Service Delivery – Do your customers think you do it well?

Everybody likes to think that for their business the answer to the above question is an unqualified yes but for many businesses the answer is probably not quite as clear.

One of the topics that I will be writing about in this blog is Service Delivery for SaaS, Cloud Services, and Managed Services.  I have spent many years actually doing this within the industry and want to share my thoughts both from the perspective of my experience and from listening to others.

Let’s first define what I mean by Service Delivery in this context.  It’s really made up of all the things which affect a customer’s experience including the actual software or product, operations, customer service/support, professional services and all ancillary services such as billing and subscription management and even how the service is sold.  As you can see for a services oriented business a substantial amount of the company is involved in delivering that service.

One challenge is that SaaS and Cloud Services substantially benefit from having as much automation either directly in the application itself or tightly coupled with the application.  There is of course a natural tension between automation and features and many times there is not time or money to do an excellent job on both.

Other Service Delivery challenges are genuinely technically difficult and push the state of the art.  For example, many SaaS services make use of other services’ APIs.  How exactly should the software developer address issues of SLAs  and performance when using these services.

I have seen a variety of organizational models and technologies which try to address the Service Delivery challenge.  However at the core it is really about four things:  focusing on the customer and their experience,  teamwork within the business, using appropriate technologies, and the ability to actually change the service and how it is delivered based on customer feedback and metrics.  Of course to do all of those things requires leadership at several levels.

Many of my blog posts will take the above four areas and examine some of the challenges and potential solutions in more detail to try to help you improve your Service Delivery.


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