2 Sep 2011
This is a guest blog by George, Head of Enterprise.
I was reading an interesting article recently about which points, in general, we should all think about when choosing a new supplier of anything. It’s amazing how relevant these points when thought about in the context of choosing a new Enterprise hosting provider. These points are listed in the order of importance I would place upon them:
1 . Supplier Capacity & Reliability
In short, how well equipped is your chosen supplier to deal with your order today and also your growth plans for the future – how many of these questions can they say yes to:
- Is the company an established and long standing player in the hosting market?
- Do they already provide similar products and services to other customers?
- Do they have relevant certifications and accreditations?
- Have they received industry awards to backup their claims?
2 . Warranty Issues and After-Sales Support
It is one thing to supply a product and it is a totally different ball game to ensure that there is valid warranty on it. Make sure the supplier can provide the level of support you need and they’ll put their neck on the line by putting SLAs in place guaranteeing response times.
Ask to speak to existing customers who will honestly talk about previous experiences – talk about what has gone wrong previously and how the supplier coped…
3. Quality of Products/ State-of-the-Art Product Range
Do they use a range of industry accepted technologies? For example, if you’re looking at virtualisation, is the supplier recommending one virtualisation technology ahead of another because they only support one? Or can they offer more than 1 (for example, VMware and Hyper-V) and so recommend the right technology for you based upon the discussions and meetings you’ve had?
4. Corporate Value System
Does the supplier have a set of values and beliefs that they make their decisions based upon? Are these in line with your own? We all prefer to do business with people who we like and the same goes for choosing a business to partner with. Make sure you are aligned and there is a good synergy.
5 . Lower Lead Times
You’ve planned ahead because you know the project is coming up but the information coming through from suppliers took longer than expected, and so did getting everyone at your end into a room to make the decision. What are the suppliers’ lead times and how flexible will they be in ensuring they can meet your critical dates? Clearly, you want to make sure the project starts on the right foot – on time!
6 Competitive Pricing (Value)
I’ve listed this at the end, but clearly I’m not suggesting it’s unimportant. The most important element here is Cost vs. Risk. If the risk associated with losing your infrastructure / customer data / entire livelihood is greater than the cost involved in putting a solution online which will prevent the above from happening, it’s a no brainer. Choose the solution which will deliver guaranteed uptime and allow you to sleep safe at night.
I’d welcome your thoughts and experiences on choosing a hosting provider – what’s most important to you?