Episode Summary

iland Cloud Technologist Brian Knudtson is joined by guests Phillip Sellers, Tom Hollingsworth, and Lindy Collier for a conversation about the levels of support customers can find in the cloud. They discuss interviewing and doing proofs of concept with your potential cloud service providers and evaluating their support services — before finding them lacking on the worst day of your life.


Phillip Sellers
Platform Engineering Manager, AmWINS Group

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Tom Hollingsworth
Analyst & Event Lead, Gestalt IT

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Lindy Collier
Technology Evangelist, VMware

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Cloud Conversations

Topic 1

[02:05] Providers like iland and Rackspace make a lot of noise about their support services and customer focus. When evaluating cloud providers, how are customers evaluating the support they will receive?

Topic 2

[07:58] What does it take to build a strong customer-focused support organization, and what should customers be looking for?

Topic 3

[17:49] Are smaller companies generally relying on VARs or MSPs to help them make cloud decisions and to manage cloud platforms

Cloud Bites

[01:09] “Interview a cloud provider like you would interview your next employee.” — Lindy Collier

[01:24] “We’re always looking against the SLAs and we’re looking at the level of support. Frankly, support is the biggest thing that you’re giving up when you outsource to a cloud provider.” — Phil Sellers

[01:47] “Support is probably the most important part of your decision when you’re trying to decide on a cloud provider. Remember, those are the people who are going to talk to you on the worst day of your life. You want to make sure that they’re not going to make it even worse.” — Tom Hollingsworth

[02:36] “It’s always really important for us to do some kind of POC and actually get to run inside of the cloud provider. That’s almost a requirement for any kind of new cloud environment that we adopt. That’s primarily to see how we are treated. We want to see exactly what we can expect when problems occur.” — Phil Sellers

[05:55] “Responsiveness is really critical because you’re going to have to go back and face your company’s executive team and answer and provide updates as if you were running the IT in house.” — Phil Sellers

[09:07] “They figured out that when a customer is what the focus is and not the call time or any other silly metric, customers leave happy and feel good about your organization. Surprisingly enough, they also don’t call back nearly as much.” — Tom Hollingsworth

[14:23] “Not all support is equal when it comes to support contracts. There are different levels and you should be cognizant of that.” — Phil Sellers

[18:53] “As you look at going to cloud, finding that partner that takes you through that roadmap of what makes sense, what applications are ready for cloud, what applications just can’t go to cloud because of the dependencies they have on-prem. I don’t see enough of the small businesses doing that.”  — Lindy Collier

[20:04] “If they engage into the VAR space and finding that sized-right MSP, I think they’ll save themselves a ton of headaches as they start to navigate this new world that we’re all moving into.” — Lindy Collier

[21:41] “It’s like being around a house — I can be a plumber if I have to be. But if the job is too big or too complicated, you can better believe I’m going to call an expert plumber. Do I realize that calling an expert plumber is going to cost me more? Yes, but if I break down what it’s going to cost me to try and fix this problem, it’s probably cheaper in the long run for me to rely on someone who does this for a living.” — Tom Hollingsworth

[22:11] “In a lot of cases, VARs get a bad rap as being paper pushers. If you really truly value the partnership that you have with your VAR, listen to them … and don’t be afraid to fire them.” — Lindy Collier

[26:31] Your results will be fundamentally different when you’ve got a good specialist. It’s sort of like me going to a foot doctor when I’ve got a brain problem. You want to find somebody that focuses on neurosurgery.” — Phil Sellers

“Remember, those are the people who are going to talk to you on the worst day of your life. You want to make sure that they’re not going to make it even worse.”


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