This is Part 4 of a series that compares in-house personnel, consultants and remote DBA service providers.  In Part 1, we talked about the cost reduction benefits that remote DBA service providers offer customers.  In Part 2, we discussed service continuity and quality as well as the flexibility benefits customers receive when utilizing a remote DBA service provider.  In Part 3, we reviewed the benefits of collective knowledge and deep dive subject matter expertise.



In part 4 of the Remote DBA Benefits Comparison Series, we’ll discuss how remote DBA providers deliver personalized services to customers.  I use RDX’s service delivery approach as an example of how remote DBA providers can exceed the quality of work performed by in-house personnel or consultants.



Can I Still Get Personalized Service Remotely?



Two of the more common questions that we are asked when customers are comparing us to in-house personnel or onsite consultants are “Will you know everything about my environment as well as we do?” and “How will you know what is truly important to my shop?”



I was very aware of these questions as I had the same worries when I was as a customer of a remote services provider. I wanted the provider’s staff to intimately know my environment as well as we did and become part of my team. I wanted them to have the same sense of ownership of our critical systems as my in-house personnel did.  When our systems “hiccupped,” I wanted them to take it personally.



A critical component of RDX’s service delivery strategy is the concept of Primary and Secondary DBAs. Customers utilizing RDX receive the personal service of assigned Primary and Secondary DBAs, DBAs who are responsible for learning your environment to ensure we deliver consistent, high quality support.



DBAs are assigned to the customer based on the database products deployed, features utilized and corporate personality profile.  They have to “gel” with your staff.  Primary DBAs are the owners of that account and become responsible for the customer’s satisfaction with RDX services. They are also responsible for learning the customer’s toolsets, overall support and change management strategies, what makes them “lay awake nights” and day-to-day support requirements.



Their goal is build a strong rapport and level of trust with your organization. They know you and your team on a first-name basis.  RDX Primary DBAs perform the bulk of the administrative activities. They do not act as “pass throughs” who assign work requests to the cheapest resource possible. RDX DBAs will assign activities to Secondary DBAs and Subject Matter Experts, but they know the skill sets and experience of the team member being assigned the requests. Primaries assume 100% ownership of your systems.  When it “hiccups,” they take it personally. They’re good DBAs, and that’s what good DBAs do.



Some customers express reservations such as “I do so much development, I want my DBA close.”  It’s perfectly understandable, as DBAs play a crucial role in the database-driven application design and development process.  Once customers expressing this reservation understand that our staff is just a phone call away and is willing to participate in every design and development discussion, they become less concerned.  RDX’s goal is to make our DBAs our customers’ DBAs. Customers can talk with them using their preferred communication mechanism including work request tickets, phone calls, email or customer preferred chat.



When video became widely accepted as a communication mechanism, I established a team to begin testing RDX/customer video discussions.  I had the utopian vision that video communications were going to make remote services even more personal.  I was hoping that our personnel’s interest in their customers’ successes would readily show through on the video and that our customers would be taken aback by the benefits of video-driven discussions.



After asking all of the customers participating in the video communication testing to complete a survey, their overall thoughts could be summed up as “MEH – Video is OK but voice still works great for us.” We still offer video if requested, but it just isn’t requested.  When a customer wants a DBA to participate in deep-dive design and development discussions, RDX will send folks onsite or communicate by voice.



The benefit of RDX is that our customers are able to receive this personalized service –service that can be compared to the service provided by internal personnel and consultants.  But that personalized service is also backed by a support engine consisting of tools, technologies, best practices, collective knowledge and designated Subject Matter Experts, benefits that don’t come prepackaged with internal hires or onsite consultants.



Customers of RDX aren’t buying the skill sets of a single employee or consultant; they are buying the business value provided by a remote services provider with 20 years of experience. To be a little blunt, we’ve had 20 years to work the bugs out, and I believe we are a time-tested, in-the-trenches proven, high quality remote DBA services provider.



Conclusion



Hopefully this series provides readers with a better understanding of the benefits that remote services providers, like RDX, offer. Outsourcing evaluations will always have cost as a comparison factor, but as a purchaser and provider of remote services, I think it is important for customers considering RDX as a staffing alternative to completely understand the value we provide, a value that greatly exceeds the benefits that can be provided by employees and on-site consultants.