Expert opinion

How do Large Companies Choose Cloud Providers?

3 minutes

Sergey Zinkevich

Companies no longer doubt that cloud services are required to run business. Their interest in clouds is far more practical now. The coronavirus pandemic and the need to adopt remote work in no time have convinced the latest skeptics and doubters.

Thanks to the cloud, businesses managed to quickly deploy corporate video conferencing and e-mail services, establish secure document flow, financial and management accounting, and build other business processes wisely.

CROC Cloud Services analyzed the criteria for large accounts to choose a cloud provider and got some insights. For example, service cost doesn’t matter so much for the enterprise segment as it seemed before. Instead, cloud provider’s competence and customer focus are in demand.

The survey took place at the end of December 2020 and covered several dozens of CROC Cloud corporate users making at least 1 billion rubles in revenue in different industries, including finance, retail, logistics, pharmacy, healthcare, and IT.

Respondents' answers are grouped into four large blocks: cloud team performance, cloud platform technical specifications, brand reputation and awareness, and cost.

Brand reputation and awareness topped the list of criteria. Customers usually look at competitors’ choice, analyze publicly available information about providers, and consider joint projects completed earlier. Cloud provider’s openness and willingness to report on their activities influence the choice for 37% of respondents. CROC Cloud Services assumes that the growing interest in provider's reputation is due to the pandemic and the extremely tight schedule for migrating systems and infrastructures to the cloud.

Facing remote work perspective and higher load on online client services at once, the companies simply had no time to analyze providers’ strengths and weaknesses in detail. Reliance upon proven players with long market presence and positive customer feedback underpinned such a quick choice.

For 28% of respondents, the cloud provider’s team matters most, including its response speed, problem-solving agility, lack of red tape, customer focus, and professionalism. In the latter case, customers noted the quality of commercial proposals, employee certificates, and technical support. Dedicated manager acting as a single point of contact and accelerating problem solving makes the difference as well.

Contractor’s professional team contributes to overall cohesive performance and provides the customer with the expertise it may lack, including information security, CI/CD, and microservice architectures for quick launch of new services. Engaging a cloud provider helps avoid seeking for narrow specialists (recruitment can take months for some positions) and simplify infrastructure management.

For 19% of respondents, the cloud platform technical specifications prevail, including stable infrastructure operation, disk subsystem and CPU performance limiting the responsiveness of business apps running in the cloud, platform openness for improvements to meet customer needs, security, and compliance with regulatory and internal company requirements. The key technical requirements also include platform functionality, especially as required for IT developers. This is of no surprise, since, in our opinion, using a cloud as a scalable and adaptive DevOps environment is going over big.

Only 16% of CROC's cloud customers treat service cost as a selection criterion. This is not just about the cost of migration and hosting, but cloud provider’s readiness to review the terms in the future and offer attractive financing models.

Meanwhile, as the practice shows, large companies do not seek for a trade-off between service cost and quality. Once cloud service underlies business agility, competitiveness, and time-to-market, the price is much less important than platform quality and team performance.

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