In essence, purchasing cloud solutions is a simple process: just go to the site of your choice, place an order and pay by credit card. Businesses, however, often prefer a higher level of customisation in the solution, and another the key element is that these enterprise level agreements give the group better overall visibility to ‘cloud spend’ and capacity optimisation.
Personally, I also call for a cloud strategy in which an organisation identifies the solutions that utilise cloud technology and combines these under a single umbrella, creating a consistent approach to public cloud while creating cost efficiency. As an additional benefit, this reduces compliance risks relating to personal data. This can be achieved if, for example, all solutions or at least the maximum possible proportion of the solutions are within one clearly identified scheme as opposed to having bits and pieces of the data spread across the world in data centres run by various third parties.
What are the top three points to keep in mind when starting the negotiation on cloud services?
1. There is usually no minimum payment commitment. You can always buy as much or little as you want. Also even if there is a ‘risk’ that vendors often retain the right to introduce fees or change prices, you typically have the right to terminate for convenience so it is not truly a risk that you would have “lock-in problem” with higher fees. Also as the largest players are in any case in dominant market position so they treat you equally with others which also gives comfort to you.
2. Service levels are standardized and there is typically zero flexibility. This is an obvious downside but, similarly, if you wish to have a bag of concrete from your local hardware store, you always have certain limitations. You can choose a small bag or a big one but you cannot go in there saying you would like to have exactly 3,700 grams and a quarter-ounce of concrete. There are different vendors for these.
3. What, then, can be negotiated? To exaggerate just a bit, the answer is ‘everything else.’ In any case, these enterprise agreements contain several points that can be negotiated while keeping in mind the above, such as, termination periods if you are afraid of business continuity in case more business-critical data is put into cloud environment.
We have at TRUST made cloud negotiation packages under which we have standard comments for AWS, Azure and similar cloud solutions most often considered by large corporations - feel free to drop us an e-mail if you are interested.