Plan your cloud exit from the start: Takeaways from the users-only Beltug workshop of 21 November 2018


Cloud is supposed to offer us more flexibility, but do our cloud contracts? What happens when we want to end our cloud contract, whether to change provider or go back to on-premise? What guarantees do we have about retrieving our data, what costs will we face, how long will the transfer take …?  These are just a few of the questions organisations face.


This workshop kicked off a discussion on how Beltug can help our members with these challenges. Our vision is to develop either a checklist or a paper with recommendations (depending on the needs). Our members’ input and ideas are essential!



Moving to the cloud? Plan your exit now!


Nele Vanderheijden, Contract, Software, Asset & Configuration Manager and Marc Vandenborne, Contract & Licence Management at Fluvius set the scene for the +-20 participants, in what became a highly interactive session.


Nele explained the importance of a strong link between the IT service management team and their colleagues from procurement, to manage the tasks of negotiating, implementing, following up and, eventually, exiting, the contracts.


Marc shared that the experience Fluvius has built - and especially in outsourcing contracts - often came from bad experiences: lack of pro-active cooperation from the cloud provider, high exit costs, etc. Now, several elements are included in the outsourcing contracts to avoid surprises and improve the relationship:


  • Exit file as a service
  • Obligation to co-operate


But negotiating a fixed price and providing a solid scope in the exit strategy remain challenges.


Fluvius finds that software contracts often include annoying lock-in clauses: either no partial exit is possible ('all or nothing'), or a partial exit is only possible under the vendor’s conditions.


When it comes to public cloud, the relationship between vendor and client is very unbalanced, Marc explained.  There are too many unknowns:


  • Compatibility with other cloud providers
  • Unknown cost drivers
  • Uncertainty about co-operation and exit services.


"Cloud is not cloud", Marc concluded, “When it comes to exit, it's fog!”


He emphasised as well the need to pay attention to copyrights and the royalty laws. There are different legal opinions: whether your data remains your data, or you only own the copyrights of the data in the cloud.  And when you exit, retrieving your data is not good enough - you also have to make sure the cloud provider deletes the data.  These are both principles you have to include from the start of your contract.


So when preparing for a cloud contract, make sure your exit is on the agenda from the start.  As sales teams are often not prepared for this conversation (and even avoid it), and as cloud contracts are often changed without prior consent, this needs to be a point of attention from the beginning.


With these concerns and recommendations, the conversation was opened to the audience and we began investigating how Beltug can play a role and help companies with these challenges.












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