The Ghost Town of SaaS Customer Service

event processing
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Everyone loves Software as a Service (SaaS) these days. It saves money, simplifies deployment, and does an end-around the legendary bureaucracy and obstinance of IT. As some would paint it, SaaS should be able to eat the world and leave the average IT department looking like an underfunded ghost town.

The Ghost Town

Instead, the ghost town is often the SaaS customer service department simply because the model calls for scaling to thousands or millions of customers without a corresponding rise in infrastructure. That’s the SaaS promise: one platform that everyone uses in similar fashion, obviating the need for high-cost, high-touch customer service. If only it really worked that way.

The reality is that it simply doesn’t work that way. In the real world, cloud-based systems have many moving parts and are distributed across geographies and partnerships. Getting to the heart of a problem can often be harder than in the days of highly-tested, on-premise software. A process approach to customer service went out the window a while ago.

We’ve gotten cheaper, but have we gotten better?

Automation to the Rescue

Some have gotten better. Smart companies are looking to automate both the customer service troubleshooting and notifications of service outages as a way to “stay inside” the SaaS economic model.

Help has arrived — just yesterday, another major software company announced its log management tool on the same day that TIBCO released IRIS. Both of these products deliver automated log management that allows for aggregation, analysis, and search of log data — the files generated by applications and networks as they run. This operational intelligence also acts as a troubleshooting knowledge database that constantly improves an organization’s ability to quickly spot and fix problems in the moment.

This log data is truly Big Data in many cases, and the solutions have to be better than opening a log file Notepad and doing a string search. Try doing that across multiple log files simultaneously and you start to see the problem this software solves.

Addressing Security as Well

Log data automation solutions also address another persistent issue with SaaS software: security. The complexity behind the curtain of cloud presents a remarkable challenge for preventing unauthorized access and Denial of Service attacks. Only automation that spots these events in milliseconds can reassure businesses that are heavily regulated or under the gun for personal privacy.

For more enterprises to trust in cloud as part of a hybrid computing environment, solutions like these will need to come to the market quickly. Getting the biggest enterprises into the cloud isn’t necessarily cost, but it’s also a risk model that SaaS hasn’t fully addressed to date. Mission critical applications won’t go to an insecure cloud. 

It’s a safe bet that there will be a fast rise in software that gives the cloud security and reliability.