Years ago, there was a saying “You can’t be fired for selecting IBM.” In today’s competitive business environment, selecting a cloud provider is a critical strategic decision. This article explores some of the areas to focus on as you embark down the cloud evaluation and selection road.

A CIO colleague of mine once said, “I’m going the safe route and placing all my eggs in the Amazon basket.” It wasn’t until months later he discovered he was paying four times what he should be because he bought the complete five-course dinner versus à la carte services for what he needed. Live and learn. That said, Amazon is the world leader in cloud solutions and provides exceptional services.

Listed below are eight keys areas to consider when selecting a cloud provider.

Have well-defined business objectives

You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint. Eighty percent of the work in moving to the cloud is defining your objectives and obtaining a consensus from the senior management team you have that sewed up. This is the most important and challenging process. Miss this strategic step and the rest is a recipe for failure. As you discuss these requirements with various providers, ensure they understand what your goals are and can converse at your level in terms of objectives. Remember, you’re selecting a partner. This is particularly true if you are in a vertical market such as finance or health care.