Friday, May 18, 2012

What's your vendors CLOUD score?

Are you, like almost everyone, looking at moving to the cloud? Before you move your critical applications to a new provider check out their CLOUD score.


Company: Are they financially stable? Is there management team seasoned and well respected? Who invested in them? Are they making money or burning cash? Will they survive a disaster and be there for you still?

Legal: Is the legal contract right for you? Check out this blog post to see if you have added the right clauses to protect yourself. Having a good relationship is key, but if something goes south the contract is what the courts will look at, not what the sales team said over lunch.

Openness: Can you integrate with other systems easily? Can you move your data out if needed? Can they use third party authentication methods, like LDAP, or SAML? Do they have a "trust" site so you can see if they are having performance or reliability issues? Do they share there roadmap so you can plan appropriately? Is their knowledgebase available and useful?

Usability: Can users learn the tool quickly? Is training online available? Can you make domain wide changes with an administrator tool? Can you do bulk uploads? Is it easy to manage the system? Is it easy to work with support?

Development: How easy is it to customize? Can you make meta changes from the user interface, or do you need a coding expert to make all changes? Do your developers know how to code in the language it uses? If not, how hard is it to find qualified developers, or train yours? Are the API's well written and robust?

If you ask all of these questions and are comfortable with the vendors answers, you can't go wrong. We use a spreadsheet that asks these questions and weights the scores giving us a result. Using the CLOUD score really helps us make the right decisions and avoid problems.

If you want to check out the spreadsheet we use to calculate our vendor's CLOUD score, check it out at

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