Transforming Customer Experiences

How To Build Seamless Cloud Operations - Interview with Scott Welch, EVP of Cloud Operations

This article was originally published by Virtual Strategy Magazine

As companies move towards replacing their on-premise solutions with cloud technologies, it is essential for cloud vendors to run a seamless operation. In order to do so, cloud vendors need to have a team of skilled professionals, operational processes and best practices to run smoothly. Based on experience from running cloud solutions for over ten years, Scott Welch shares his tips on seamless cloud operations.

VSM: What type of people should be a part of your cloud operations team?

SW: When putting together your cloud operations team, having a service oriented culture complete with "A" players is key. They'll also need to have the right technical skills. As said in the past, you are only as good as the people around you--and this is especially true in a cloud operation team. A positive service attitude is critical, as is a work ethic over technical aptitude. Team members also need to be able to strategize in all types of situations, while still being fully engaged. Being technically capable is a key feature, but a service-oriented attitude will bring the most value to your organization.

VSM: How can a technical support staff be successful in each project?

SW: Once you have your "A" team in place, the technical support staff needs to understand the technology in and out. In each project, they'll also need to own the action and control the outcome. When you put the trust in your "A" team to see a project through start to finish, they'll be truly successful.

VSM: How can a business create solid operational processes?

SW: Solid operational processes are based on a company's best practices. Change management is one of the most critical processes, as there is a direct link between the maturity of a company's change management processes and availability numbers. As processes are developed, it's important to learn from mistakes and ensure that processes evolve to avoid challenges experienced in the past.

VSM: How can a company provide the best customer service possible?

SW: When providing service in a cloud delivery model, identifying customers' needs comes first. Similar to Maslow's hierarchy of human needs where the value of life increases as you move up the pyramid, key levels of the customer hierarchy of needs increase the value of your product as you move up the pyramid. The most basic need is service availability, followed by urgency. Then accountability, meaning you'll do what you promised your customer you would, and you'll be held accountable for the outcome. Finally, transparency, which creates straightforward and open communication to your customers. Overall, having customers' trust is a critical part of your business. Only after you deliver every level of the pyramid can your customers gain value from the features offered in a cloud platform.

VSM: What are other key practices to keep in mind when working with cloud delivery models?

SW: When working with hardware, software and even humans, it's important to remember that all three will face challenges or fail in their lifecycle. The difference lies in the delivery of fault tolerance architecture with appropriate mitigation plans that reduce, minimize or eliminate customer impact when they fail.


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