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Hazem SandoukaJan 17, 2024 11:59:35 AM5 min read

People, passion and best practice define cloud success

Cloud services, remote working, and cloud-native apps are driving technology further away from physical premises and human hands. We could argue that business and its people have lost touch with technology, and as a result, the relationship has become tenuous. This moment is make or break for any cloud provider, and those that will succeed are the ones that realise that people are a critical success factor in their businesses’ overall service delivery, now more than ever.

Technology needs humans

As humans, we are used to doing things with other people, and people give technology a face. Regardless of the processes, automated systems organisations build, there should always be a "somebody" to deal with.

The further a service sits away from a customer, the more critical it is to put a face to it. This aspect is probably the first and most important element of customer experience. Clients do not want to feel that their service is in a data centre that’s possibly a million miles away on the other side of the world. They want to feel that it is right next door, that they have someone to call, and that someone will make things happen when the business requires it.

Remember, every customer is different. Sure, from a technology perspective the underlying needed cloud services might be similar. Still, at the root of it, every business has a different persona with diverse executive structures, operations, people, and products. It takes a person to understand what makes a client distinctive and to successfully incorporate your services as a cloud provider with the client’s demands. People make sense of what a client needs beyond the technology checklist.

Defining partnerships

When selecting a cloud partner, technology is only one aspect of the game. What is even more important is how transparent your partner is. People can build their solutions and services up with good marketing – but transparency is irreplaceable. Knowing who your partner is, what they offer, how they operate, and how they deliver their services is essential.

Beyond transparency is flexibility. Your business doesn’t always fit in the same mold as everyone else’s, yet there are providers out there that are building cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all solutions, and then they try to force customers into these rigid solutions. Flexibility in approaching your specific needs is quintessential when selecting a partner. Also, you do not have to partner with the biggest cloud provider; it is better to select a company that has the right people who are transparent and flexible in their approach. Companies will keep buying from service providers that are honest in their communication, services, capabilities, and their ability to deliver, especially when things go wrong. Nobody is immune from failure – but few will own their shortcomings and go the extra mile to fix them. That is what you need to look for in a cloud services partner.

People are a unifying force From my perspective, people are the unifying force behind any cloud’s success. All cloud providers work with the same building blocks and are restricted by the same rules. Software, hardware, networking, bandwidth, infrastructure, and some smart technical people bring it together. Successful companies use their people to unify the client's need with the cloud service and extrapolate this into meeting the business requirement. I do not think the cloud is ever about technology; it is the merger of operations at the most fundamental scale and the marriage of two companies. Cloud partnerships are more than a supplier-customer contract – they are a relationship steeped in trust. You can replace suppliers, but not clouds – you cannot just walk away from your cloud because it let you down. A cloud partnership is one based on joint success, and mutual trust enables the correct decisions to deploy and properly use the cloud.

Fool-proof cloud partnerships

So how do you build good partnerships in the cloud, and on what can you base them? The chances are that most clients cannot communicate their requirements effectively. They rely on their cloud provider to take an active approach to understand what they need. But it goes both ways, and your cloud provider also needs to be willing to state upfront about when their services cannot meet some of their customers needs. Too many companies offer everything to everyone, and the relationship unbalances when they can’t scale.

We approach our customer relationships with a fundamental understanding of what we can deliver versus what the client needs. At V2, we ask how we can do things better - are we servicing the client business and not just technology needs? Are we honest with the customer? We are willing to prove our worth before sending the first PO.

We also continuously monitor and check the feedback loop in our communication channels. Our team collectively knows what is going on with each customer. By not relying on a single gatekeeper, we can better monitor customer engagement and ensure you are getting a single source of truth. We also make all our pricing public, are willing to prove ourselves, and work with customers to match the best technology solution to your business.

Our customers always know whom to go to when something goes wrong. Problems can cost you business, so we follow a policy where our people are empowered to fix a five-minute problem immediately. Just go ahead and fix it because the chances are, they fixed a potential month-long problem.

This approach comes naturally to us because we are agile, and it is in our operational DNA. Big companies have more processes to get through, making them less effective and less responsive. What makes us successful, and what I would say is our greatest quality, is our willingness to cooperate to achieve success across both customers and partners.

Standing out in the IT crowd

Looking ahead, the coronavirus-era we are living in has seen a rallying cry amongst regional cloud providers such as ours. The cloud will be the reason we do not fall behind other, more developed tech countries. The cloud can future-proof your business, and if we want to be relevant for another 50 years as a company and as a region – we have to deliver a service that is equivalent to what western companies can.

Go to your customers and prove your worth, not because you are the local guy. But because you work harder, provide the best services, and offer customers relevant solutions. Only then will you become a part of the global economy. The only way I see us remain relevant is through cloud because the cloud is the thing that allows you to scale, effectively, efficiently, dynamically and lets you meet challenges whatever they may be.