Quality Cloud Hosting AND Responsive IT Service: Is It Just a Dream? The cloud has been around for a while now, and IT support services have been around since IT came into existence, but in my experience, seldom do they actually work together.
I knew I wasn’t the only one who thought this way, so I asked over a dozen other CEOs in a variety of industries about their experiences with cloud hosting and IT support. As someone who is part of the cloud and IT support industry, I wanted to know what their pain points were.
Overwhelmingly, the top two most important priorities for these CEOs were:
- High availability and uptime
- Support responsiveness and proactivity
This didn’t surprise me. Businesses can’t run successfully if their systems are down or if they have to wait days for IT support.
The IT Landscape
Fifteen years ago, the IT landscape looked a lot different. Most of the time a single person was responsible for all of a business’s IT needs. If your systems were down or Helpdesk Jimmy wasn’t answering the phone, you just walked down the hall grabbed the “one throat to choke.”
Today things are more complicated. Many companies have deployed their critical systems in the cloud, sometimes using multiple cloud providers. Many more companies have outsourced their IT support because there simply is not enough consistent demand to justify full-time employees (a side benefit of using the cloud).
Often the IT support company is separate from the cloud provider, and the cloud provider is only interested in servicing their part of the IT picture. If you’ve ever dealt with Microsoft support you know this all too well.
So here’s the big question.
Is it really possible to have a positive cloud experience while receiving excellent and responsive service?
What’s the Difference?
Cloud providers are often datacenters or software vendors who are operationally and culturally built to support their specific solution. Cloud services require a very deep technology skill-set and specificity around very complex technical architectures on a mega scale, much larger than any one company would ever deploy. They must have one eye on delivering 99.999% uptime while the other eye is focused on the future to ensure their cloud offerings and services stay best-in-class while adjusting to rapid change in technology.
Conversely, IT support providers are built to provide break/fix solutions and set up new users. These services require a passion for customer service, personal relationships and interactions with each and every customer. They must have one eye on the customer while the other is focused on the technical support staff to ensure each technician has the right balance of technical skillset (which is ever-changing) and personality required to deliver proactive and responsive service. They must meet their 2-hour response time SLA while also creating a positive customer service interaction with every customer.
This approach inherently results in service silos, but for an IT provider to meet the requirements and demands of the business, they need to excel at both!
Where IT Support Meets the Cloud
To provide both cloud services and IT support services well, you first have to accept and embrace that they are two very different needs and disciplines.
Think about it this way. You wouldn’t have the same staff manufacturing cars and running a department store, would you? Yet this what many cloud providers and IT support vendors try to do – use the same mindset, staff and operational processes to serve both. The result is they do both poorly.
Here at Fluid, we recognized this challenge from the beginning and purposefully designed our organization, operational processes and staffing structure to meet it. We have two separate organizations within our company that work closely together on a daily basis, so our customers never notice the separation.
Each and every person on the team clearly understands what our cloud customers expect: 100% uptime AND proactive, professional and responsive service for all their technology needs.
This is how we have successfully combined cloud hosting and IT support, and as far as I’ve seen, it’s the only way to do it that actually provides customers with quality, seamless support.
This is not an easy thing to do. It’s a huge challenge, and an IT company needs to think about it from the get-go. It’s not something you can slap together later on, because you are literally building your company around this combination of expertise.
Meeting this challenge is one of the reasons why we’re all still so passionate about what we do. We can give our customers exactly what they want: stellar cloud services and uptime with stellar customer service and responsiveness.