15/10/2010

By Namuli Katumba, Head of Account Managementand Service at Ultraspeed

Ok, so you’ve been tasked with optimising your company’s online strategy, and you’ve got the developers, creatives, financials and marketing team on board. Everything seems to be falling in to place except that you also have to research in to the actual platform that this great new environment/portal/campaign is going to sit… You know this has something to do with hosting, probably you even know that this is something to do with managed hosting. But questions do still remain. How to differentiate between the multitudes of providers out there professing to be THE managed hosting provider for you? How to find something that is going to work for all the diverse people involved? How to find a provider that will fit with the overall company plan?

The common answer: Go with what you know or go with the provider everyone knows. A great answer if this provider answers and allays your concerns but just in case I’ve put together a few tips for ensuring that you are making the right immediate decision and the right long term decision for the ongoing success of your strategy and fulfillment of your long term business goals.

1. Know What You (Really, Really) Want

Go back to basics. Make sure that you have a good idea of what the company or your department would like to achieve from the end result of this project or online review. This doesn’t need to be a technical review but just the aims, as you and your business understand them. These aims could range simply from a desire to increase revenue, to make sure that your users can access your forum at any time of day or night, or to give responsive and fast game play. A good hosting provider will take these aims and produce tangible hosting solutions using their own products and service. They should also be able to explain them in a way that will immediately help you to see how they will work towards the successful attainment of your goals.

2. Right Time, Right Place, Right People

This works from both sides of the decision. From your perspective, you may have the right tools to research and whittle down a list of hosting companies that fit the bill, but do you have the appropriate technical knowledge to make the final decision on the best hosting company for your specific needs? Making sure that you have the right resources i.e. people to hand to fully test drive your potential hosting partner is important in ensuring that the relationship is fruitful in the long run. Any potential hosting partner should ensure that they are speaking to the appropriate people who will be working close to the solution once it is implemented; that those people feel comfortable with the technology, service provision and the people that they will be relying on to provide both.

3. Up Close and Personal

Conversely, that hosting company should also build relationships not just between the account manager and the main business contacts but also between the assigned engineers and the technical client contacts. The strengthening of relationships from the outset should enable great collaboration and communication throughout the account period. You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it… meet the people, find out about the company, get a warm, cosy feeling, but you shouldn’t feel that you are making important business decisions without all the facts (or kicking the tyres).

4. Setting Boundaries

Start looking for your ‘perfect’ partner early or at least thinking about what makes the perfect partner. Chances are there will be a lot of people involved with ideas about what they expect from and how they would like to work with any potential hosting providers. In the long run processes should run a lot smoother when everyone understands where their responsibilities and skill sets lie.

I’m not professing to be some sort of dating guru but whilst writing I realised that the 4 tips I’ve set out could also apply to personal relationships, hence the ‘Perfect Mate’ subtitle. Essentially, with any relationship you can trust your instincts but the more that you find out early on and the more that you find in common with your future goals and willingness to work towards them, hopefully, the longer the relationship will last. So good luck with your search for the perfect hosting solution and for those in search of the perfect partner, Happy Dating!


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