One of SoftLayer's driving principles is innovation — Our mantra is 'Innovate or Die.' We don't focus on offering the lowest cost solutions; we strive to offer the most innovative solutions, which in turn brings customers the greatest value.
Take as an example SoftLayer Managed Hosting, a new service we're launching this week.
A quick survey of the market tells us a number of key things about managed hosting in terms of the value proposition offered, as well as the challenges that it can present. The value proposition seems clear: Organizations that need their infrastructure managed and don't have the internal resources to do so can either expand their IT capabilities or look externally to a service provider to take on the work. Many choose the second option because it is much faster and more cost effective than building an internal function. Elimination of infrastructure management responsibilities combined with a lower price would seem to deliver significant value.
So where's the downside?
A typical managed services deal comes with a 3-5 year contract, often accompanied by an early termination fee. The end result: customer lock-in. If the service is not up to snuff, it is difficult to move to another provider.
This is great for the provider, but not so great for the customer. To make matters even less customer-centric, these deals tend to be "all or none" affairs. The service provider wants to add management fees to everything versus just those pieces that the customer wants managed. In addition to that, provisioning time can be horrendous. A managed environment typically takes anywhere from 10-15 business days before the customer can access the environment. That's a painful length of time when you compare it with the five minutes it takes to provision a SoftLayer cloud instance and the 2-4 hours it takes to get a dedicated box online and ready for you.
Understanding the competitive landscape, we decided to take a different approach with our Managed Hosting: The innovative approach.
Instead of a 10-15 day provisioning window, we'll have your managed environment up and running within one (1) business day of ordering.
From a contract perspective, we are confident enough in our service to offer a month-to-month terms. If you don't like the service or if we can't deliver, you should be free to find a provider that meets your needs — no penalties incurred. Isn't it time to expect a provider to earn your business each month? This arrangement also makes managed hosting feasible for short-term needs and applications.
Additionally, SoftLayer Managed Hosting is not "all or none." We'll manage only the pieces of the solution that you want managed.
And to top everything off, it just so happens that we can deliver these solutions at a price point lower than anyone else in the market because of the platform's flexibility.
In this case, innovation brings customers the greatest service value AND the best price!
P.S. Neovise prepared a detailed report on our managed hosting offering: A New Breed of Managed Hosting for the Cloud Computing Age. If you like white papers (and who doesn't?), it'll be right up your alley.