Ice, Wind, Fire and SaaS

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It is early January, on a hill top in the Utah west desert.  Snow is falling,  there is a light breeze and  the temperature is about 5 degree F. I am camping with my son.  We are both wearing wool socks, insulated boots, insulated pants, fleece thermals, heavy coats, gloves, hats. Inside our canvas spring bar tent, my son is setting up our flannel-lined, -25 degree-rated sleeping bags. Ice crystals  are forming on the inside of the tent.  (Note to self, air mattresses don’t work so well when it is really cold, the plastic cracks and all the air leaks out.)  The dog is sitting on a bean bag with a big blanket covering her, perfectly happy.  Outside, a camp fire is blazing.  Standing next to the fire allows you to warm one side of your body, so you are constantly turning yourself like some giant roast on a spit, as you attempt to keep warm.  Nearby is a camp stove with steaks cooking on a large cast iron skillet and hash brown potatoes in a dutch oven.  Dessert will be hot buttered pastries.  Camping does not have to mean starving.   That night the coyotes and the wind were howling outside our tent, but we were quite comfortable.

I love winter camping, and I try to make sure I get out at least once each winter.  I tell you this story as a contrast to the man I was 12 years ago.  When I first moved  to Utah from Arizona, no way, no how was I going to do any winter camping! I lacked the clothing, the equipment, the knowledge and the nerve to do so.  But, with the proper preparation, guidance and a little trial and error experience, I now enjoy it immensely.

Just as I once was afraid of winter camping, there are companies that never thought that they would or could ever use a hosted solution for their call center.  But, with the right solution, preparation and guidance, they are now avid and happy users of cloud services for their call centers.  Still, there are companies that are not yet ready to learn the ways of the Cloud. They are concerned about control, security, functionality, scalability, reliability and changes to the status quo.  They are wise to be concerned.  I don’t venture out into freezing weather without proper preparation and knowledge of the conditions and anyone contemplating SaaS needs to be properly prepared. 

I'd like to share some advice when it comes to both winter camping and cloud-based call center services:

  • Know where you are going.  I don’t just drive off into the night looking for a place to set my tent. Similarly, don’t go SaaS without knowing what your objectives and goals are.
  • Have the right gear.  I did some winter camping on the cheap, and I learned many unpleasant lessons.  Good gear makes all the difference!  Be smart,  but don’t be cheap when it comes to SaaS.  Be sure your network, your systems and your providers have the necessary quality and features you will need. 
  • Serve hot food.  It was always easier to get my son to go camping if he knew he was going to eat well.  Training nourishes your employees and can make a challenging task more enjoyable.
  • Get help from someone with experience.  I learned many things and felt more confident with the assistance of an experienced camper.  When looking at a SaaS solution for your call center, ask for references and make use of Professional Services.  You will feel more comfortable about your decision and ultimately have a better experience.

Whether you are camping or converting to a SaaS model, ice, wind, fire and SaaS need not be feared.