Thriving After Your Cloud App Goes Live: Q&A with Apria

March 26, 2013 Appirio

by Naoki Tsukamoto

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with JP Villanueva, Administrator of Referral Process Management at Coram, an Apria healthcare company, about effectively managing their cloud application after go-live.  Coram is a national provider of home infusion services and specialty pharmacy distribution with more than 85 branch locations across the country.  Coram has over 700 users using Salesforce.com’s Service Cloud to drive operational efficiencies that will allow for quick patient acceptance of referral requests.

Q:  How long have you been live with your cloud?  And what was the biggest surprise in managing your cloud after going live?
JPV: We’ve been live on Service Cloud for referral process management for just over a year and been using Cloud Management since it’s gone live. The biggest surprise has been the capability of the Cloud Management team. Their ability to rapidly develop and deploy solutions into production was key to the success of our rollout.

Q: What aspects of post go live support do you use Cloud Management for?  And what were the benefits?
JPV: We mainly use Cloud Management for enhancements to the referral process management application that Appirio built for us.  They are an extension to our application support team.

With Cloud Management, we are able to respond much faster to business needs.  We can have an idea for an enhancement and the development team can have a working solution or offer multiple solutions usually within 1-2 business days.  We can even identify and resolve issues before the business reports them.

Q: What kind of advice and best practices recommendations have you received from the Cloud Management team?  And how have they benefited your org?
JPV: The best advice I’ve received from our Cloud Management partners is to simplify and leverage standard Salesforce functionality! The benefits are time-savings for everyone involved and tighter, more impactful releases.  It’s challenging to push back sometimes on your business partners who insist that they need enhancements done in a specific way, so it’s helpful to have a sanity check with experienced cloud professionals that the standard functionality was more than sufficient for other businesses.

Q: Has having Cloud Management enabled your internal teams to get more value from upcoming releases? 
JPV: Without a doubt. The successful deployment of our application is all about internal team communication during the referral process.  We couldn’t have made the leaps in our own internal communication without the release management discipline developed through Cloud Management. For example, better case queue management and detailed email notifications out to the field.  I have very little to worry about when it comes to new releases. There have been very few surprises when working with Cloud Management. I am still astounded at how few helpdesk tickets I get in regards to Salesforce relative to our other applications.  From a support perspective, I can support 700+ users pretty much by myself, allowing me to focus on delivering higher value benefits to the business.

Q: Can you provide examples of how you have been able to deliver value to users after go-live using Cloud Management?
JPV: One of the top enhancements over the past year has been updating the sales email notifications to make them more user-friendly, which got tremendous kudos. It got the sales team the right information at the right time.  Another benefit was making it easier for users to traverse related lists, which has been a huge time saver for them.  And Cloud Management has made it easier to manage our backlog queue, which has been a time saver for me and has enabled our teams to deliver value faster to end users.

Q: What advice would you give to your peers who are considering to extend their teams with post go-live support?
JPV: This may sound odd, but have good requirements. What you get will only be as good as the effort you put into detailing out what the business needs and why. Then you can let the development team have the freedom to come up with creative solutions that will astound your business.

Q: How would you like to see Cloud Management improved? 

JPV: It’s tough to say at this point. Cloud Management service has listened and taken action on my feedback from all the weekly surveys that I filled out.  And my Cloud Management lead has taken immediate action on everything I’ve asked for in the past year like additional support, more detailed developer feedback, etc. The Cloud Management team is extremely efficient and easy to work with. I wish all of our vendors were as professional and speedy in delivering application enhancements.

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