by Mike Ricotta - August 15, 2018
Is it time to consider outsourcing cloud support services? Every digital agency knows that there are two ways to upset clients and sabotage any possibility of earning future projects under that account, failing to meet your carefully scoped project budget or project timeline. Either of these issues will immediately destroy all trust you have developed over the course of the relationship. Before we discuss the reasons for outsourcing cloud support, let’s identify the reasons a project might miss projected completion dates or budget estimates. If you are competitive in the web development marketplace, you are probably using some variation of agile project management. Agile is a very effective project management approach if your project has been properly scoped. Let’s assume that your sales department has done a spot-on job of scoping the project and you have appropriate contingency time built into the project-plan to avoid any foreseeable timeline issues. So, now it simply boils down to designer/developer resource allocation. But, if you are providing server or cloud support services for your clients utilizing your internal team, you will most likely need to reallocate developer resources to deal with hosting and downtime emergencies. There is simply no way to effectively project emergency support hours. And, to compound this issue, it is likely that you have your top developers in the role of emergency support provider because of the sophisticated technical nature of hosting related emergencies. Now your strongest developer resources are compromised and you probably don’t have any timeline accountability tool built in to address the loss of significant developer resources stemming from emergency support. Inevitably, your sprints bleed over and your timeline becomes compromised.
If you are a service or product based digital agency, chances are good that cloud-based monitoring and support is not your core business objective, but instead, just a nice little up-sale feature your sales team can use to sweeten the deal with a prospective client. But, does it make sense to potentially derail one project because it may be necessary to divert resources to address real-time emergency issues for other clients? Would it make more sense to eliminate all unknowns from your projects? If you are unsure of the answer to this question, just ask one of your project managers. Below is a round-up of the top reasons you should consider outsourcing cloud hosting support and the associated risks you assume by keeping this service in-house.
Total Team Focus
Every member of your team is important. Their focused throughput on every project detail is critical. This is especially true of lead developer resources. When lead developer resources are reallocated away from an active project, the whole team suffers. Let’s consider a specific example, your “on call” developer resource receives a 3 am notification that a DDoS campaign has been waged against one of your client’s websites bringing their order processing to a halt. Although this situation is manageable, the corrective solution is time-consuming. Your developer resolves the issue within a couple of hours but arrives a few hours late to work that day as a result of burning the midnight oil. Those hours are now lost and the production cycle is thrown off. Suppose there were sprint contingencies based on the development work that was to have taken place that morning. It’s okay right, you have a couple of weeks of overflow built into your timeline. However, a week later you experience another hosting related emergency and your sprints bleed over, a couple of milestones are missed, and your timeline begins to compress. As a result, your production team begins to experience the stress of mounting time constraints and the quality of work dips a little. The timeline is broken, the team is experiencing undue levels of project stress, and a very real conversation with the client looms large.
Deliver a Higher Quality Product and Control Cost
Outsourcing your client’s cloud support services does not limit your ability to offer cloud support service. In fact, based on your pricing, you should be able to break even on the service agreement or even profit from it if you do your research. There is no question that a support service provider will be able to deliver a higher level of support services then you can manage in-house. You can manage this service internally but to really deliver a high-level, high-quality service, you will need to constantly invest in research, development, and solutions-level implementation tools. This level of internal upkeep will only continue to drain resources as cloud hosting realizes higher levels of adoption and as cloud environments increase in complexity. The investments required to maintain expertise will continually add to your production costs and eventually be passed on to your customers (or your bottom line). Outsourcing eliminates both increasing costs and time expenditures. In addition, outsourcing offers you access to a team who has developed a very precise skill-set perfectly suited for your client’s support needs.
Minimal Downtime and Maximum Morale
As far as I can tell, there is a definite correlation between downtime and morale. The effects of this relationship may be impacting your business in many ways beyond simple client tension. Obviously, your clients will never be happy when their site experiences downtime for any reason. Client dissatisfaction can definitely pull your team’s morale down a few notches because we all want to make our clients happy. But, the overall impact of downtime in relation to company morale may reach deeper into your business than it appears at first glance. If you are using your team members to provide 24/7 support to your clients, you are creating a fragile internal environment. You may pay a couple of your developers extra to be on call throughout the night but it really doesn’t make sense. First, no one wants to be pinged with an emergency while they are asleep. Second, no one wants to work all day after troubleshooting server related emergencies all night. They will not be happy or productive which can have a ripple effect in the office environment. Imagine, developer productivity drops during the shifts following late night emergency calls. The project timeline has to be adjusted creating extra work for the project manager. If the timeline suffers too much as a result of 24/7 support the client will need to be notified, creating additional tension. This tension slowly creeps through every level of your business, affecting multiple teammates and client-side team members like project/account managers. Once team morale drops, the project inevitably loses momentum.
By outsourcing your server or cloud support, you are minimizing your risk in a variety of ways. You minimize the risk of losing or disappointing a valuable client. You minimize the risk of burning out one of your most valuable team members. And, you are proactively protecting the team and client morale. Last but certainly not least, you have removed one of the most unsavory duties from you teams to-do list. No one likes to be on-call all night. Everyone on your team will thank you for making the decision to outsource cloud support services.
Arcane Strategies is here to help you provide a better service to your clients. Our monitoring software is compatible with virtually every cloud service on the market today. We can customize our service to meet the exact needs of your organization. We offer a free one-hour consultation, so you have absolutely nothing to lose. Place all of the worry and headaches of 24/7 cloud support in our hands and get back to doing what you love!