The Importance of Support

One of our key delivery values for Gaia Resources is to make sure that we deliver the best holistic solution for our clients, and a big part of that is how we deliver our support services.

Support for our clients is something that we take seriously and over the last year or so we’ve been evolving and changing our offerings around it.  This is all driven by the fact that, we need to shepherd our resources (mainly our time) very carefully – we need to make sure we can plan the time required for delivering on projects as well as have the time available for making sure our launched projects are cared for.

Therefore we have decided to implement a new set of Service Level agreements (SLAs) for our support offerings. For those not familiar with SLAs, they are formally defined agreement between the vendor and the customer, which provides a common understanding around the important parts of the SLA – the level of service, covering areas such as response times, scope, priorities, responsibilities and the like.  In simple terms, we are providing a promise we will respond and resolve the issue within an agreed timeframe.  The quicker the times, the more valuable (and expensive) the agreement is – we can turn the dial up to 11 if the client needs us to!

We also recognise that we have clients of different sizes, so it makes sense to have a four tiered approach – making sure we have solutions that fit the needs and the budget of our clients.  The Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum SLAs all have different costs but the key differentiator is the response times for us to respond to our client’s requests, and the amount of time we include each month to provide support.  We also still offer the a lower cost (Time and Materials) approach for those that do not want to engage in an SLA and are happy to engage us only when required – which helps if you have smaller systems, or smaller budgets.

So why are we revising our support offerings to the new set of SLAs?  Primarily it is from our experiences on supporting the bigger projects we do now (such as with the Queensland State Archives, as we wrote about recently), but the main reason is also to address two primary needs:

  • Future planning – by locking in an SLA, we can schedule our core work with greater accuracy, giving a better service.  The client knows how many hours are available for support for the year, and we know in advance the time that your SLA will require and have it scheduled in.  If nothing breaks, (which is generally the case) then the hours are used on preventive maintenance or enhancements, and 
  • Confidence and security – our clients are assured that timely support will be coming, and know what your response time and resolution time will be on any issue that arises.  This provides more certainty than the previous more informal approaches that we used to reduce the cost to the clients.

Simply put, we wish to make sure we have the right time available for support while making sure we can continue doing good work on our projects that are also running concurrently.  This assists in reducing bottlenecks which can have a cascading effect on productivity across the organisation.  At the same time, our client is getting a ‘locked in’ response time at a scale that matches their needs – and budget.

We’ve been listening to our clients who wanted to see some change, and we think that these Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum SLAs will capture these and provide a solid basis for the ongoing delivery of support services from Gaia Resources to our clients.

If you have any questions around support,  or what these services can do for you, feel free to email me or strike up a conversation on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

Gus

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