A whole new aspect native to the Cloud space is deciding what operational information to share with subscribers regarding your environment, how often to share it, and how to share it. This is a customer relationship management issue, and it's important because transparency promotes trust. The points about failures and information sharing in the prior blog post are very much a part of building and maintaining that trust. But in the day-to-day operations as well, not just in an outage situation, cloud subscribers need trust in their cloud provider; They need a trustworthy cloud service provider. They need to be able to work with their provider on a range of topics, getting the information needed to make decisions, and to support their end users. If the provider is holding back and not sharing information easily, or not being timely with needed information, there is a gap in trust – or just plain responsiveness - which can prevent a deal. It's important to prove as a provider that we are prepared to share the right information, at the right time and with the right frequency, in the right channel, and in the right language. Information that applies to the entire service, like system availability history, might be shared publically, while other information such as usage statistics for a specific company, is naturally restricted to just the subscribing company. Our LotusLive (SmartCloud) system publishes system status information, but not yet history. We have developed a system status dashboard that includes history, but we need to automate a few data flows before we put it into production with daily updates. The onboarding process, one aspect of which was mentioned in cloud difference # 16 “Onboarding requires malware scan”, is another example of the importance of clear and timely communications. It sounds simple enough, but if you come from a legacy background of providing on-premises software, chances are these communication channels were not designed with cloud services in mind, and there is work to do in order to adapt and put adequate mechanisms in place.
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