Whether you have a fully hosted software as a service (SaaS) solution or a managed hosted solution, there are some storms that you might have to encounter once you’re in the “cloud.”
Some common things you might encounter are unplanned outages right as you’re processing end of the month data, an unexpected upgrade which changes workflows that your users weren’t expecting or simply not knowing who to contact for questions or issues. Below, we’ve identified 5 ways to take control of your cloud-based solution to help you soar through “clouds” and get to your destination with minimal turbulence.
1. Identify the roles
Take the time upfront to identify all of the individuals (or departments) that will be involved in implementing and supporting your cloud-based solution. You may have one point of contact with the provider and they will handle all of the legwork, and other times it may involve a bit more detective work to understand fully who will be involved at all points in keeping your software functioning optimally.
Regardless of how the provider’s organization is structured, you’ll have some roles within your own organization who will have a hand in the pot. Think of them as the flight crew of your journey. The flight attendants and pilots will determine the best (and most comfortable) flight path through your cloud-based solution.
2. Get to know your key players
This one might be a little easier with a smaller provider, but once you’ve identified the roles, try to develop a rapport with them. Get to know them on a first name basis, and check in from time to time to see how things are operating. Remember that while you want the best for your organization, so does your flight crew. You are intimately familiar with your workflows and processes, but your crew is adapting to a changing system for not only your team, but for all of the other teams they are assisting. Help them to understand that while you’re investing money in the solution, you’re also investing in the success of the solution for your organization.
3. Understand the upgrade process
There is nothing more frustrating than logging in one day and suddenly fields aren’t where they used to be, workflows have changed, and your system’s background is now grey instead of white! The key to taking control of this is understanding what the upgrade process is. Are upgrades done automatically? Are they upon request? Are they during scheduled outages? Are you someone that would want your aircraft to be upgraded while you’re on board, or would you prefer for it to be done while you’re not mid-flight? Most people would likely choose the latter.
After gaining an understanding of what the current process is, determine how you can gain insight into the changes that will be made before it happens. Most organizations will maintain various resources for customer consumption; be it release notes, “What’s new in” Webinars, or quick demos of upcoming changes.
4. Provide feedback
If you see something; say something. If you see areas for improvement or run across bugs, take time to note them to the provider using whatever channel they request. If you run across a lot of areas for change and don’t have time to note them each and every time, keep a running tab of all the areas as you notice them, and put it on your calendar to review each quarter to provide feedback to the company.
If you’re providing feedback regularly, you may even be able to get on the list of beta customers to help further drive the direction of the solution.
5. Network with other users
Find out if your provider has a preexisting network of people using the software, or even consider starting your own network of individuals using the software. This can be useful to bounce ideas off one another and provide another route of assistance.
Using these five tips, you can sail smoothly through your cloud-based solution. Have a safe flight!