It's a SaaS World Out There: Get a Grip on Your Expectations
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It’s a SaaS World Out There: Get a Grip on Your Expectations

By: Manoj Machiwal

These are popular words in cloud service provider ads. And these words seduce many companies, as that’s their purpose. That’s what they’re supposed to do.

Everyone thinks that because it’s “in the cloud”, it’s easier and faster to implement and start using.  SaaS or cloud solution implementations are often done in hours, rather than weeks or months.  Saved implementation time and low monthly cost fits easily into the operational budget. But easier, faster, and cheaper aren’t the only considerations when choosing a cloud service. There are more things to think about before making a purchasing decision.

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Keep Your Expectations in Check

saasThe evolution of cloud computing solutions really started to hit the mainstream in the late 1990’s, with the release of Salesforce.com in 1999. Internet bandwidth increases led to other entries into the arena, with Amazon’s commercial web services. The arrival was complete when Web 2.0 arrived in the mid-2000s, and now the solutions are coming fast and furious with advances in virtualization and the adoption of universal software interoperability standards.

Today’s challenge is figuring out how to translate your business expectations into service level agreements (SLAs) for cloud computing that support your expectations. Identify the business processes that are affected by the cloud solution, and then craft SLAs that will keep your processes moving smoothly, with  minimum  disruption. Professional cloud solution providers understand this, and can help guide you through it.

Come Together, Right Now

When it comes to purchasing a cloud solution, the fact that it’s often so simple to purchase and implement means that business departments often go ahead with a purchase decision without consulting with the IT department. There’s the expectation that because nothing’s being “installed” on-premise, they don’t need IT’s input. They’ll go ahead with a purchase because that solution helps move their business priorities forward and contribute towards the overall company’s bottom line. This often leads to a battle between the two departments. IT has a much wider view when it comes to sourcing and implementing technology. Before purchasing a new technology solution, they’ll consider questions like:

  • Could another department also use this solution?
  • Is another department already using a solution that could meet this business need?
  • Can this solution be integrated with our existing data to benefit others departments?
  • Does this solution align with our corporate strategy on security, technology, cost, etc.?

Bringing together business and IT goals is the key takeaway here. A wider view of your organization lets your teams consider all perspectives, which ultimately benefits your entire organization, instead of just one department.

To avoid this conflict, open the lines of communication between IT and business teams. This sharing of information helps everyone to understand each other’s perspectives, and this  knowledge can then be used when making technology decisions.

Breaking down these barriers may be difficult, and it might take a little time to develop trust and a solid communication process, but once in place, it’ll avoid any future battle royale you might have. Everyone will understand how their goals affect others, and how they ultimately affect the overall organizational goals.

The first step to building trust and communication is to establish an Evaluation Committee with members from all affected departments. That gives everyone impacted by the decision a hand in it, something that’s especially important for service and maintenance planning, since you’ll know you’re covered from a legal and governance perspective.

Go For the Long View

Companies sometimes are simply attracted to the shininess of the latest and greatest cloud solution, and miss key considerations for their organization. Consider things like the maintenance costs of the solution over the life of the license, and SLA costs. Review and assess these costs in terms of business impact to your organization and business.

Get Ready to Surpass Your Expectations

saasHiring external consulting professionals to help you in your evaluation can also be a tremendous help to your company. Consulting firms like Jade Global are experts at guiding Evaluation Committees in their work, advising you on the variety of aspects of any cloud solution that might impact your business. For example, how to customize your environment to take full advantage of data transfer limits, or helping you shape the best SLA for your organization.

If you’re ready to see what Jade Global can do for you, contact us today. We’ll show you what our expertise can do for you.

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