When Should You Call CloudFit?
Customers know that we were blessed to have helped build and run the cloud at Microsoft. Customers know that we consulted with the world’s largest enterprises about how to use and operate the cloud, including Azure and Office 365, while at Microsoft. Customers know that we have amazingly talented people who have ridiculous industry experiences on their resumes. So naturally, customers ask us if we only target the world’s largest enterprises as our customer base. We are delighted to tell them that we have customers ranging from 11 employees to 200,000 employees. We are not a fit for everyone, but we are a fit for some. The size of the customer has nothing to do with it.
We do not sell consulting. We do not sell software. We are a managed scenario company.
What are managed scenarios? Let’s take it out of IT. Imagine you manage a fleet of taxicabs. You have spare tires, oil filters and spark plugs. Your mechanics are trained to support the cars that you have. Imagine that a salesman for a self-driving car comes calling. You love the idea of the self-driving car, but it isn’t as simple as just plugging it in. You would need to stock the parts, you would need to train your people, you would need to integrate the new and old cars into your business workflows. Managed Scenarios help you fast forward and start using the new car. Is it the management of tires that would hold you back? Managed Scenario. Is it the management of transmissions that would hold you back? Managed Scenario. Would you want me to just handle the new cars totally for you? Managed Scenario. Think of your existing IT portfolio as the fleet of taxis. Think of the cloud as the new, self-driving car. What are the things that are holding you back? Managed Scenarios allow you to fast forward. CloudFit is a managed scenario company. We are the first. We know that others will follow and we encourage it. In fact, we are working with other companies to white label our approach and our Velocity Software platform. Our aim is to be the glue that enables the cloud to be used just like standards enabled electricity to move from Franklin’s kite to your smartphone. The planet is a big place. We cannot do it alone.
Here are five questions to ask to determine if you should call CloudFit for help:
1) Are you trying to figure out how to use technology to advance your business?
We love putting our experienced experts on whiteboards with customer executives. We frequently lead offsites for customer executive teams to focus on digital transformation, cloud operations, devops and ops integration, and many other topics. We did these sessions while we were at Microsoft, and we still do them for large enterprises at Microsoft’s request. And we engage with customers directly all of the time too. Are you a global bank considering Azure and Office 365? We’ve been there. Are you an 10 person Chamber of Commerce who knows our CTO? We’ve been there. If you want to get on the whiteboard and ideate with our team, we would love it. These sessions are fun for our experts, so we always say “yes”. Even though we are not a consulting company, we love letting customers borrow our experts for these discussions.
2) Are you trying to determine a strategy for the cloud?
In this scenario, we like to spend a little bit more time with the customer. The discussions always have the following elements: what are you doing today on-premise and in the cloud, what do you think you want to do tomorrow in the cloud, here’s what our experience says about customers like you, and given all of that, let’s spend time iterating a plan on the whiteboard together. We love spending time with customers over a couple of week duration to wallow in that strategy with their key players. Global manufacturing conglomerate? We’ve done it. Small property owners’ association? We’ve done that too. As with business ideation, this scenario is fun for our experts, so we say “yes”. Again, we are not a consultancy, but customers tell us that they prefer that we are not a consultancy. Our experts have real experience, not just “book experience”. That’s why the most critical role at CloudFit is our “Personal Trainer” role. They aren’t trainers and they aren’t consultants. They are experienced experts who have built and run cloud services at scale. Nutrition professors discuss theory. Personal Trainers know about nutrition and can help you change your life. That’s why we have a role called “CloudFit Personal Trainer”.
3) Are you trying to move something to the cloud?
There are thousands of commodity companies who move content and applications to the cloud. CloudFit is not one of those companies. However, we often get asked to move customer content and applications to the cloud nonetheless. There may be more expensive options out there. There may be cheaper options out there. We are not chasing that business. But when a customer asks us to help them move something to the cloud, when Microsoft asks us to move a customer to the cloud, and when one of the customers that we’ve done strategy work for asks us to move them to the cloud, we often say “yes”. We are not a consultancy, but our customers trust us, and they often ask us to move them to the cloud. Are you a 200k user hospitality company? We’ve done it. Are you a 200 user food manufacturing company? We’ve done that too.
