The venerable Bill Cosby has a great monologue about a man undergoing surgery while under local anesthesia – so he is awake and can hear everything the doctor says.  You hear the doctor speaking – "sponge…scalpel…scissors… Oops!" The patient immediately says, "What did you say?!"  "Nothing, just lie down" says the doctor… and the routine continues. 

As a customer, we all hate it when our vendors say "Oops!".   Some "oops" are small, others, like the current disaster in the gulf can affect millions and take years to recover. As a SaaS customer, or a prospective SaaS customer, how do you select a SaaS provider who will have a minimal number of oops? Please note, I am not OK with having any number of oops, but they do happen – so we should talk about the three letters, "P", "D" and "R"; Prevention, Detection, and Remediation.

Prevention – When it comes to preventing an oops moment, it's all about design, controls and experience.  Analyze the design of every provider's data centers, hardware, network,  data storage and management, their vendors, and their software.  Ask about their change control processes, when they perform maintenance, audits, backups and security.  Finally, find out something about the people and their past and present work experience.  I have been in the communications business for over 25 years, and I have seen things happen that I would never have imagined could happen.   There is no substitute for experience.

Detection – The one sure way to compound a problem is to not realize you have one.   Does the SaaS provider have a 7/24/365 NOC?  It should be watching the network, the computers, the applications, and the facilities.  Investigate the SaaS provider's NOC.  Assess their visibility and access to critical network components and their ability to identify a problem and address it within seconds or minutes.    

Remediation – So the biomass has collided with the rotational convection unit. <wink, wink> The first concern is to restore services.   Once service is restored, make sure a Reason For Outage or RFO is issued to determine the cause.  It should contain cause and actions taken to prevent future recurrences.   Review your contract and assess how the contract’s SLA applies to the event and finally, review how the provider treated you.  In the SaaS environment, the cloud provider has to be more than a distant vendor, they have to be engaged and realize that they are a close partner. 

Selecting a SaaS provider requires trust and confidence.  inContact knows that to be the best provider of hosted contact center solutions, we have to be the best partner to our customers and earn your trust.  inContact knows that "Oops!" is the last thing you want to hear.