I've done a couple of webinars lately for VAR's and Agents about the Cloud. I think that between SAAS and Cloud, vendors are forgetting that they are selling applications.
I think the disconnect right now is that Agents aren't comfortable selling apps. They aren't comfortable with many of the SAAS Providers.
Here's the scenario: Agents sell telecom services for licensed companies, most of whom are public. And all agents have heard or know someone who was burned on commissions from companies they know. So now imagine we go into this nebulous thing called Cloud or SAAS, where some company says, "Hey, Go sell my Apps to your base!" The company is unknown, unlicensed and private. You have no idea what to look for; what to ask; what to expect; and in some cases how you are going to sell it.
At least the Conferencing companies (Conferencing is Software-as-a-Service and Voice-as-a-Service) like Intercall and RollCall have been around a long time. SalesForce too for that matter. But others? Not so much. Unknown entitiy.
So how do you choose a Cloud Provider to be a vendor?
Really the questions are the same for a Hosted UC company as it is for Cloud provider or SAAS company.
- You want to know something about the financials. How many paying customers do they have? Can any be used as reference accounts?
- Do they test their software regularly? Do they use an outside audit firm?
- What does their redundancy look like? What does the data backup system look like? What does the Disaster Recovery scenario look like?
- Are they using SAS 70 data centers or are they seeking or ISO 27001 certification?
- How do they fix problems? If they say there are none, that's a red flag.
- What does the SLA cover? What's the procedure for SLA's?
- See if you can talk with any customers that require compliance such as HIPAA or PCI.
- Use your best judgement.