Amazon Downtime Won’t Dent Service Cloud Adoption


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Is it time to make the leap to the service cloud?

Service Cloud: The Magic Formula

Does the downtime suffered by cloud services poster child create a dilemma for companies that want to move their customer service operations to the cloud? That depends on whether or not you can handle the uptime, or in some cases, such as the recent outage at Amazon Web Services, the downtime.

If so, the service cloud continues to support more complex projects, while adding in the typical cloud benefits — lower costs, a modern user interface, easy manageability and automatic upgrades. So, how will you know when it’s time to make the jump?

Helpfully, based on interviews with numerous cloud-based CRM practitioners, Gartner analyst Michael Maoz has found a magic figure for determining whether or not you should move customer service to the cloud:

If you can live with two maintenance windows of two to four hours, twice a quarter, then maybe SaaS is for you. If you do not have to worry about integration with back end systems that manage processes for underwriting, mortgages, telecom OSS activity, fraud, or outage systems, for example, then SaaS is definitely your choice now.

To emphasize: If you can live with up to 16 hours of downtime per quarter, then the cloud might be right for you.

Service Isn’t Sales

This criteria is markedly different than how you should evaluate cloud-based SFA applications. If your SFA application goes down for a few hours on a Tuesday afternoon, for example, it’s probably not a big deal. Salespeople might have to look up phone numbers on their phone, and enter data from customer interactions and visits into the SFA system later.

But if your call center goes down for two hours on a Tuesday afternoon, guess what you’re not doing? You’re not taking reservations, or handling call center issues. Remember when AT&T’s call center went down not for a couple of hours, but for days? News reports suggested trouble with a Siebel upgrade.

In-House Downtime: Let’s Be Real

The AT&T incident, which happened way back in 2003 — well before the cloud days — serves as a useful counterpoint to the Amazon outage discussion. Namely, downtime happens. (Although interestingly, cloud-based CRM providers have proved one exception, as neither or Oracle CRM On Demand, to date, appear to have ever suffered any major downtime.)

Many cloud proponents further argue that while cloud-based services will suffer downtime, it’s arguably less downtime than happens in an on-premise enterprise IT setting. “Amazon’s infrastructure offering does, in fact, offer better levels of backup, failover, and load balancing than most departmental IT teams are prepared to develop for internal applications,” says Glenn Weinstein, CTO of Appirio, which sells cloud services.

Others have likened the Amazon outage to a high-profile but isolated event. According to the New York Times:

The Amazon interruption, said Lew Moorman, chief strategy officer of Rackspace, a specialist in data center services, was the computing equivalent of an airplane crash. It is a major episode with widespread damage. But airline travel, he noted, is still safer than traveling in a car — analogous to cloud computing being safer than data centers run by individual companies.

Seeking 100% Uptime?

For companies that can stand some downtime, call centers in the cloud offer a great approach. But some businesses require call centers that offer 100% uptime, full stop. For example, one of Innoveer’s customers is in the business of Internet monitoring. That is, businesses pay this monitoring service to alert them, instantly, if their website slows or crashes. Accordingly, the monitoring company can’t afford any call center downtime, as it costs it customers. And that business mandate has prevented the monitoring service from embracing the service cloud, at least for now.

But will its service cloud wait last much longer?

Learn More

To create a service program that excels, regardless of whether you run it in-house or in the cloud, start by asking the right questions, about everything from case management to program measurement.

Likewise, improving your customer service program requires knowing which aspects of your program are already top-notch, and which need improving. Take our short quiz to see how the various components of your service program stack up.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user Lauren Manning.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


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