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14 Jun 2016

Is Proactivity the Holy Grail of Oracle Support?

New customers often make the same comments about their previous Oracle Managed Service provider: over-reliance on key individuals; not feeling valued; poor service yet SLAs attained; and a lack of proactivity. These complaints have changed little over the 15 years I have been involved with Oracle Managed Service delivery and have helped shape Claremont’s approach: we understand the traps we must avoid.

Proactivity vs Reactivity

We regard proactivity as particularly important. The holy grail of support is surely adding value beyond reactive services and not just “keeping the lights on”. We want to help customers improve their systems, prevent issues and work to a clear Oracle roadmap. Our use of experienced UK-based consultants, the assignment of Primary consultants to customers and our Sentinel and problem management processes all support this. By definition there’s always more we can do, but I know we do a pretty good job and deliver far more than our competitors.

“We feel like we are a priority for our account manager who always keeps in touch we us.”
HR Manager Leading Insurance Company

Yet when we conducted an anonymous survey of our Managed Services customers only 75% said we were proactive; the other 25% said we are a reactive organisation. I was disappointed and surprised at this result. But, as ever, the real story lay behind the statistics.

I assumed being described as “reactive” was pejorative feedback from customers that aspire to a more proactive service. However, the details revealed that those 25% of customers are delighted with the service. The nature of their businesses and their Oracle systems mean they value a reactive service where they know expert support will be delivered soon after an incident is identified. To them, this is more important than a proactive service although they still like to receive the proactive services.

customer review

Going beyond the SLA

Bearing in mind the common complaint about poor service despite SLAs adherence, they value that Claremont’s team does not just work to our SLAs. Of course, we have comprehensive SLAs – I believe they’re the best available – but we don’t reward consultants for SLA adherence; we reward them for customers’ satisfaction. And our monthly service reporting shows how much of an SLA was consumed before it was closed, not just raw adherence rates. These reports almost always reveal we consume far less than 50% of the time available under our SLAs. This demonstrates the quality of our reactive services and that we’re not working to SLAs.

“Doesn’t matter who I speak to, I will get someone who will give me a sensible answer.”
IT Manager Leading Engineering Company

I never doubted that our reactive services are excellent. But the focus – for us and customers – is so often on proactivity that it is easy to under-value the reactive side and forget that for some customers this is the priority.

The perfect blend of reactive and proactive services

The lesson is clearly that a successful Managed Service provider must excel at both reactive and proactive services. Furthermore, their Service Management approach must be flexible and engaging enough to understand each customer’s unique needs and priorities. This survey was a useful reminder of this but it was particularly pleasing to see that we do deliver against each customer’s requirements, hence why 100% also said they were satisfied with our services.

Please click here to view the full breakdown of the results from our recent customer survey.

Jonathan Stuart Claremont

Jonathan Stuart

Managed Services Director

Jonathan is Claremont‘s Managed Services Director and is thus responsible for the development and delivery of our Oracle support and hosting services.

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