Don’t Venture Into The Cloud Without Meyer’s List
Epicor recently sponsored a report on Cloud Services
by David S. Linthicum. Linthicum is the author/coauthor of 13 books on
computing and a frequent speaker at leading technology conferences on
cloud computing, SOA, Web 2.0, and enterprise architecture. David knows
more than a little about the cloud -- including one cloud vendor
“gotcha” -- escalating fees.
This issue is a real concern for many companies considering a
Software as a Service (SaaS) strategy and to be candid, unfortunately,
it’s completely justified. We ourselves have heard the industry stories
about vendors holding clients hostage with unjustified subscription fee
increases that, over the long term, all but completely erode the
original savings in software, hardware and support.
This underscores the need for what I like to call “Meyer’s List of
Contractual Assurances.” Trust me: Read this little piece of software
insider wisdom now and you’ll thank me later. OK, so without further
ado, here it goes:
In the area of pricing
assurances, make sure there is a price cap, so going into the
relationship you’ll know what the fees will be if all is successful and
you decide to renew the service. This ensures you (and the vendor) have
an absolute understanding of the upper range of what you will pay.
It’s also important to have data
assurances. Yes, breaking up is hard to do, but if you’re cutting ties
with your SaaS vendor and they have your grandmother’s ring (so to
speak), you’re going to want it back -- without any emotional blackmail,
and also without a $$$$ penalty, let’s say.
DATA CENTER ASSURANCES
Next data center
assurances should be validated. This is an easy one, simply ask to see
the SAS 70 II certification report to validate that the system is being
hosted in a credible, top-tier data center and not some server in the
vendor’s storage closet. A SAS 70 II is a detailed audit that shows the
data center has been thoroughly checked and deemed to have satisfactory
controls and safeguards in place for hosting.
SERVICE LEVEL ASSURANCES
Service level assurance
is important, of course. From my perspective, it’s become table stakes.
However, contractual assurances regarding the service’s downtime limits
and support response times should be called out, nonetheless.
As the cloud continues to grow in popularity, customers will gain
more options and more leverage as SaaS vendors grow in number and no
longer wield the power to make aggressive and unilateral demands. But in
the interim I leave you all with the list and invite you to get more
tips on venturing into the cloud in Infoworld’s Special Report
Posted by Chad Meyer, Director, Product Marketing, Epicor