What to look for in your Cloud Solution Provider
Following our infographic on the 7 top attributes of a finance process automation cloud solution provider we hope to explore each topic and provide more detail. Deciding to have a cloud hosted finance automation solution becomes the responsibility of the finance department and IT, whilst still a stakeholder, have little involvement in the process. Because it becomes a responsibility of the Finance team it’s essential to ensure the right provider is picked and the communications and trust are in place from the start. Ensuring that the solution provider selected can meet the following criteria will help make the decision and ongoing relationship a sound one
7 Top Attributes to look for in a Cloud Solution Provider
1. Implementation success
Having a proven track record of implementation that can be backed with independent references that are relevant to your processes, organisational landscape or industry are important. Part of the selection process of a cloud solution provider should be a scheduled call with an existing customer that is using the software.
2. Operational Track Record
Find out if the software is designed and licensed in-house or are the company a 3rd party vendor. Purchasing a solution from a reseller means you have little access to the development team that created the solution and therefore not the level of support should you require customisation of features. There is also a danger that the reseller could lose their licence to sell the product leaving you with an unknown provider. A good cultural fit is as important as a stable software solution. Ask for a mission statement, check sustainability policies and anything which resonates with your organisation. Check the website and social channels for the team, not just the company feed. Dig deep and look for cracks. Establish where the company is based and where the team that will manage the implementation and also the ongoing support are based.
3. Data Ownership
Confirm that your company continues to own the data and can obtain a copy of your data if your relationship ends. Ensure there is an agreement in place with the cloud solution provider should this be the case, along with support for the migration away from the cloud solution provider.
4. Infrastructure & Security
Find out which datacentre your cloud solution provider uses to host your solution and data. Check where they are located and what the Business Continuity plans are. Do they have any recognised security certification such as ISO27001? Do they deliver guaranteed ‘up-times’? In short thoroughly evaluate technology infrastructure and networks.
When considering a digital transformation you need to know the ROI, and use it as part of the driver for automation. Your cloud solution provider should be able to work through an ROI plan with you to present to your team and stakeholders. Having a SaaS or managed service model means your company can finance it from a different part of the budget. Monthly subscriptions come from the operating expenses (OPEX) rather than purchase of hardware and licences which become assets and therefore a capital expenditure. (CAPEX) This often helps when agreeing budget as the cost is spread over monthly or quarterly payments.
6. Support Agreement
Ensure a support agreement is in place. Check where the support team are based and their level of knowledge. A good support team will work for the cloud solution provider and should not be a 3rd party supplier. Find out what is included and what is extra. If it is important that you have access to UK based support ascertain if this is available from the start. You will rely heavily on this support for all your technical and operational needs and it will be the basis of your ongoing partnership with the cloud solution provider.
Service level agreements are a must-have. Ensure you have the following areas covered– in writing:
• System availability 99% or higher
• Disaster recovery in case of disaster – back up in 24 hours with no more than 2 hours data loss
• Data integrity and ownership.- Data ownership confirmation and ISO certification
• Support response – escalation/priority levels, responses within 2 hours for critical issues
• Maintenance communication. Planned maintenance/downtime notifications
• Product communication – roadmap – upgrades – new features notifications
Documation is a cloud solution provider offering cloud hosted and on premise finance process automation solutions. We can happily confirm we put a tick in all of the boxes above. We pride ourselves in our customer relationships and always go the extra mile to listen, understand and deliver. If you would like more details on how we can partner with your organisation to help with your digital transformation then get in touch with the firstname.lastname@example.org