Managing the Cloud from a Staffing Perspective

So, you’ve decided that you want to move to a cloud based application for one of your enterprise systems. You have gone through the software selection process, and found the solution that is the best fit for your organization. The next question you might ask yourself is, “who is going to manage the application?” This is something that is often overlooked, in that most organizations assume that IT will manage the software for them as they always have.

Managing a cloud application, especially one delivered via multi-tenant SaaS, requires a different set of skills that your IT team may or may not have. Most, if not all people in technology departments who have traditionally been tapped to run enterprise applications have deep technical knowledge and experience. This background was necessary when running on premise software, which required not only knowledge of the application itself, but of servers, operating systems, data connectivity methodology, etc. While this kind of background can be helpful, managing cloud applications often requires different or perhaps additional skills.

SLA Management
One of the keys to successful cloud solution management is understanding your SLA, or Service Level Agreement. In simple terms, this contract defines exactly what the cloud vendor will provide, when they will provide it, and what it will cost. This document defines the relationship between you and the vendor. Someone in your organization will own this relationship. Skills and qualities that will help a person in this role to be successful are as follows:

• Strong interpersonal/people skills
• Good business acumen
• Proactivity
• Assertiveness
• Great written and verbal communication abilities
• Detail oriented

Instead of being buried in a server room or working on code, this person will be managing a contract and working with all of the stakeholders to ensure successful delivery of the software on a daily basis. While a technical background can be helpful, especially in troubleshooting, this becomes much less important than it used to be.

So, when you are thinking about staffing and skillsets for managing your cloud application keep in mind the skills and qualities outlined above. Just some food for thought…..

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