Cloud application and remote work

Cloud SaaS vendor often put forward that their application can be implemented remotely contrary to on-premise applications. Is that true? And what does it mean to implement a SaaS remotely?

Can we implement remotely on-premise applications?

Nowadays, many on-premise applications are managed remotely:

  • Infrastructure monitoring and management is outsourced to a team sometimes located thousands of kilometer away.
  • Application management is handled by multiple teams from different locations within the company.
  • With new VPN features, infrastructure and application management can even be carried out outside the company.
  • Companies have implemented all technical tools to work remotely: chat, audio and video conference, shared file management, shared bug tracking.

In truth, the only action that cannot be done remotely is the physical installation of the application, the physical management of the architecture and the physical side of the backups, notably putting tapes in tape reader.

What is different for a Cloud application?

First, in a cloud application, the customer and the implementation team doesn’t have to care about the physical side of the server management. It does still exist: try to ask for a restore of a cloud instance of you application and you will face the traditional delays related to physical actions. But as long as you don’t have to go this low, everything can be done remotely.

On top of this, Cloud providers have implemented a business model where implementation are entirely organized and carried out remotely. But the work could perfectly well be realized on site. And when the implementation requires a link between the Cloud Application and other tools in the company, the vendor will switch to a new model and an on-site team.

What is interesting in working with a remote team?

First, it allows the vendor to create a pool of experienced consultants that share all the time tips and tricks from their implementation. This allows them to become more experienced, compared to traditional team who work isolated with different customers. So, the customer will benefit from better teams.

Secondly, the close proximity between the consultants will enable them to have a more industrial approach for the implementation. The project will be more efficient in this way and the outcome more predictable for the customer.

Last, since the consultant is not working at the customer site, he can work for different customers when his workload is not 100%. So the customers do not pay for the time where the consultant is under-used on site.

In short, working remotely in a pool of consultants will enable the consultants to be more experienced, more efficient and less expensive. And this will benefit immensely the customer.

What are the risks with remote team (and how to mitigate them)?

The main risk lies in the distance.

When everything is fine, everyone sees the benefits. But if the implementation project encounters issues, either functional or technical, the team can become anxious. And the distance will not help lessen the anxiety. On the contrary, emails and phones are increasing it more often than not.

The second risk is the complexity management. When on-site, over a coffee machine, going back and forth to a meeting room, people “small” talk. And those talks are useful to share little details that add together in terms of complexity.  Remotely, the implementations will miss those details.

A recommendation and what the Cloud has brought us

For small projects, remote implementations are perfect and cost effective. Go for it.

For medium and large projects, remote work is efficient but on-site workshops will allow people to share and connect together. This will strengthen their remote work and make them even more efficient.

Remote work is here to last. Let’s make the most of it.