February 9 2006: Hosted App Customers Look for SLAs with Teeth

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Here is one of my unsolicited opinions! One of our vendors had a technology problem that caused issues for us. Good thing this was the last of the issues, our experience with Salesforce.com has been great in the past 18 months and have noticed minimal downtime, aside from scheduled maintenance on the weekends!

She said that because the outages are becoming “far too frequent” she will look into obtaining a SLA, something she hadn’t considered last year when DNF contracted with Salesforce.

“It’s one thing we didn’t inquire about. Last year we probably had no outages; this year it’s a lot more frequent. I’m sure if they run their numbers now, uptime will is probably still technically 99.9 percent, but now it’s occurring during business hours” said Ervin, in Hayward, Calif.

“Our organization is using Salesforce for a lot of things—production, checking our orders that go out—and it causes a lot more problems when the system goes down. We’re going to look into a SLA.”

Ervin will look for what kind of compensation her company can expect in the event of further outages, what contingency plans Salesforce has in place, and that it’s improving its offline access.

“If that could be more full featured so you could log into cases, it would be a more workable solution,” she said.

Coincidentally, Salesforce is also pushing more support, at a higher premium, according to Ervin.

“Salesforce is encouraging customers to upgrade to premium technical support,” she said. “It isn’t really clear what benefits you get since it of course does not compensate for system downtime.”

Ervin said that for $2,000 more she can get 10 hours annually of premium support from Salesforce.

“We get lots and lots of e-mails about it,” Ervin said. “It says you get faster answers to your questions. Our questions are all about downtime.”

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