Managing suppliers is an essential part of business whether you’re a greengrocer or an ISP. The same can be said for updating equipment and services – the most successful businesses are agile, move with the times and aren’t adverse to change.

Of course, being in a position to shake things up a little if a particular supplier fails to deliver to the best of its ability is also key. But there is one common factor halting this crucial process of change… the hassle factor.

If you find yourself in the position of wanting to change data centre providers, migrate your servers off-site or update hardware, it isn’t just the paperwork that can be a headache, but protecting the integrity of your data, too.

For starters, you’ll probably end up with about six different contacts – all of whom deal with a separate issue. There’s the company which provides the hardware, the incumbent data centre, the new cloud provider… The list goes on and on depending on the complexity of the switch-over.

Essentially, this is well beyond the realm of how most IT managers want to spend their time. Making the decision to move the dusty old server out of the back room and into a secure space is definitely an IT manager’s remit. But project managing the whole process? Hassle.

There’s no doubt that businesses are insatiably data hungry these days – so it makes sense to put your storage needs in the hands of experts, who can scale up or down to mirror the peaks and troughs of your business. But while most IT directors know this is the most effective solution – many can’t justify the hassle and expense of managing such a seemingly daunting project.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just hand over the responsibility to one team, at one company, and be issued with just one invoice?

It sounds like the ideal solution – which is why the more savvy cloud and hosting providers are switching their focus away from products and on to services. By making themselves the primary provider and taking on the management of partners and logistics, migrating servers and switching services becomes a much more attractive proposition.

A major issue that needs to be addressed during migration is downtime. With an increasing number of companies operating in a 24/7 global market, downtime simply isn’t an option. With one provider pulling the strings, taking downtime to a minimum is much more feasible – especially if they offer an out-of-hours service or even operate on a bank holiday.

An off-site ‘safe pair of hands’ is also crucial. Imagine handing over your business’s most precious asset – its data – as part of a process you didn’t really feel you had a handle on? The darker realms of the Internet are awash with auction sites willing to sell identities and bank details to the highest bidder. Data protection is a very real concern – and the consequences of it falling into the wrong hands could be catastrophic.

This is where that focus on service comes in. If customers trust their provider to manage a process entirely from A to B, it makes the whole project easier for all involved. Brave IT managers have to make bold decisions in order to push their businesses to the next level, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a good safety net, too.

With hardware which once cost thousands now getting higher in spec but lower in cost, it’s no wonder that customers are demanding more than just products. Those cloud providers that place an emphasis on their customers’ needs, rather than their own, will rise to the top. If that means taking on some extra hassle then so be it. It’s a nice hassle to have.