Dr. Ferri Abolhassan
1. September 2015 0

Quality is everything

At first glance, cloud computing offers a huge range of choices: private, public or hybrid? Hosted at a German data center, with the corresponding strict data privacy regulations and optimum data security? Or simply where it’s cheapest, even if the providers do not give top priority to service or security? Globally scalable platforms and infrastructures or by-the-numbers cloud? – Without a doubt, users today can choose from a nearly unfathomable variety of services, platforms and delivery models. And their ultimate decision largely depends on individual factors: security needs play a role, as do the care the provider exercises in handling data, the user-friendliness of the offering, the experience the service provider brings to the table – and sometimes only the cost counts.

Therefore, we face a compulsory exercise as an IT provider: we regularly review the market to see whether our services are positioned correctly and whether our strategy is actually serving our customers’ needs. That’s why we surveyed the experts at ISG – the world’s leading outsourcing provider. The results are clear, as a few examples show.

According to ISG, IT quality is a primary decision-making criterion in the selection of a service provider, one which the customers actively demand. 98 percent of those surveyed indicated that IT quality is “very often” or “always” decisive.

Especially in the digitization context, IT quality – in the sense of reliable, stable IT processes – continues to increase in importance. IT quality is the foundation for innovation. The survey of the ISG advisors confirms this: 97 percent of those surveyed indicated that IT quality has become “highly” and even “very highly” critical to the success of individual business processes at companies.

For us, these statements do not leave any doubt: quality is the factor that counts most and cloud providers like us have to do everything possible to guarantee the maximum quality and reliability of their IT. That’s why I am absolutely convinced that our Zero Outage program for quality assurance remains without alternative. We have invested many millions of euros since the start of the program and had TÜV Rheinland test and certify the effectiveness of all of its processes.

At the same time, it is clear that there is no such thing as IT without incidents or 100 percent reliability. But the target of 99.999 percent reliability can be achieved. That corresponds to around five minutes of downtime per year. To do so, we have established a sophisticated interplay between people and technology to ensure high-availability, ? stable, secure IT. An MoD (manager on duty), for example, is available as a contact person around the clock. These quality managers coordinate all activities, take the lead in finding a solution and remain on board as the person responsible until business operations are restored. The same applies to me and my colleagues in top management: a representative is really available to the incident team around the clock. In an emergency, the team can call on someone from top management – even if it’s in the middle of the night or on a weekend. And we don’t only apply this approach to sudden, unexpected incidents, but also to the “normal” planned updates (changes), of which we handle nearly 300,000 each year.

For us, quality means that we always take care of the little things, the details, down to the very last adjustments. And when ISG states that “quality management is decisive to success at all levels,” I agree with this opinion completely, based on my practical experience. After all, according to the study, quality “should be implemented at the process, technology, organizational and employee levels.”

My personal summary: particularly in the context of digital transformation, our customer’s demands of us are defined clearly and unambiguously. This is confirmed not only by the results of the study, but also in our many meetings with our customers. And it is also clear that we have to reaffirm the trust they have placed in us every single day.

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