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Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Mandy Edwards, CIO Of Sitel (Part 7)

Posted on Thursday, Jun 2nd 2011

By Sramana Mitra and guest author Siddharth Garg

Sramana Mitra: That is true on the marketing side. You are talking about the pre-sale situation, market research situation where customers are trying to make a decision. But what about the actual customer support piece where you are a customer and you have bought a product. I had this experience recently, and it is really irritating me. I was calling Comcast for customer support with something, and I was kept on the phone. There is this relationship between Comcast and Netgear, and I had a problem with my Netgear equipment, but it was on the Comcast line. So, Comcast and Netgear kept pushing me back and forth this way and that way and I was being kept on the phone for hours!

So, this is a situation where, conceivably, there are lots of other customers out there who know exactly how to configure a Netgear extender to work with Comcast. I would love to be connected to knowledgeable consumers, not call center agents who keep me waiting for hours. Why can’t the system connect me to some level of customer support, as opposed to keeping me waiting and making me so frustrated?

Mandy Edwards: I think that one’s knowledge base contains information. The next step with the knowledge base is to open it up to the community.

Sramana: Right, and it is not only the knowledge base opening up to the community. I think we are at a point, especially with technology products, where our lives are increasingly being taken over by gadgets. And that is not in a world that is not technology savvy; this is a world where there are expert users, and they are passionate expert users. Where I was going with this is that what are do you see with your customers? Are some of your 300 customers starting to use these behaviors and practices? Who are the leaders in that area?

Mandy: I really can’t comment on that because I am just not seeing it. I understand completely where you are going, but from my own perspective, I would be very cautious about getting unendorsed information that doesn’t come from the company and the implications and risks associated with doing so.

Sramana: OK. Let’s switch gears; I wanted to ask you for a perspective on open opportunities, blue-sky opportunities that you see from where you sit. I run a program called One Million by One Million, and its goal is to help a million entrepreneurs reach $1 million in annual revenue. One of the questions we ask the CIOs that we bring on to the series is about open problems that they would like to see technology entrepreneurs address?

Mandy: I believe one of the biggest challenges – and in turn, the biggest opportunity – in accelerating the cloud adoption curve centers on scalability. By definition, the cloud is all about scale, yet many of today’s providers are defined as niche players and lack the ability to support the organizational and technological depth of larger organizations. If you want the next light bulb idea, you have to focus on security, compliance, and the ability to scale. Without it, the cloud loses value in a broader business sense.

One way to really drive this forward might be to have a well-known company establish a level of “cloud certification” on a large-scale platform that can be leveraged by smaller application companies. This would meet the criteria and requirements of more businesses – whether large or small – and provide a more flexible way for widespread delivery.

Sramana: Great. This has been very helpful to readers. Thank you, Mandy.

Mandy: Bye, thank you.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Mandy Edwards, CIO Of Sitel
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