Seven Questions To Ask When Choosing A Cloud Platform

Erica Lailhacar

The cloud is now the must-have technology for every business. Initially the driving force behind smaller disruptive companies, it’s now established as the foundation for digital transformation even in the largest enterprises. For independent software vendors (ISVs), this has opened up a world of opportunities to develop new digital applications, modernize existing applications, and leverage intelligent technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

But how do you choose the right cloud development platform? What should you look for in a vendor – and what should you avoid? IDC conducted an SAP-sponsored study involving a series of in-depth interviews with 12 ISVs that are SAP partners located around the world. As part of the study, IDC asked these partners which critical factors they considered in selecting a cloud platform provider. In the fourth of a series of blogs based on their responses, we highlight seven important business and technical questions that you should consider when making your choice.

1. Does the platform have widespread adoption opportunities so it can be a source of demand for my offerings?

To optimize business growth opportunities, ISVs should choose an established cloud platform provider that offers a solid base for building and hosting their customer solutions. A key consideration is the size and strength of the provider’s universe of customers who are in the market for the deployment platform and the solutions being developed for it – both by the platform provider itself and its other ISV partners. The bigger this ecosystem, the greater the potential customer momentum will be behind your current and future applications.

2. Does the platform have the necessary technical foundation for me to build my solutions?

Whether a company is developing new applications or extending existing cloud or on-premises solutions, the integrity of its software depends on the technical foundation provided by the underlying platform. Technical factors like scalability, security, availability, and openness are therefore critical.

Wherever it’s hosted, the selected platform needs to offer:

  • Built-in development, application lifecycle, and DevOps tools
  • Easy access with no privacy concerns for end customers and developers
  • The ability to meet region- and country-specific legal requirements for data storage

 3. Does the platform provide access to advanced technologies I can build into my solutions?

As the pace of innovation quickens, speed and agility are essential for ISVs to stay relevant and compete effectively. A good cloud platform provider will offer advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, predictive analytics, blockchain, and IoT resources built into the platform, along with APIs to make their consumption easier.

 4. Does the vendor have a strong partner program that enables access to technical and business resources?

Getting the most out of any platform requires easy access to technical resources that provide training, answer implementation questions, and address a variety of other needs during the development process. The platform provider should also support developing a business strategy, provide exposure to potential customers, and offer the opportunity to participate in joint go-to-market and business development activities.

 5. Do the pricing and licensing policies give me the flexibility to structure deals that suit my business model?

Transparent and predictable platform pricing and licensing policies are essential. Besides making it attractive for ISVs to use the platform in the first place, uniform pricing enables maintaining competitive customer prices and acceptable margins while providing the flexibility needed to close deals.

 6. Will I get go-to-market support that facilitates my entry into the market and my selling proposition after I’ve entered?

Cloud platform vendors have a vested interest in the success of ISVs who develop on their platform, as it helps them sell more licenses. In return, it’s reasonable for ISVs to expect the vendor to use its market influence to help partners establish a presence in the market when introducing an application built on that platform. The vendor’s global strength and reputation are therefore key, and go-to-market support typically includes an application marketplace offering customer exposure to ISV partner solutions.

7. What kind of help will I receive in making potential customers aware of my offering?

Getting visibility for their product in a massively crowded market is the biggest challenge for an ISV. Look for a platform provider that offers an established application marketplace that promotes your product and makes it easy for potential customers to find and try it.

So that’s what a cross-section of ISV partners with SAP think. How do your prospective cloud platform providers stack up? In the next blog, we’ll wrap up the series with a closer look at the business and technical benefits of SAP Cloud Platform and how the “Build” engagement model of the SAP PartnerEdge program is helping ISVs market and sell the solutions they’ve developed on the platform. “We’re lucky we got involved with SAP Cloud Platform when we did,” said Dan McNamara, founder and CEO of Keytree, in his IDC interview. “They have built an amazing cloud platform. Every few months, they are delivering impressive features we can use … we’re impressed by the maturity of the platform, and the features they roll out are well baked.”

To find out more, download “Partner Success with SAP Cloud Platform: Building for the Intelligent Enterprise,” an IDC e-book sponsored by SAP.

Erica Lailhacar

About Erica Lailhacar

Erica Lailhacar is analytics go-to-market strategy lead for SAP Global Channels and Platform.