How to Write and Evaluate a Microsoft Azure Cloud Tender

by | May 4, 2021 | Blog

If your organisation is planning a cloud migration, your first step will likely be to initiate a search for an Azure Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) through your internal procurement processes. Generally speaking, it is procurement that aligns on the selection criteria that will be used to evaluate tender responses (though often, they’ll do so with the input of the IT department).

If you’re in the position of needing to establish selection criteria (or support a procurement worker in doing so), this guide will help you develop a set of criteria you can use to score the bids presented by potential providers. Evaluate the criteria below to ensure they’re relevant to your organisation, and add others that will provide more detailed guidance around your specific requirements.

Would you like a downloadable copy? Click here for a PDF version of the Microsoft Azure Cloud Tender Criteria.

Microsoft Azure Cloud Tender Criteria

Using the following criteria as a guide to writing and evaluating your next Microsoft Azure Cloud Tender will help you arrive at an objective decision regarding the best provider for your needs. Update or change these criteria to suit the specific needs of your organisation.

Technical Capacity

CapabilityHow to Evaluate a Response
CSP’s age, size and locationAre they newly established, or do they have a proven track record in the industry? Are they a local business, should you ever need on-site support?
CSP’s primary technical focusIs the respondent a specialist or a generalist?
Do they support multiple cloud providers ?
Microsoft Partner statusIs the response from a Microsoft Gold Partner? If so, do they hold any Advanced Specialisations? What tier CSP are they?
Years of experience with this technical focusHow long have they been working with Azure, and what segment of the market are they focused on?
Average customer size
Notable customersIf a CSP provides reference customers or case studies, are they from similar-size organisations in your industry? Did they solve similar problems to the ones you’re trying to hire out?
Evidence of customer satisfaction
Active insurance policiesDo they meet your organisation’s requirements?
Relevant certifications (ex: ISO27001)Do they meet your organisation’s requirements (or do they hold certifications that your organisation wishes to achieve)?

Architecture Services

CapabilityHow to Evaluate a Response
Have proven experience with cloud migrationsDoes the response provide detail on the execution of similar migrations? Does the experience appear to align with your organisation’s migration objectives (e.g. Lift-and-Shift, Modernise, Repurchase)?
Does the CSP appear to have experience handling similar migration scopes (number of servers, types of applications, criticality of services)?
Assist with the planning of new Azure Cloud-based projectsHow does the respondent support small projects or proof-of-concept activities? Does this support exist before and after the migration?
Offer guidance on Microsoft Azure licensing and technologies, including fitness for purpose and client readinessCan the respondent provide strategic guidance on licensing, taking into consideration licensing you may already have in place? How current is their knowledge of Microsoft SKUs?
Work with organisation’s contracted providers (e.g. software developers or specialist application support) to develop specifications for Azure resources to deliver web appsHow effectively will the CSP work with other stakeholders on the project to ensure appropriate outcomes?
Provide advice on securing Azure resources from malicious accessDo they have a detailed understanding of Information Security Management Systems and Standards (ISO)? Do they work with industry frameworks like CIS, NIST or CSPS? Have they implemented or managed environments with cloud security policies?
Assist with hybrid networking between on-premise networks and AzureIf your project will require hybrid networking, has the respondent successfully navigated these types of projects before?
Provide necessary redundancy in all work to ensure no single point of failureHow does the CSP protect migrations through testing, backups and other mechanisms to meet up-time promises?

Infrastructure Monitoring

CapabilityHow to Evaluate a Response
Regular assessments of provisioned workloads and utilisationDoes the respondent’s proposal provide for ongoing workload optimisation to manage costs?
Recommendations for optimising provisioned capacity to achieve cost savings
Scale settings in response to peak and non-peak system useHow will the respondent optimise for demand on an ongoing basis?
Monitor to ensure any new virtual machines created have backup protection
Monitor backups, as well as provide advice on backup failures
Monitor resource consumption and escalate to ICT if/when unusual spending occursIf costs escalate unexpectedly, will the mechanisms put in place by the respondent notify you proactively to resolve the situation quickly?
Support existing disaster recovery and business continuity technology and practicesDoes the respondent’s proposal incorporate backup and DR best practices?

Professional Support

CapabilityHow to Evaluate a Response
An easy-to-access method for submitting and status checking of support requestsAn easily navigable support request system ensures important details aren’t missed so that critical issues can be addressed.
AU-based customer support (on-site or off-site)Do you expect to need on-site support? If so, prioritise those applicants with local facilities. Even if on-site support will not be required, having access to AU-based off-site teams may improve the ease and efficiency of communications and collaboration.
Dedicated business hours support by email, phone and/or service deskHow confident are you that the support channels provided by the CSP will enable you to quickly get assistance in the event of an issue? Are multiple channels of support made available, along with mechanisms for escalating high-priority issues?
A documented after-hours process for high priority incidents
Remote support for Azure resources, such as the creation of resources, troubleshooting problem resources and/or reconfiguring resources
Service level agreements (SLAs) with defined response times, escalation procedures and contactsWith reputable CSPs, you can expect to receive an SLA response timetable, as well as an SLA matrix for classifying the priority of tickets. Evaluate the costs you may incur based on past service requirements in other engagements.
Access to Microsoft Advanced Support for PartnersYour CSP’s Partner status should ensure you’re able to access higher support tiers.
Immediate notification if a security breach is detected and verifiedEnsure the CSP’s proposal offers guidance on the steps to be taken in the unlikely event of a security breach.

Billing & Reporting

CapabilityHow to Evaluate a Response
Provide a web portal for billingMicrosoft billing can be complex. Does the CSP make consumption data accessible to the organisation in an easily-understandable, self-service fashion?
Provide billing estimation and cost analysis
Provide regular service delivery reporting summarising support tickets, operational issues and enhancement requests in a given periodWhat type of reporting does the organisation intend to provide? Oversight into activities completed ensures better outcomes for both the respondent and your business.

Value-Add and Innovation Services

CapabilityHow to Evaluate a Response
Provide additional value-added and innovation services, including blogs, emailed newsletters, regular phone check ins, webinars or eventsWhat else is included in the respondent’s Cloud Solution Provider offering? What steps do they take to help educate clients on pressing cloud computing issues?
Guidance on emerging trends that may affect your business
Opportunities to connect with others in similar circumstancesWhat level of regular interaction can you expect from the respondent after a migration?

Would a further conversation on writing and evaluating a Microsoft Azure Cloud tender be helpful?

Whether you need assistance in understanding Microsoft terminology or capturing your specific requirements, the team of Cloud Specialists at Codify would be happy to help.

Contact us today for support.

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