The New Year is a perfect time for IT departments to reflect on the past, consider the present, and plan for a better future. For many, that means gaining the benefits of the cloud and the transformative capabilities of software-defined data centers in 2020. \nThey won\u2019t be alone. Cloud adoption continues to accelerate as organizations look to the cloud for performance gains and ways to eliminate the headaches and costs associated with traditional, hardware-based data centers that can\u2019t keep up with the explosion of data and the expansion of networks occurring across industries.\nThe VMware Cloud Verified distinction was created to address these realities. Its purpose has always been to provide customers like Consilio and Homes.com with the assurance that they\u2019re working with a provider that possesses the know-how needed to deploy a high-performance, software-defined data center\u2013one that\u2019s able to deliver the capabilities enterprises need as a service using proven and trusted VMware technologies.\nFor the rapidly growing number of providers around the world that earned the VMware Cloud Verified distinction, 2019 was a remarkable year\u2014one in which clients from virtually every industry turned to them for the solutions and expertise required to excel in the cloud.\nWe looked to stalwarts in this prestigious group to uncover the Top Seven reasons it pays to be choosy when selecting a cloud provider. Resolve to keep these seven simple factors in mind to ensure that your cloud journey is a success this year.\n\nPeace of Mind: Using technology you know and trust is the first step toward peace of mind. For Mariola Skowro\u0144ska, co-owner of Ergonet, an IT services provider based in \u0141\u00f3d\u017a, Poland, that peace of mind begins with VMware. \u201cBeing VMware Cloud Verified enables us to deliver the interoperability and flexibility that fast-growing companies in Poland demand and provides them with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the services we offer from data centers right here in Poland are based on the best technology available,\u201d she says.\nScalability: The ability to easily scale IT infrastructure and systems is imperative as the pace of business continues to increase and demands additional networking, compute, and storage capabilities. Alexander Tugov, product visionary director at Selectel, an IT services company in Russia, believes scalability is crucial when looking at new technologies. Clients want that scalability, he notes, to economically support their adoption of technologies \u201csuch as artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things\u2013especially the Industrial Internet\u2013as well as augmented and virtual reality.\u201d\nSecurity and Data Protection: Data is the lifeblood of every enterprise. Losing it or seeing it compromised can have a disastrous impact. \u201cThe cloud is the answer, but enterprises remain rightfully cognizant that their data will no longer be kept on-premises, that security is of crucial importance, and that regulatory requirements must be addressed,\u201d says Josef Va\u0161ek, product manager, cloud solutions at O2 IT Services, a rapidly growing IT services company based in Prague. \u201cThat\u2019s why it\u2019s crucial that we not only deliver the expertise our customers need, but back it up with a network that\u2019s based on proven VMware technology they trust.\u201d\nAgility: In the the blink of an eye, business developments can call for greater computing resources. As Sudesh Shaw, vice president of cloud at Singapore-based Singtel, one of the world\u2019s largest telecommunications companies, explains, \u201cIf you take a step back and look at the big picture, cloud is really an enabler in the digital transformation now occurring as businesses work to be more agile in how they serve their customers, achieve savings, and operate more efficiently,\u201d he says. \u201cIn all cases, Singtel works to simplify its customers\u2019 cloud journeys by providing them with the new capabilities they need, the guidance required to utilize them with evolving legacy systems, and the flexibility to grow in the future.\u201d\nThe Full Stack: A high-performance, software-defined data center provides the networking, storage, and compute performance enterprises need to ensure that they always achieve compatibility and maintain choice and control. Sam V. Kumar, the founder and president of NewCloud, a cloud computing and communications provider based in Denver, puts it this way: \u201cMost of the businesses in the Fortune 2,000 and the segments we serve already rely on solutions from VMware, so it\u2019s important for them to know that we offer a full cloud stack based on VMware\u2019s technology and are highly skilled using its solutions.\u201d\nExpertise: Choosing a partner with industry-specific skills can be a game changer. Healthcare is a great example. \u201cThe healthcare IT landscape is highly complex and overwhelming for many institutions,\u201d says Scott Richert, the CTO of Mercy Technology Services, part of the Mercy Health System in the southwest U.S. \u201cWe help hospitals and other care providers take the risk and cost of out of their digital transformations and shorten their timelines by enabling them to take advantage of the trails we blazed. When you can find people who have been through what you\u2019re facing, and who wake up every morning and have to do the same things themselves, that\u2019s the golden ticket.\u201d\nGlobal and Local Strengths: Businesses need technologies such as those from VMware that are proven globally and backed with local experience. Data sovereignty is one example. \u201cAustralia has specific guidelines related to the consumption of cloud services by federal government agencies,\u201d says Brad Bastow, AUCloud\u2019s first CTO. \u201cAUCloud\u2019s services are built from the ground up with compliance requirements incorporated into our technical and operational controls. This can be demonstrated by our Australian Sovereignty\u2014our guarantee that data hosted in our cloud never leaves Australia. All of our operational staff are also Australian security cleared.\u201d\n\nKeeping these considerations in mind will ensure that you choose the right partner for your cloud journey, whether you\u2019re just beginning your initial migration or moving to a multi-cloud approach. For more information on the VMware providers listed in this article and others that provide Cloud Verified services, visit https:\/\/cloud.vmware.com\/providers\/vmware-cloud-verified.\n\nConsilio, Homes.com and Lucky Brand are three of the many organizations that turned to a VMware Cloud Verified provider to accompany and guide them on their cloud journey. To learn more about the value they see in partnering with proven solutions providers that deliver VMware Cloud Verified services, view the following videos.\n\n\n \n\n\nConsilio Harnesses the Cloud to Power Legal Work Solutions for Clients Worldwide\nWorking with VMware Cloud Verified provider Flexential, Consilio can offer a more centrally managed, scalable service offering to companies around the world. With Flexential, Consilio was able to strengthen its focus on the stability and security of its customers, work to consolidate its data centers, address compliance requirements like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and satisfy its own exceptionally strict governance requirements.\n\n\n \n\n\nHomes.com Taps into VMware Cloud Infrastructure to Better Connect Home Buyers and Sellers\nHomes.com partnered with VMware Cloud Verified provider Expedient to improve IT performance, including addressing tremendous data storage and disaster recovery (DR) requirements and offering stellar services to home buyers, sellers, and agents. With Expedient, the company was able to increase the performance of its systems which must process billions of images, operate more nimbly, better meet the demands of its exceptional service level agreements, and decrease the total cost of ownership for its data centers by 20%.\nLucky Brand Finds the Perfect Fit with Azure\/VMware Solutions\nLucky Brand wanted to lower IT operating costs at its 250 stores (and a popular e-commerce site, LuckyBrand.com), initiate more timely merchandising, strengthen compliance, and deliver unified shopping experiences. The retailer partnered with CloudSimple, a Cloud Verified provider, that enables enterprises to seamlessly provision their VMware-based environment to Microsoft Azure. With CloudSimple and VMware it was able to decrease IT operating costs by 55% and achieve a 200% increase in lifetime customer value.