Cloud is a Cultural Choice

As cloud providers continue to compete on price and service offerings, many organizations are also assessing potential providers for culture fit.

Evaluating prospective vendors for culture fit has become an important part of the technology purchasing process for organizations seeking products as a service. An organization’s culture, vision, and mission provide the guardrails and direction in which their innovation takes place. Unhealthy culture is the forestaller of innovation.

Why talk about culture?

As you make the move to the cloud, your organization will encounter a cultural transformation as well as a digital one. Choosing the right provider is not only critical to the success of your technology project, but also to the development of a culture that can support organization-wide digital transformation.

Use of Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is an example of this transformation. IaC accelerates your journey to the cloud and is considered a necessity. Using IaC also breaks down static barriers that you may have in IT methodologies such as ITIL. This forces your organization to be more agile and requires a culture change to support.

"No matter the innovative potential of your organization’s technology teams, they will be forever hindered if the underlying systems are developed and supported by a company whose culture clashes with, or does not support, your own."

Why is a cloud provider culture evaluation needed?

In a traditional on-premises datacenter model, hardware and perpetual software licenses were capital expenditures for the specific models and versions available at the time of sale. These types of purchases are investments in the current state of the hardware and software purchased.

In the world of infrastructure, platform, and software as a service, technology assets have transformed into operating expenditures. This is an important differentiation because the money spent on cloud services is an investment in the future of those services.

No matter the innovative potential of your organization’s technology teams, they will be forever hindered if the underlying systems are developed and supported by a company whose culture clashes with, or does not support, your own.

Mission Statements

Begin with the provider’s Mission Statement to understand their culture. Below are the parent company’s mission statements for the big three cloud providers.

Microsoft: "Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more."

Microsoft has focused on the mission of making people and organizations more productive from the beginning. From the release of SharePoint and Exchange, to the democratization of the intelligent cloud, Microsoft is on a journey to deliver the resources necessary to make achieving the impossible, probable.

Google: "Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful."

Google started as a data company, delivering a cutting-edge search platform to the public. That mission and the culture they became famous for endures until this day. Modern businesses are data-driven. Google is delivering a data-centric cloud to meet the demands of data-driven businesses.

Amazon: "…to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online…"

Customer obsession is the bedrock that Amazon built its business on. They have innovated because of their customer obsessed, instead of market obsessed, focus.

Ask the Questions

Ask questions about the provider's culture and processes. Ask about how problem tickets, critical incidents, and feature requests get handled. Ask about their implementations of DevOps and Agile methodologies.

Ask for case studies of other organizations using their services. Do you find organizations with similar cultures and business models using that service provider? What were their successes and challenges?

Ask for references from the provider and speak to those references. Ask the references about the culture of the provider.


There are countless models and resources for determining Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for each of the major cloud providers. Beyond TCO and service offerings, a critical need exists to evaluate each prospective cloud provider for culture fit. The cloud provider(s) that you choose will be an integral part of your organization’s digital transformation.

Submitted by Matthew Park,Cloud Architect at Cloudreach

  • aws
  • gcp
  • microsoft-azure