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What Happens When DBAs Move from Fear to Freedom?

Eric Russo | | January 15, 2019

Managers in organizations of all sizes face often-challenging reactions from existing staff when they are told that the firm is hiring a cloud-based database management services provider. Moving staff from this position of fear to one of confidence is key to achieving success with cloud-based services.

Benefits to Existing Staff

First, what are the benefits and how can you articulate them to your staff? One of the biggest selling points for staff is that using cloud-based database management services will eventually free them to do the work they need and want to do. Learn how to achieve this by downloading our DBA Superpowers Unleashed white paper.

As an executive in charge of database operations explains in a recent interview, her firm did not immediately see the value of working with a cloud-based database management services provider. This financial services firm was challenged by the exponential growth in its data and burned-out database administrators. It gradually introduced managed services to supplement the in-house team.

Managed services brought several benefits to the organization, including improved database performance and employee satisfaction. This resulted in the retention of in-house database administrators. But it took time and patience for this executive to reach acceptance from her staff.

When she was first hired, this high-level database manager saw her team constantly struggling with database stability and horrible system performance. Because they were forced to continually attend to routine tasks, employees had to work long hours and weekends to respond to emergencies and keep the system operational for the firm’s customers. There wasn’t sufficient time for the talented group of employees to do more, she says, than keep their heads above water. The massive workload resulted in frustrated database administrators and customers.

Introducing a Managed Services Support Team

The hiring of this manager was the start of a three-year organizational transformation. Following a health check, the team knew the scope of the work ahead of them. In addition to ongoing production support, the database team needed to continue with project-based work so the organization could remain competitive in the market. The team also found it needed to become more integrated in the organization to help customers adequately meet their ongoing, data-driven business challenges.

Executives from the financial services company looked at other outsourcing and staff augmentation options, none of which fit their needs. “Datavail has a very unique model in that they are more an extension of our team,” the database manager says. “They took a lot of the day-to-day care and feeding of the database off of us. It wasn’t outsourcing. It wasn’t staff augmentation.”

One real concern for the database team – despite its current problems with the databases and meeting increased customer demand – was gaining specific assurance from management any outside vendor could meet customer needs with high-quality services and responsiveness. The firm’s employees were also concerned they would lose their jobs or control of their work as a result of outsourcing. System security was another dominant worry.

Addressing these concerns required open, ongoing conversations with staff, says the manager. She also involved her database administrators in the contract negotiations with Datavail to ensure transparency and give her staff a stake in the process. She notes that establishing trust was initially difficult.

To help the managed services option meet less resistance within the organization, she says, she consciously did not refer to “outsourcing” or “off-shoring.” This helped ease the staff’s fears about job loss.

Places to Work: From Worst to First

The firm benefits from its database administrators having round-the-clock support, which eases staff frustration. The remote DBAs act as an extension of the existing team, taking care of essential tasks such as call ticket response and allowing on-staff database administrators to concentrate on high-value business development projects.

By including a time-shifted component in the contract – using a fresh remote team on nights and weekends – the client’s manager enabled her database administrators to get their nights and weekends back. Ensuring this was a non-negotiable issue for her, because none of the other efforts at database improvement would work if her DBAs felt miserable and tired.

In-house database administrators were ultimately relieved of routine maintenance tasks so they could focus on systems improvement. This gave the core staff the freedom to pick and choose the projects they wished to tackle.

Staff members’ initial reluctance was ultimately trumped by growing trust in the relationship with Datavail. “They knew that Datavail had their backs,” notes the manager.

To discuss how you can support your database administration team by using a cloud-based database management services provider to help you more fully leverage the time and resources invested in your staff, please contact Datavail for more information on how we might best support you and your organization with custom solutions tailored to your needs.

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