It’s simply a fact of life: cloud applications go down. Whether that application is running within your corporate firewall on your own private servers, or out in the “ethers”, how you react to downtime is critical. It doesn’t matter who your end-users are: employees, suppliers, or customers; communicating the status of unexpected and planned system events has a direct impact on your company’s top and bottom line.
the product we sold was built and re-deployed thousands of times (long before slipstream deployments were commonplace and helped reduce downtime).
we had seemingly countless “scheduled maintenance” events where we had to upgrade either our hardware, software, or some other infrastructural component. You would be surprised how many times we had to announce scheduled maintenance because our co-location facility told us that they would be doing the same.
and as much as we hate to admit it, just like every other cloud-based application that has ever been built, we suffered our share of downtime and application performance problems as a result of unforeseen circumstances.
As the years went by and our support teams changed hands, the process (or lack thereof) changed as well. The amount of time we provided notice before scheduled maintenance events was never set in stone. The language used within unexpected system outages rarely found the right balance between providing the customers too much or too little information. And to top it off, no matter what we did, nothing seemed to reduce the number of irate customers calling our help desk, even if we gave them weeks of advance notice.
Overstressed help desks. When applications become unavailable, the natural response of its users are to reach out and find what’s wrong. Any application with more than a handful of users is going to quickly inundate your help desk team with inbound support requests. The expense of having your help desk respond to each of these requests with (hopefully) the same message over and over again, should not be overlooked.
Lost employee productivity – Frustrated and idle employees are a nightmare and costly. The Aberdeen Group’s estimates an average size company loses $110,000 an hour when an application becomes unavailable. Your goal as someone managing downtime should be to make those times frictionless for your users. This means having a process in place that proactively keeps your users in the know so they can be as efficient as possible. If you sell a SaaS, frustrated customers don’t translate to lost employee productivity, they translate to ex-customers.
Create a culture of communication. It should be hardwired into your team’s DNA: when something goes wrong, before we even start looking at the problem, let the customers know.
Here at StatusCast we understand the importance of a resourceful and communicative status page. A...