If you are a CIO, CFO or CEO of a company with revenues between $10 Million and $99 Million per year, then you are most likely asking this question*.  The top reasons you’re asking this question are a desire to reduce Cap-ex on hardware and other systems, cut costs in general, add new capabilities not available with alternative methods, simplify and speed up implementation of business processes, reduce operational complexity and enable self-service.  And you’re trying to do this by transitioning from conventional software licensing to a pay-as-you-go model.

Sound familiar? Read on. The next thing you are doing is morphing your IT organization.  In fact, if you are a typical company in this category you are changing the role of the Chief Information Officer to that of a Chief Innovator or even a Business Innovation Officer.  This allows your company to shed the chains of traditional IT and produce an organization focused on your core business.  And you’re looking for the Cloud to assist you in this innovation.

Companies with this mindset are adopting a different model for growing and sustaining their business as well.  The top elements of the cloud you’d likely take advantage of include a pay-as-you-go (usually monthly subscription) stack of applications and the means to securely access and store the associated data generated from these applications.  A prerequisite is that you are no longer required to locally install and maintain this stack of applications on your PC, Laptop or Mobile device.  The applications include Enterprise Grade Email, ERP, CRM, Sales Management and Business Productivity.

In order to insure your business is viable, secure and sustainable, you are demanding that there be an Enterprise Grade Disaster Recovery model, back up for all of your data and business continuity will be insured for all corporate and remote locations in the event of a catastrophic IT failure.

Last and most important, you will need to see a simple model for the cost of doing all of this on a monthly basis, the ROI for the service, guarantees of business liquidity and a full data migration assurance in the event you have to move to another Cloud Service Provider. You would prefer not to break any of these services up but instead to receive a comprehensive/consolidated support contract with varying degrees of support/value (i.e. Working days/hours vs. 24 x 7 Global).

Finally, you would like to consider your Cloud Service Provider a partner and not a distant utility company with off-shore support.  You want to know the CEO of the Cloud Service Provider by name and have a relationship with him/her to insure they understand that they are an extension of your organization.  You would like for your Cloud Service Provider to keep you abreast of IT trends, technology advancements and provide a yearly (or more frequent) assessment of your company’s ongoing ROI for the services.

Where do you find all of this?  Glad you asked.  Here is the link.  Once you get there, click on Hosting Providers.

* According to a recent survey done by CompTIA*, over 66% of firms in this revenue category are involved in one way or another with the Cloud. Source: Wall Street Journal – Tuesday, December 07, 2010.