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Meet the 5 Types of Cloud Services Buyers

By March 30, 2018Article

ISG advisors directly work or interact with enterprise clients every day. Our experience shows buyers of services, such as public cloud, are getting more diverse in both their expected outcomes and their service provider requirements. This creates an ecosystem of buyer archetypes that helps define the market’s service opportunities and future direction.  Hypothetical predictions of where the market is trending are valuable for both service providers and buyers but understanding actual buying behavior is critical. This knowledge enables providers to create and deliver more commonly consumed client solutions.

ISG Research published the ISG Provider Lens™ 2017 Public Cloud Services Archetype report in January 2018 (click here to read the executive summary). Identified within are five archetypes associated with buying public cloud services. There is a significant gap between the “Traditional” buyer still seeking consulting services and possessing an ultra-conservative stance on the world of public cloud compared with the “Next-Gen” buyer that has a “born-in-the cloud” mentality and seeks to leverage cloud services to generate revenue and growth. ISG defines the five archetypes as follows:  

  1. The Traditional Archetype: This buyer hasn’t accepted cloud as material to its computing needs. However, is open to learning more and assessing its computing environment strategy.
  2. The Deliberate Archetype: A cautious and deliberate outlook about moving to the cloud marks this buyer. They want to demonstrate to their stakeholders that they are being proactive in pursuing cloud solutions.
  3. The Pragmatic Archetype: The prudent use of cloud resources to gain agility, flexibility and cost optimization is the goal here – with emphasis on short time-to-value opportunities, especially for cost savings.
  4. The Transformative Archetype: A long-term view of the environment is taken here and legacy infrastructure and applications aren’t force to “fit” in the cloud if there is no strategic value.
  5. The Next-Gen Archetype: The Next-Gen buyer is an early adopter of cloud, taking a “Cloud First” approach. They are not encumbered by the requirements of legacy operations. These clients consider IT as a change agent.

Each of these buyer archetypes seeks to answer this question: What is the maturity level of the client in relation to their transformation to a public cloud environment? Each buyer archetype defines the typical characteristics of a specific buyer that is looking to outsource one or more processes or functions to the public cloud. Irrespective of the archetype or combination of archetypes, IT leaders must apply a set of high-level evaluation questions:

  1. Does the application meet the business need?  Whether the application is acquired from an external provider, a modified version of a legacy application or a new application, its primary goal should be to meet the needs of the business
  2. How long will it take to modify an existing application? The timeframe must be consistent with the business plan timeline to exploit the market opportunity.
  3. How can security and compliance be ensured? Security is essential to the success of cloud providers and they have invested in highly skilled security personnel and infrastructure.
  4. What is the total cost of ownership (TCO)?  A full TCO analysis includes the cost of power and facility, hardware upgrades, network/bandwidth, service integration, data integration, application development and modifications, operational support, monitoring and reporting, and training.

As a client moves up the continuum (Pragmatic, Transformative and Next-Gen archetypes), the requirements advance to a higher order of consulting services such as transformation and migration and management of the cloud services. An ideal provider will assist a client through all these phases, making certain the value of cloud (i.e., cost control, agility, and flexibility) is fully realized.


Jan Erik Aase is research director and Dave Goodman is director at ISG. Click here to read the executive summary of the report

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