical piece of the Hybrid IT enterprise. Rather than draining precious internal resources at your company, our combined solution moves organizations toward a flexible service model for easy access to cloud-based services. Our award-winning technology and expansive technology expertise makes it easy to inject agility and reliability into your infrastructure.

There are many critical steps to consider on the road to cloud. When aligning with a trusted partner, be sure to understand their strengths and follow the checklist above. Because with CenturyLink and HPE, we’re arming you with tried-and-true guidance so you can look before you leap!

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