How Do You Compare

If you don’t live and breathe “hosting” or “SPLA pricing” everyday, it is a difficult and daunting task to compare various hosting quotes. I thought I would share some tips and “traps” that will help you and your prospects through this process.First, don’t get sucked in by the provider with the lowest price! After you look carefully line item by line item you will quickly realize that you are going to be charged for every little component which will quickly add up. Here are some examples:1. Are you being charged extra for Microsoft Office (Word and Excel) which are really necessary to run Dynamics properly these days. The quote that I saw was charging an extra $30 per user/ per month.2. Are you being charged extra for storage? Each hosting provider should be offering you some amount of storage as part of their monthly fee. Find out how much!!! And find out how much you will be charged for storage after you reach the allotted amount.3. Make sure you have the ability to email or PDF out of the Dynamics system. Many providers charge an extra amount for Adobe or another PDF writer.4. Find out how you will be accessing your Dynamics data. Is your provider using Terminal Services, Citrix or VPN. Also make sure you can access your data from anywhere!!! I am amazed at how sometimes providers only allow you to access the data from your office – I mean really, what’s the point of using a hosting provider that doesn’t allow you to access your data from anywhere!!!5. Drill down on what the setup fees cover. This too can vary from provider to provider. Does it include the ENTIRE application including the latest Service Packs? Who is responsible for installing the ISV solutions? The consulting group or the hosting group. Do you get a test company, or the just Fabrikam? Does it include all the SSRS and Excel based reports??6. If custom development work is being provided as part of your solution, where is that development environment being deployed? Will you have to pay extra for a server?7. Will you be charged extra for web services??? I have found that most hosting providers don’t even know how to address this.8. How will the upgrade work and who is responsible for doing it? Some providers build that into their monthly fee, others don’t cover it at all. Your customer needs to clearly understand the difference.9. Where is your application actually being deployed? On a virtual image or on a shared box? How is the CPU and RAM being managed? Find out the specifications of the box that your database is being deployed on. Also find out where the client is being deployed and the CPU allotted to each. There is a big difference between a virtual image, a shared SQL box and a dedicated box. Make sure you understand what you are getting.10. Finally, what happens after your contract term is over, or if you want to bring the solution “on-premise”. What is the maximum amount of price increase that is allowed after the term of the contract? (Are you getting a great price in the first year, but it goes way up come year two?) And if you decide to bring the solution “on-premise”, find out what the format is that your data will be given to you, and how transferable it is to a new system. But most importantly find out the price for that NOW!!So to summarize; what was originally a $195 per user/ per month quote, turned out to be more like $399 a user per month after you add in all the required elements!!!.

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