When Cloud contradicts your SLAs

When you hear the words cloud computing, it is often followed by words such as flexible working, or anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

From your clients’ perspective, this gives them the ability to mix and match what they use and how they use it.

Think SkyDrive, DropBox, SharePoint, Email, USB hard drives, and all the other places a user can store their data in multiple copies*.

Think laptop, desktop PC, mobile phone, iPad, server, and all the other hardware they can use to access it*.

Think in the office, abroad, at home, and all the other locations they can be in that may need supporting*.

Just think about what they may or may not be ignorant to in terms of their responsibilities and actions as well asyours to their businesses.

When YOU think about it, what you put together in your SLA three years or one week ago will be irrelevant if it doesn’t reflect what’s happening in your clients’ lives.

More than ever you must be certain that your support agreements support both you and your client(s). If you are now at the point where you’ve pretty much negated yours because your clients want to do more than originally agreed, then stop and think.

Either you continue to penalise them with additional financial charges, or you invest time to help educate them and preserve your long-term relationships.

The first answer will only last as long as it takes for your client to find someone else who offers to financially ‘love’ them more than you do (‘onboarding’ discounts, or fee waiving enticements), and the second could offer a whole host of other revenue opportunities. This channel is full of situations where VARs pick up new business on the back of others failing to do this. I would even fancy my chances that you yourself have done it on more than one occasion…

… and it doesn’t take too long until it comes back to bite you on the behind.

What’s the point of having SLAs that are overlooked or ignored, or a bunch of clients who may only be with you because you offer a cheap service,  and a VAR/reseller/MSP setup etc… that can’t seem to move onto becoming anything more than an ICT Bob the Builder-esque setup?

It’s time for your business to stop holding itself back and get growing even if that means sacking clients that refuse to see you for anything than a consultancy break-fix  professional organisation.

Susanne Dansey is the Managing Director of Purple Cow Ideas Management – an organisation that facilitates a paradigm shift in the collaborative nature of the ICT Industry. You can follow her on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook.

*whether or not you are aware of it


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