9 Tips to Find the Best Cloud and DevOps Consultant

  • September 30, 2022
Coworkers in a meeting

While endless content has been written comparing software features and functions, it is difficult to find anything that compares cloud consulting firms and their offerings. It’s surprising considering that, according to Gartner, companies spend three times more on professional services than they do on enterprise software. It’s time to end this disparity and lack of useful information.

Following is an either/or checklist on 9 important things to consider when selecting a good cloud and DevOps consulting provider. They’re all important and will have an impact on your project. Ignore them at your peril. While it is a high-level overview, it’s a great resource to help you navigate what will assuredly be a big decision.

Breadth or Depth

There are a number of companies that tout their cloud consulting offerings, but it’s key to understand what they focus on, whether it’s on a broad range of technologies or limited to certain ones. Not that one is better than the other, but you need to first determine which will be best to fit your technology and business needs, then evaluate accordingly.

Can-Do or Analyst

Some firms have a can-do, “roll-up-the-sleeves” and jump in mindset. That may be what you need, but if you do and the cloud consultant you’ve selected takes more of a sit back and first assess your situation, you may find yourself frustrated and the relationship off to a rough start.

Collaborator or Lone Ranger

While most cloud consultants tout their collaborative mindset, take that at face value. It’s important to read reviews and check references to determine if they walk the walk. You may be fine with a firm that operates in more of a lone ranger manner, meaning they’ll work on issues and/or projects, then check back to review what they have been working on. Just do the upfront due diligence to uncover this to prevent headaches down the road. And keep in mind, the lone ranger approach won’t be satisfactory if you’re looking for them to conduct ongoing knowledge share and/or training with your team.

Body Shop or Project-Based

When you take your car in for repairs, there is a single team that works on all issues, whether that’s fixing the air conditioning, aligning the steering or changing fuel injectors. Is that body shop approach going to work when you’re looking for the right cloud consultant? Or, alternatively, will you be OK with a project-based approach that features a range of cloud consultants that may come and go based on their level of expertise. If you need that single project manager to oversee it all, the body shop approach is what you’re looking for.

Onsite or Offsite

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but especially important now that so many are working remotely. It’s important to understand this upfront, especially if there are cloud consultants who aren’t in your time zone. It may be a major source of frustration if you require in-person, face-to-face meetings, but the team with which you’re working are scattered throughout the world.

Time and Materials (T&M) or Fixed Price

If you want to know how much a project will cost for budgeting purposes, you’ll need Fixed Pricing that is accompanied by a Statement of Work (SoW) outlining the entire project, soup to nuts. However, many want to track work and hours more granularly, paying for only what has been completed. While this may be harder to predict for budgetary purposes, it may be better, instead of writing a check for a large, lump sum.

Outsourced or Internalized

Some clients may want to outsource a project to a cloud consultant that works on and completes them with limited, if any, knowledge share; a one-and-done scenario. However, if it involves a cloud project they would like their team to take over and manage in the future, this won’t fit the bill. They’ll want ongoing knowledge share and training to ensure a successful handoff and success into perpetuity.

Reseller or Partner

It’s important to understand if the cloud consultant you are evaluating is locked into a particular cloud vendor through a reseller agreement. Sure, their cloud vendor partner may be able to provide everything you want, but what if they can’t? In short, you need to select the provider who can best address your particular needs. Shoehorning your needs into what they can provide is a recipe for trouble down the road.

Corporate Values and Focus

This isn’t an either/or scenario; it should apply to any cloud consultant with which you enter an agreement. Set aside due diligence time to check on references and seek out nonbiased reviews; in other words, ones that aren’t only available on their website. Gartner, Forrester, IDC, Everest Group, NelsonHall and other research firms offer unbiased analysis and recommendations for selecting cloud consultants and cloud vendors.

Your Best First Step

Selecting the right cloud consultant can be a big decision. There is an array of companies that claim to offer what the others don’t, whatever that may be. And, likewise, there is an array of things to consider prior to making your decision. Time and money are at risk; a poor decision will be expensive in both soft and hard costs. That’s why it is a great first step to reach out to the experts in the field — the talented, tenured professionals at NTT DATA. They can do for your organization what they’ve done for so many — remove the guesswork and help clients get the best possible business outcomes.

Reach out to them and ask any question you like. They’d love to hear from you.

Tech Blog Editor

NTT DATA Tech Blog editors curate content from across our cloud experts to bring you the latest insights, best practices and strategies from hundreds of cloud implementations.