Thursday, September 19, 2013

When you go cloud, remember Perception is Reality

I had the chance to present on a pane on cloud last week at the local 7x24 Exchange conference in Framingham. It was a great event and my fellow panelists, Brad Loomis and Frank DeGilio, were excellent and had a wealth of knowledge. As importantly they kept the conversation flowing and the audience enagaged. I've been on other panels where I'm having all I can do to stay awake and feel bad for the people in the audience doing the same.

But this post actually isn't about that.. well not directly. One of the items we discussed was the changing role of IT in a cloud world, which got me thinking on the ride home. A previous manager used to say "Perception is Reality" and I think it is worth repeating that.

Perception is Reality...

Why is this so important to cloud? Well imagine if you are using a cloud based system to run your company. It could be Google Apps, Microsoft 360, Salesforce, Sugar CRM, or any other application.  Now imagine it is down. Not working. The entire company can't do their jobs....

What would you do? Now the reality is you can't do much. I mean it's not your issue to fix really. You can't go reboot a server. You can't reconfigure a network switch. You can't even tell if it is a database server issue, network or hardware.

You may be tempted to sit in your office with your feet on the desk. The reality is that would be as useful as anything else you can do. Don't do that.

Instead do something useful. Walk around and talk to all the affected people and let them know you and you team are working on it. If you have an operations center bring up the "health dashboard" of the cloud application, or the vendors twitter stream for updates. Get someone on the phone with their support getting updates and communicate them to everyone at your company.

The technical difference is minimal but the perception of IT during this time will be drastically different.


  1. Good advice, in any situation where you don't have any direct control. If you're desktop support and the email system goes down, do walkabout. If you're responsible for the email system and the web page goes down, do walkabout. All hands on deck in a crisis, it's never just the other guy's problem.