This is the first of four articles profiling potential pitfalls with delivering professional services from the cloud.
Cloud computing solutions, which include the delivery of software as a service rather than a product, continue to grow at a rapid rate due to the real benefits of this model, including:
- Low initial costs
- Operational predictability
- Business flexibility
- Lower risk.
The growth of this model is inherently changing the role of professional services organizations (PSOs) as they adapt a “professional services from the cloud” model for their businesses.
PSO leaders are readily embracing the opportunities associated with this professional services delivery model for both their customers and their own organizations, because they can:
- Employ skilled resources across multiple client implementations
- Manage virtual, global staffing more effectively
- Blur the lines of implementation and support to minimize post production quality issues
However, these benefits are not without pitfalls.
In this series of articles we will focus on several potential issues including:
Potential Pitfall #1: Client-Facing Skills Diminish
Potential Pitfall #2: Systems Development Life Cycle Disciplines Can Break Down
Potential Pitfall #3: Are You Meeting the Client’s Requirements?
Potential Pitfall #4: The Economics are Different
POTENTIAL PITFALL #1: CLIENT-FACING SKILLS DIMINISH
For the PSO, the benefits gained from working “in the cloud” include better work-life balance, less time spent travelling and improved employee supervision.
However, the “Professional Services (PS) from the Cloud” model can drive the majority of the PS team away from the client to either the PSO’s offices or other virtual locations.
Tactics For Migrating Your PSO To The Cloud
As your PSO moves its operations to the cloud, there are two issues that need to be recognized and addressed.
1) Using a cloud service can decrease the amount of face-to-face time with the client.
2) It is very easy to adapt to the routine of using home as your office. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but oftentimes the “client first” approach can get lost in the wind.
For years, consulting firms and consulting oriented PSOs have focused on developing the soft skills of their personnel. In the “cloud”, if you are working remotely, you need a highly developed set of “soft skills” to:
- Stay on top of the client’s mood;
- Effectively communicate project status, issues / risks; and
- Properly drive the client to necessary decisions and actions.
Communication remains ever so important when providing professional services in the cloud.
Although the cloud lies in space, invisible, the client needs to know that you are “hands on” and available when need be, and that they can rely on your services. Make sure that you are as reliable, consistent, and personable to the client’s needs as you were before switching to a cloud.
Schedule “face time” at your client’s site. The benefits of being in front of the client, getting to know them as “people” not just clients (and them getting to know you as a “person” not just a consultant), and being able to walk down the hall are invaluable to getting work done successfully.
The migration tactics are directly tied with the use of soft skills, which include constant, effective communication and maintaining a healthy professional relationship with the client. Pay extra attention to managing client expectations and satisfaction.
And finally, always be on call and available to support your client, as it is the foundation of future success.
Contact SWK Technologies
Are you interested in learning more? Contact SWK’s professionals for additional information at 877-979-5462, or click here to contact us.
Source material for this article is from the whitepaper: “4 Keys to Success in Delivering Professional Services from the Cloud” by Mark E. Sloan