First let’s talk about Application Management Services or “AMS” support and why it is becoming so important for organizations to include as a component of IT/Business strategy. There are three significant trends impacting the demand and nature of support services delivery.
Legacy Applications: Three Generations to Support
First, technology and functional groups today are being asked to support applications from three or more generations of development cycles:
- Historic legacy applications such as mainframe/green screen and Cobol-driven business logic;
- Recent legacy applications such as client server (ERP or COTS) applications built on newer platforms and in many cases delivered through the Internet (Oracle & SAP have several apps in this category, in addition to a lot of custom development players); and
- Most recently, SaaS applications.
All of these technology shifts require completely different skillsets, and in many cases, are being supported with different methodologies in various camps of efficiency and maturity.
Where’s the Talent?
Second, the labor pools required to support the legacy applications above continue to contract. This is especially painful for organizations that have tight salary models that do not adjust to supply and demand factors, have complex hiring processes, or are located outside of major metropolitan areas. Finding and retaining talent to support all of an organization’s applications has become difficult if not impossible. Additionally, keeping your highly specialized and expensive talent, like an Oracle DBA or a SOA expert, busy full time can often be a challenge.
How Do We Keep UP?
Third, market innovation is driving forward at an incredible pace. Organizations attempting to manage the scale of legacy application deployment, labor and talent issues, and the budgets needed to maintain both are generally not focused on keeping up with the innovation curve. Instead, the focus is on supporting applications that are not value-added to the user community, leaving little funding or time for anything else. Technology is an incredibly powerful tool if wielded with intent and focus, as long as that focus is forward.
Let me back up now and say that AMS Support, first and foremost, is an applications agnostic concept. All organizations do it, some more efficiently and methodically than others, and some at a higher cost than others for a similar applications footprint. Regardless, the above trends impact us all.
Traditional AMS Support Solutions
Traditional AMS support offerings, largely ad hoc utilization of full or part-time resources on- or off-site or off shore, can be utilized successfully on the legacy or new technology end of the application spectrum. These solutions, although rarely utilized, can be successful in the short term in lowering overall support costs. Inserting such resources into an existing customer support structure will yield success as defined by the client. What it will not do is satisfy continuous improvement or efficiency gains expected by senior leadership.
Enter “SMART AMS”
Which takes us to SMARTTM – Sierra-Cedar’s applications agnostic methodology for driving Application Support and continuous improvement and for building organizational efficiencies. This methodology was built specifically for supporting an organization’s entire inventory of information systems and accounts for the unique trends and challenges that organizations face.
With SMARTTM , our highly skilled team transitions your organization to AMS one application at a time. This methodology allows us to support all of your applications, not just Oracle solutions. Based on 30 years of AMS delivery experience and industry best practices, it is non-invasive and non-disruptive and results in continuous productivity improvements, improved service, and value creation for our clients. Because our experts are working on multiple applications across multiple clients, we can provide a highly skilled staff.
With its highly flexible staffing model, it can be scaled to work with both small- and large-scale AMS support requirements, delivering platform agnostic process structure and cost savings. It includes governance, reporting, tracking, knowledge based standards and training components, all wrapped around a rock solid SLA.
What’s Right for Your Institution?
If you are dealing with inefficiencies tied to supporting generations of applications, finding that hiring and retaining talent is becoming increasingly difficult or looking to jump ahead on the market innovation curve, the time may be right for you to seriously consider SMARTTM. After all, without a singular methodology for delivering AMS services and continuous improvement, the intended “solution” will only end up prolonging the issue.
Join me at Alliance 2013 for Outsourcing Application Management Services: What’s Right for your Institution? During this discussion, you will also hear from college and university IT leaders on how they have approached AMS.
Alliance Session Number: 31371
March 18, 2013