Moving your business infrastructure to a service provider like Green House Data can be daunting.
Whether we are moving an Exchange server to the cloud or business application servers into colocation, providers like us carry a heavy burden for our clients. Greater security, reliability and cost savings are promised with many cloud and colocation solutions, but what about ownership?
Even while outsourcing, business owners shouldn’t feel like they are losing control - these solutions should add value in every aspect, and ownership is no exception. With a smart and agile client service team, a provider can maintain and improve a client’s sense of ownership, no matter where they are located. From implementation to ongoing support, a high-touch service relationship is essential.
A service team should feel like an employee. We should report to our clients and take care of their needs. We should be experts who our clients trust to do our jobs, and we should hold ourselves accountable. A client should be able to call on us to step up and be part of their team.
With a large commodity cloud provider, an application doesn’t usually have this benefit. While a large deployment with a vast, streamlined service center can certainly reduce a provider’s per-tenant operating costs; these cost savings are reduced for customers in terms of reliability and security monitoring.
A dedicated point of contact at an enterprise cloud provider, who is directly responsible for that customer’s success, can lift a significant burden off an IT department’s day-to-day workload. They can also provide service quality and response times as if they were an internal employee, and no control is lost.
A service team should be a colleague and a partner. We must treat a client’s business as our own. A good service team will listen to their clients and be their advocate. This enables us as a service provider to always be adapting and changing our product to suit an individual client’s needs.
Throughout a number of enterprise cloud deployments, I have acted not only as a point of contact for clients, but also as their representative within my own organization. For example, as part of a large Exchange deployment, one of my customers needed a specific portal structure to manage users across a number of smaller organizations. I was able to sit down with them, assess their needs, and assemble my team to build out the structure they needed. They ended up with greater management control by trusting us to follow through on their needs.
A service team should be a leader. Even when clients have the final word, a great service team will be proactive. We must identify and anticipate a client’s needs, constantly improve our technology, and deliver excellent service beyond expectations.
At a large commodity cloud provider, technology trends follow the crowd instead of the individual. If one customer has a specific problem, it won’t matter until a significant trend appears. Alternatively, if a dedicated engineering team is given the opportunity to monitor an environment of clients they are familiar with, a single customer represents a significant trend, enabling them to proactively adapt their environment to suit the tenants. Also, when maintenance and downtime are inevitably required, each customer’s schedule can be taken into account.
Clients should not give up control when moving to a service provider – good service done right will empower a client beyond their expectations. Just because your data and applications reside in an off-site data center doesn’t mean you lack access, insight, monitoring, or the ability to tweak and customize as you see fit. That’s where a dedicated service team can actually help maintain your ownership in the cloud.
Posted By: Implementation Lead David Lloyd