How to proactively manage your Alfresco Content Services subscription

Posted by Klaus Shipley on 10/18/21 3:27 PM

In Greek mythology, Atlas was a Titan who was condemned to hold up the heavens for all eternity. He was given this sentence because he refused to support the Gods of Olympia. In the world of Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Alfresco is a distinguished industry, Titan, with a reputation for its enterprise-level software. As a result, many companies hope that Alfresco’s software subscription is enough to keep their platform fast, secure and responsive. For some firms this level of support is adequate. However, experience has taught us that without competent support, many companies would end up in the same position as Atlas.

All enterprise subscriptions contain the Alfresco Content Services (ACS) module. ACS is well-tested, supported and considered as enterprise-class software. As an enterprise customer, your contract allows you receive standard support from Alfresco. This standard one-off subscription support relates only to the software and includes a help desk that keeps track of your ongoing technical issues and free access to available bug fixes and service packs. The partner provides second-line software support in collaboration with Alfresco.

Unfortunately, subscriptions don’t come with a service level agreement. Problems such as configuration errors, database tuning, optional configuration, run-time issues, or simply human error are not Alfresco bugs and would require in-house knowledge or external support to resolve.

This is normally when service providers like Xenit are asked to intervene. After our diagnosis, we frequently notice that a small number of problems with ACS are bug-related, and most problems occur in a wide grey zone between environment, configuration, fluctuating demand and exceptional co-occurrence of specific conditions. Here we run into the dilemma: “should the software run well in proven conditions?” or “should the software run in all possible varying conditions, and recover automatically from any external disturbances?”

ALFRESCO MANAGED SERVICES

 

No software is capable of running perfectly in all possible conditions, and to achieve just that, it requires professional services to cover the distance from subscription to service. For instance, if Alfresco crashes or the WebDav interface is no longer available, these are not considered subscription support issues (in many cases neither does the client). However, these scenarios force the service provider to spend time investigating, resolving and fixing incidents retroactively.

 

  Subscription Managed Services
Commitment at defect Bug fixes and improvements with a scheduled release cycle Immediate resolution to restore the service “as good as possible”
KPI Answering times in support

Uptime

Performance

Resolution time

Focus Software functionality

No functional

Tooling

Profiler

Dumps

Monitoring

Observability

(logs, traces, metrics)

Governance NA SLA reports
Mindset Reactive (support) Proactive

 

Typically, professional services include:

  • Accurate and timely diagnoses of all Alfresco related issues, and communicating with Alfresco to help roll out fixes

  • Validating and implementing the solutions and fixes Alfresco provides

  • Separating operational issues from software problems

On the other hand, a managed services contract with this customer would have provided the aforementioned services but more importantly, they would also receive:

  • Quarterly reports that show the status and cumulative uptime of their Alfresco platform

  • Guaranteed uptime of up to 99.9%  *based on SLA agreement

  • Performance tuning in the enterprise based on (environment & resources)

  • Unlimited incident response with minimum 4 hour reaction time

  • Access to an Alfresco monitoring stack, which includes insight and clarity on operations via our monitoring tools (Alfred Ops, Grafana, Kibana with our telemetry).

3 TIERS TO MEET YOUR NEEDS

As a platform service provider, we take pride in the commitments we make to our premium customers, as a matter of course we ensure that each client has a dedicated team of at least 2 engineers and an account manager to support each SLA. This gives us the freedom to be proactive; meaning we can anticipate problems, monitor resources, and measure performance while creating insights into ACS. This is how we provide higher levels of service with fewer production interruptions, and all of this (presumably) at a lower cost.

For some organizations having a one-time support subscription from Alfresco is sufficient. These cases typically occur when Alfresco does not store content that is central to the business operations or the environment does not face demanding or increasing service requirements. In contrast, companies that run critical services on Alfresco or who have complicated software architectures should have an additional level of service, if only to be pragmatic. For that reason, we have created 3 SLA plans that can meet the needs of a wide range of requirements. These packages are the Start, Business and Enterprise level SLA. Each level allows us to interact with the customer at a level that is convenient to them.

STARTER

The Starter Tier offers smaller companies (between 25-150 users) the chance to get Alfred at a low cost. They gain access to the main components of Alfred (Desktop, Finder and API).  In this Tier, the customer receives a reaction time guarantee only. The cost reduction in the lower tiers helps these customers to benefit from Alfred’s User Interfaces and as a customer, they can access Xenit’s service team through our help desk. However, Xenit will charge the customer on a Time and Material basis whenever we help to resolve Alfresco-related issues.

BUSINESS

The Business Tier offers Small and medium-sized enterprises (between 300-1000 users) the chance to get the entire Alfred product suite. They gain access to all components of Alfred along with unlimited incident support by Xenit’s trained professionals. Together the software and services provide a reliable platform that customers realize as a sign of quality and reliability. At this Tier, Alfred provides a robust uptime of at least 98% and the customer will receive unlimited support requests.

ENTERPRISE

The enterprise Tier provides larger companies with many calls at a discounted rate and an SLA that makes sure their ECM environment maintains a 99.5% uptime status. the Stability of an ECM is key to many enterprises, they function most optimally with as little downtime as possible, so we combined our SLA with our product set that guarantees a Performant alfresco. we took the results given to our best clients and applied them to our service level agreement.

 

Alfred Alfresco Managed Services

Alfred Alfresco Managed Services

 

As suggested in the user base descriptions, our pricing is typically aligned with our known customers base which includes firms from the financial, insurance, industry, digital asset management and government sectors. These entities require service levels that support more complicated or dual instance Alfresco setups. We did not include development support prices because these are difficult to put into scope. However, if we are connected to your production environment it is easier to properly budget for development work.

Like Atlas, many organizations are under pressure while trying to keep Alfresco performant, secure and responsive. We believe the solution to alleviate this burden is to offer proactive support. Our tailored SLA ensures a guaranteed level of availability, and swift incident response. Subsequently, our hands-on approach and powerful software will reduce unexpected service interruptions. All of which provides assurance that your service is in capable hands, or in our case capable shoulders.

 

Topics: Alfresco, Community, intelligent information managements, Hyland, ACS, Alfresco Content Services, upgrade, enterprise, managed services

About Xenit 

 

Xenit is a Belgium-based IT company, focusing  on content services solutions, and covering all document-related business processes, from data migration to digital archive to hybrid/cloud hosting solution, to help organizations get control of their information. Premier Partner and System Integrator of Alfresco Digital Business Platform, Xenit has more than 10 years of experience in Alfresco Content and Process Services.

 

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