4) Do you have an application that you need to re-imagine and modernize, or do you have an idea for an application?
Customers often ask us to re-imagine and modernize their applications. Other companies have asked us to build an app from their ideas. Other startups have asked us to be their product group. We do all of that. We do not agree to build every app, but we do agree to build those that excite us. We usually agree to build the apps that we’ll maintain accountability for. We don’t really like building apps and then handing them over to the customers’ IT organization to stagnate. We like to build and deploy applications and then we stick around to own the application. If it breaks, we own it. If it needs updating, we own it. If the customer wants weekly sprints with new features, we own it. Are you a branch of the military who needs a custom application? We’ve done that. Are you a startup training, consulting and SaaS company who needs a product group? We’ve done that. We are not a development body shop. We are not a custom software development company. We are a managed scenario company. If you have business requirements that you’d like for someone to deliver to you as SaaS, we would love to help.
5) Are you currently using the cloud?
If you are currently using the cloud, do you know when your application is impacted? Do you know when your users are impacted? Do you know what your app is capable of performance-wise? Here’s an example. A global company need a super-duper business intelligence solution. They went to Microsoft for help and Microsoft helped them envision the solution using Azure. Microsoft recommended an awesome business intelligence partner to build the solution. The business intelligence partner signed up for a support contract. The customer did not want to stick their fancy, new, agile, mission-critical solution in their existing IT organization as a distraction to IT and as a possible inhibitor to agility. The customer asked Microsoft “who can take accountability for our service—own it, call the partner when they need to call the partner, call Microsoft when they need to call Microsoft, call the ISV when they need to call the ISV, etc?” Microsoft called CloudFit. We now own that and several other services for that customer. Global retailer? We’ve done it. Small-city municipality with 900 users? We’ve done it.
We get asked sometimes why we are willing to work with smaller customers who need our help. We love to answer that question. Our answer is “they need our help.” The size of the customer does not determine the customer’s need. Most service providers that serve big enterprises do not work with small companies because small companies typically have smaller budgets. We want to feed our families, of course, but the size of a customer’s budget will never determine whether CloudFit is willing to help a customer.
Customers ask us what makes us different. We could say our uniqueness comes from our Velocity Software platform because it lets us deliver slivers of managed services that nobody else in the industry can do—at least not yet. We could say that our uniqueness comes from our great people and their experience. We could say that our uniqueness comes from our amazing customer base including Microsoft Product Groups. But none of those are our answer. Two things make us different: servant leadership and extreme accountability.
In our world, servant leadership means that we are here to serve our customers. We are not here to sell them. If a one-hour conversation with one of our experts helps a customer, that’s great. If a million-dollar contract helps a customer, that’s fine too. There are millions of businesses that need our help, so we don’t have to sell you anything to be successful. We are here to serve you.
Extreme accountability is our other differentiator. If we say we will do something, we will do it. We will not oversell you. We will not bait-and-switch you. We are accountable. We will give you our CTO’s cell phone number, and we can do that at scale because we believe that you will never have to call it. You are welcome to call it, but you will not have to. Accountability is so rare in every industry. When was the last time that they got your order right at the drive thru? Accountability is even more rare in IT. Walk the halls and ask people in IT who is the one person that is accountable for your ability to use your favorite application. They probably won’t be able to give you a name, and if they do, it will be the name of the CIO. We aim to fix that. If CloudFit signs up for something, we will deliver it. And if we need to, we will say “no” to work. It is unfortunate, but that sort of integrity is seemingly rare in our industry. We aim to change that.
So, when people ask us why we are willing to work with smaller customers alongside our enormous customers, the answer should be clear. “They need our help.”