Research firm Vanson Bourne has canvassed a sample of 200 chief information officers (CIOs) for their feedback on cloud computing. The results show that almost all (186 out of 200) use the cloud in some form. However, almost as many of them (160 of the 200 CIOs) agreed that ‘ripped off’ was the multiple choice answer that best described their feelings over support services.
If the survey was statistically significant and was representative of industry wide sentiment, then 80 per cent of British businesses feel they are paying a high premium for basic support on their cloud services. While the penetration of cloud computing is high, with 93 per cent of businesses now using ‘some form’ of the service, some 84 per cent of the total sample said that it has not met their expectations on reducing support.
The most common problems presented by the survey were: slow response times to customer service queries (which was identified by 47 per cent of the sample), call handlers lacking technical knowledge (41 per cent), over-use of automated phone lines (33 per cent), complicated escalation processes (28 per cent) and a lack of 24/7 cover (19 per cent).
The results suggest that support from service providers is poor, according to Richard Davies, CEO of service provider ElasticHosts, which sponsored the independent study.
Companies adopt cloud in order to remove the headache of managing IT and the burden on in-house IT staff, so they expect to provide less support themselves, Davies said. For precisely that reason, the cloud service provider must not run a skeleton support service, Davies argued. Too often, according to Davies, companies have to pay a high premium to get the same level of service they got from their internal support.
“When using any service, you want to be able to ask questions, whether to learn how to configure a server or to query a bill. You should be able to do this without having to pay a hefty premium,” said Davies.
Asking a cloud service a technical question frequently involves a long wait and a call that is re-routed through an automated service. Ultimately a human call handler will admit they don’t know the answer, according to Davies.
“The industry should be doing more to help customers,” said Davies, “the first contact for support should be an engineer with strong technical understanding of the service.”