Another outage, another dashboard

Finally, Google has followed a long line of leading SaaS and cloud providers trying to break into the enterprise market in introducing a status dashboard. Why did it take so long? This is now baseline best practice for providers.

From the I-told-you-so department. Finally, Google has followed a long line of leading SaaS and cloud providers trying to break into the enterprise market in introducing a status dashboard for Google Apps.

I called on Google to do this in August last year, warning that if the company didn't do so, it would not only be bad for Google's reputation but also for the rest of the industry:

"If it doesn't take suitable action, the snowballing subscriber volumes of businesses that are signing up for Google Apps are going to get a poor introduction to SaaS, which is no good for Google and bad for the industry as a whole."

So, yesterday there was a Gmail outage and today, guess what? Google rolls out a status dashboard it just happened to have waiting in the wings. Why oh why do providers always, always have to wait until after a damaging outage before they do this? Wait, didn't I already say that exactly one year ago?

"What I can't understand is, why do providers only understand this after they've suffered a major outage? Salesforce.com learnt its lesson two years ago ... Why on earth Amazon couldn't have invested in a similar system to keep customers informed is beyond me."

Two months after I wrote the above, Amazon rolled out its service health dashboard. Just like, two years previously, I had called on Salesforce.com in the wake of its damaging pre-Christmas 2005 outage to publish live service metrics on a dashboard and two months afterwards came the launch of the trust.salesforce.com dashboard.

Intelligent readers may begin to see a pattern emerging here. If you're a SaaS provider reading this and your service doesn't have a status dashboard, then please, act now. Get one up and running, before your customers migrate to a rival that does. This is now baseline default best practice for SaaS and cloud. While you're at it, you might want to instigate the other four elements of my suggested five-point code of practice for the SaaS industry. Just in case I turn out to be right about those, too.