9 months into this business, here’s a gem of a lesson that I have learnt. It’s good to have vendor’s guilt (you need to be clued in on Amit’s blog for this term, he
is going to has shed more light on this – Vendor’s Guilt). It keeps you on the edge, it makes you deliver on time. However, it’s great to learn how to control this feeling and not get overwhelmed by the same. On a more personal note –
One of the primary reasons for starting a services firm was to beat the run of the mill service providers that I see in the Indian IT Services market. Service providers need to be value adding rather than extracting value from the organization.
Being steered by this value, the focus has always been on adding value. Getting recognition and paid for providing this value is the differentiation between a good and a great vendor.
With the Indian economy shifting from an agrarian focus to a service-based industry, a lot of foreign investors are attracted to the nation. However, the sustainability of this is under question. As service experiences from bad to worse and consumers are crying bloody murder in the courts, how will the Great Indian Dream be achieved?
The word service comes from the term – to serve, i.e. to work for another.
I am sure you will agree with me that this is hardly the case these days. To measure the quality of service, all service providers have come up with an excuse called as SLAs (Service Level Agreements). What it means is that the service provider is giving certain time limits for each of his failures, and he won’t recognize the failure until and unless that SLA has been crossed.
Ironically, its very logical and you can’t argue against this. But zoom out a bit and think seriously, if you are providing SLAs for life and death services, what would happen? I won’t call you sick, until you have been sick for three days. Dead until, you have been dead for a day.
I won’t spring into action until and unless the given time goes by.
I will ignore your pleas, until you start shouting murder at me. Then I will create tickets, and play the game of the escalation matrix. Then I will care, and once the issue is resolved, I will stop caring.
As consumers, what can we do?
Well for starters –
- Read the SLA’s before taking on the service. Do they seem reasonable? Try negotiating on the SLAs and make them sharp.
- Clearly define the Plan ‘B’ – What happens if the impossible does happen? What happens if a service promising 99.95% uptime goes down? Who takes the risk and who takes the hit?
- Danda works top-down. Sad, but true. Remember that. If you want the cronies to spring into action, knock at the top.
- Get a back-up. It’s expensive, it’s redundant, but it’s a safety net ready to catch you when Plan ‘A’ fails.
- There’s an interesting start-up Akosha, consider contacting them
- Lastly, switch providers and rinse repeat!