The Going On-Premise Survival Handbook

Managing Organizational Issues

Set Expectations With Customer IT

Challenge

In the case of an on-premise deployment, the operation of the application is more akin to a partnership between vendor and customer. Many times, the customer will attempt to solve initial issues before escalating. In addition, it may not be clear if the problem is due to customer infrastructure or the application. Most customer’s IT departments have been through frustrating episodes of trying to support vendors’ applications. There are some things you can do to be proactive in alleviating their fears of supporting yours.

Solution

This answer is highly dependent on the service and access level involved but in any case, we highly recommend to have a checklist that services teams can go over and share with the customer. Sharing this information will arm the customer’s IT people responsible for running the application with a clear production roadmap and give them peace of mind when going to production.

Here is a sample production checklist that you can use as a starting point:

System access
Backups and alerting
Monitoring and troubleshooting
Availability expectations
Advanced: Fire Drill Exercises

This is a more advanced, but highly recommended section of the checklist. Services team should conduct basic fire-drill exercises with the customer, if they are sharing operational responsibility, showing basic failure/recovery scenarios:

Prevent Internal Team Fragmentation

Challenge

Hopefully your on-premise offering is successful. If it is, be prepared that as your on-premise offering matures, there are organizational issues that may occur. The most common is fragmentation into two separate teams, the “cloud team” and the “on-prem team”.

Solution

We recommend avoiding this, if at all possible. Instead, train your existing teams to fully migrate to Kubernetes as the only deployment platform supported in the company. Use rotation for ops and services engineers to support cloud and on-prem cases based on bi-weekly or monthly rotation schedule. Set up a rule for the teams to use the exact same deployments for on-prem and cloud application. As a result, there will be no fragmentation, as the same deployment will be done in the cloud and in the on-prem. In our experience, this is important to maintain team morale.

Conclusion

The road to a successful and efficient on-premise offering is hard but can be worth it. You should due your due diligence and make sure you are aware of the steps that should be taken, the investment required and the appropriate amount to charge in order to recover that investment.

We have seen companies significantly increased their revenue and establish deeper relationships with their key customers by offering on-premise offerings of their cloud software. It also signals maturity and leadership among competitors.

There is no silver bullet to solving all these challenges and no platform can claim to be a complete out-of-the-box solution but they can help to alleviate many of the common challenges you will encounter.

When done correctly, the end result is a highly trained and motivated team, improved deployment process, higher revenues and a successful extension of the business line.

We wish you the best in your endeavors!

Sasha Klizhentas and Taylor Wakefield