Choosing the right cloud consulting company is notoriously tricky.
On the one hand, you have the brand-names, large consultancies. They charge a small fortune for their services and often produce mixed results.
On the other hand, you have tons of small and mid-sized cloud consulting companies. A few of them do a great job, but most are mediocre, to say the least.
There’s also another problem:
Small consultancies packed with amazing engineers typically aren’t great at sales or marketing. This makes them hard to find, especially if you don’t know where to look.
In this article, I’ll give my take (as an AWS consultant myself) on how businesses should approach the process of finding the right cloud consultancies.
Specifically, I’ll talk about:
- Where To Look For Cloud Consulting Companies/Services
- The Red Flags You Should Watch Out For
- Things You Should Focus On When Evaluating A Consultancy
Let’s get started
Where To Look For Cloud Consulting Companies/Services
Like most other questions, the easiest answer here is Google.
If you search for “cloud consulting services” or a similar term, you’ll find tons of recommendations.
Some websites even specialize in listing and ranking consulting companies based on different criteria.
Clutch.co is a classic in this category. They have a massive catalogue of companies in tons of industries, including cloud consulting.
Some alternatives to Clutch are G2, 99Firms, Techreviewer or DesignRush. These websites don’t have quite as much data on their listed companies as Clutch, but still provide valuable information and different category rankings like:
- Top Bulgaria Cloud Consulting Companies
- Top App Development Companies
- Top Software Development Companies
- Top Outsourcing Software Development Companies
Next, you can ask around some popular tech forums for an opinion.
For example, the largest cloud computing subreddit has around 13k users – https://www.reddit.com/r/cloudcomputing/.
Subreddits for AWS (https://www.reddit.com/r/aws) and Azure (https://www.reddit.com/r/AZURE/) have about 140k and 53k, respectively.
Put simply, lots of people online can help you choose a consulting partner. Don’t be afraid to create a topic and ask for their opinion.
Finally, and this is the most overlooked tip – go to your local tech meetups.
(Right now, this might not be possible due to COVID, depending on where you live. Still, keep this tip in mind for when everything goes back to normal.)
Tech experts form groups all around the world. Casual meetups, tech meetings, beer and pizza on Friday afternoons, etc.
Find out where cloud experts hang out in your area and go there. Again, don’t be afraid to ask. Not only for opinions and reviews but for advice on working with consultancies in general.
Now that you know where to look for companies, let’s talk about red flags.
The Red Flags You Should Watch Out For
I addressed this topic in detail in my blog post from last week.
For now, here’s a quick TL;DR of the topic:
First, companies that obsess over how many certified AWS Solutions Architects or Azure Developers they have typically miss the mark by a long shot.
It’s great to get certified, but certs shouldn’t be the main selling proposition of any cloud consultancy. Instead, look for companies that focus on their work – customer stories, case studies, etc. More on that later.
Second, a lot of cloud consultants don’t offer a personalized solution to their clients. I call this problem “The Template Approach”.
Shady consultants love to use the same list of steps for every business they work with. That way, they get their fee without spending too much effort.
Unfortunately, this approach leads to unclear project scopes, murky timelines, inflated bills and bad customer experience.
Third, most consulting companies are awful at communicating with their clients.
Not responding to email for weeks is a common practice. Creating overcomplicated, borderline impossible to read project plans is another cloud consulting classic.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, move along and find another option.
Again, these communication blunders benefit the consultants but not their clients.
There are many reasons why all of these problems exist, but I’m not going to talk about them here. If you’re interested, check out my previous post.
Now that you know what to avoid, let’s talk about what you should focus on.
Things You Should Focus On When Evaluating A Consultancy
In short, look for past projects, relevant experience and clear communication.
A dream scenario would be finding a consulting company with a rich catalogue of successful projects similar to what you need.
Look for customer success stories, reviews (on websites like Clutch.co), case studies and other similar materials.
But that’s not all.
Don’t stop when you find a bunch of good reviews about a company. In many cases, consultancies pay for this great PR.
If you’re interested in a project, ask the consulting company more questions about it. For example, ask why they choose technology X over technology Y. They should have no problems walking you through their thought process.
This brings me to my next point.
Look for quick, clear and concise communication from the start. Don’t settle for companies that:
- Take forever to reply to a simple email
- Overcomplicate their solutions
Waiting for weeks to get an answer to a simple question isn’t acceptable. Companies that know how to communicate with their clients always find the time to send out a quick email and keep you updated.
Also, if you’re choosing between consultancies, you’re probably looking to solve a specific problem. A consultancy that can’t give you a straight answer on how they can solve the problem isn’t the right fit.
I can’t stress this enough – if they do a poor job of communicating with you during the sales process, you have no reason to think they’ll be any different once the project starts.
Finally (and this is just common sense), always compare offers from different vendors.
There’s not a lot more to say here. Get multiple offers from various vendors. Compare their solutions, relevant past experience and communication skills.
And that’s about it.
I know choosing a cloud consulting company to work with can be a pain.
It takes time, effort and, most of all – patience.
Most companies out there only care about making a few bucks without any regard for you as a customer. That’s why it’s your job to find the good ones that are actually worth hiring.
Follow the steps outlined above and you should be on the right track.
Finally, if you’re a startup in need of AWS or DevOps advice, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.