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Choosing a Cloud Services Provider with Confidence

The typical shopper for cloud services doesn’t expect to hear, “We’re not going to sell you that,” from a cloud service provider (CSP). Either the customer is online paging through a CSP’s website and checking boxes to buy some of this or that, credit card in hand, or she/he comes with a list of “requirements” that the CSP is happy to fulfill, few questions asked. A period of self-discovery follows, proving whether the customer got it right.

“Some of our best customers are those whose expectations weren’t met elsewhere, usually from a performance or a service standpoint,” says Steve Hasselbach, a solutions engineer at Peak 10. “Many have only cursory knowledge about how to use cloud services effectively in their businesses, and some have never experienced data centers on a scale like ours. It’s our job to educate and inform. Without someone to explain it all, it’s easy to go astray.

Steve and the other solution engineers at Peak 10 think of themselves as anything but order-takers or price-quoters. A prospective customer that comes and asks, “What do you charge for this?” will be answered with, “Before we get to that, what is it you need to accomplish? What are you trying to do?”

That’s an entirely different discussion that involves data transfer requirements, sizing storage, application usage, defining recovery time and recovery point objectives, etc. But more than that, it’s a strategic discussion about the prospect’s business requirements, market expansion plans or customer care objectives.

“Prospective customers don’t expect to be asked why they need eight vCPUs or why they need 100 Gbps or 5Tb of disk. They only know that’s what they had, and that seemed to work,” says Steve. “We could give them that. No problem. But the price would be excessive for unneeded services when there could be a better solution. In the end, they wouldn’t be happy, and we could lose a customer. Our view is that you pay only for what you need now. If you educate and help customers, they will grow and our relationship will grow, as well. That’s how we roll.”

When placed in a business-solutions context, a CSP’s ability to deliver on the promise becomes more meaningful and measureable for customers.  That’s when a customer can evaluate the strength of the provider’s security and regulatory compliance programs, for example, for their value to the business. The CSP’s technology partners for network, computing and storage services become a window into the robustness of the infrastructure. The caliber and professionalism of the CSP’s technical, engineering and business staff can be assessed for the direct contribution they can make to the customer’s success.

“When a company is out shopping for services and talking with three or four potential vendors, I prefer they come to Peak 10 first. I know the other candidates are not likely to ask the questions we ask, won’t try to understand business requirements like we do, won’t probe to the heart of the matter,” says Steve. “Our customer-first approach really sets us apart, which becomes obvious in side-by-side comparisons. Even if a customer chooses another provider, at least we helped them make a more informed decision.”

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About Peak 10

"Our values are the foundation for everything we do at Peak 10, and are ultimately what enable us to earn our customers' business and their trust."
David H. Jones,
Board Member, Peak 10 + ViaWest