The Platform Cloud covers a very wide range of custom development and integration projects.\u00a0 Some parts of advanced Sales and Service Cloud projects include elements of the platform, so most consultancies\u2019 have reasonable levels of general experience.\u00a0 However, the Platform Cloud has the widest range of third-party products and add-ons, so you will need to drill down on their specific experience.\u00a0\n\n\nAlso in this series\u2026\n\nHow to choose the best Salesforce consultant: 25 key questions\nHow to choose a Sales Cloud consultant\nHow to choose a Service Cloud consultant\nHow to choose a Marketing Cloud consultant\n\nWorking with a Salesforce consultant: Understanding the process\n\n\n\nThis brief set of questions is designed to help you evaluate the suitability of a Salesforce.com (SFDC) consultancy. It is not to be used as a questionnaire for the consultancy to fill out in the RFP.\u00a0 Instead, use the questions conversationally so you can see their flinches and know where to probe.\nSince client requirements vary, there's no single "correct" set of answers to these questions. Instead, score the vendors on how closely they fit your organizational needs and corporate IT style\u2014and no firm is going to get a perfect score (be happy if you find a \u201csolid B+\u201d).\nPlatform Cloud experience\n\nWhat is the difference between the Salesforce APEX platform and Heroku?\u00a0 What kinds of applications fit best with each?\nWhen does the consultant recommend Heroku over AWS, Azure, or other cloud platforms?\u00a0 What are the \u201cgotchas\u201d for each platform?\nFor the project you are contemplating, which cloud platform(s) is the consultant recommending?\u00a0 Why?\nWhich cloud platform has the consultant used in production systems?\u00a0 What kinds of applications were they?\u00a0\nWhat kind of applications do not benefit from public cloud deployment?\u00a0 Should you be considering a private cloud or hybrid for your application?\nWhat languages is the consultant most comfortable with for cloud platform execution?\nWhat does the consultant recommend to improve debugging, error reporting, auditability, and compliance in platform projects like this one?\nWhat information security and regulatory compliance issues will be important to a project like this one?\nWhat performance issue is going to be most obvious in a project like this one? (Take points off if the consultant doesn\u2019t mention latency or responsiveness.)\nWhich \u201ccloud control panel\u201d (to administer the apps in real time) does the consultant like best?\n\nPlatform Cloud integration\n\nIf you have a corporate standard for integration servers, middleware, or enterprise message buses, does the consultant have experience with it in production use?\nIf you do not have a corporate standard for integration technologies (or you don\u2019t have to follow the standard), what integration product or service does the consultant recommend?\u00a0 Why?\nAt what point in the project should the first pilot run for data integration be done?\u00a0 If a significant amount of data needs to be migrated as part of the integration, when and how should that migration be done?\nWhat tools does the consultant recommend for deduplication, reconciliation, and validation of data across systems?\nWhen should an outside service be used for data cleansing and enrichment?\n\nPlatform Cloud projects have the widest range of requirements and practices, so you are going to need to think about \u201cdrill down\u201d questions for your particular situation.\u00a0 Make no mistake about it, Platform Cloud work is almost always custom code \u2013 and because of integration requirements, almost always involves network and data quality issues.\u00a0 So, schedule and cost are the real risks here \u2013 probe deeply to make sure the consultant has ways to mitigate them.