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8 Tips for Application Maintenance Outsourcing

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Application maintenance outsourcing (AMO) is an important part of application outsourcing. With AMO, you can outsource all the maintenance activities, such as enhancements, corrections and patch developments.

NEC Corporation of America                                                                                    Image credit: Flickr

You can get the resources that you need for the maintenance phase of your project on a contract basis. These resources include the manpower with the required technical skills, technology and other required resources.

Application development and maintenance form about 80% of the total work that is outsourced. The number of outsourcing companies is also increasing due to the huge demand.

Thus, let’s take a look at the several pros and cons it comes with.

Pros of AMO

AMO is a cost-effective solution and improves your operations and technology well.

Here are some benefits of AMO:

  • Cost and time saving
  • It lets you have more time to develop the app and for other operations.
  • It lets you concentrate on the core business.
  • It makes use of external expertise.
  • Gives you access to industry experts without paying a big compensation as you would for a normal employee.
  • Allows your work to be flexible.
  • Gives you access to talented IT professionals, better tools, equipment, and technology.
  • Improves the performance, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
  • It allows work to be continued in different time zones.
  • Enables you to go without a payroll system.
  • Nullifies the worry about losing key employees.

Cons of AMO

There are many benefits of AMO. But, if you choose the wrong partner or if you don’t take care of the basic guidelines, you could end up losing rather than gaining.

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Here are some disadvantages of AMO:

  • You may lose control over the workflow.

You could have a conflict with the contractor about the differing workflows.

For example, you may want the contractor to use a different approach than what they usually use.

So, you should ensure that the approach that you want the contractor to follow is clear before you sign the contract.

  • The outsourced staff may be disloyal.

You may not have proper communication with your outsourced team and so you may lose control over the team.

  • There is a management overhead.

You will have to deal with extra management duties, since you also have to take up the management issues related to outsourcing.

  • There may be a slow response time to problems.

If there is no proper project management and communication, your customers will experience a slow response time and they may be less satisfied.

Tips to Implement AMO

Thus, you first need to choose the right partner for outsourcing. You also have to follow best practices and guidelines and you need to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Here are eight tips to help you.

1. Set Your Goals

You should set well-defined criteria and quantifiable goals.

You should know what you want from the outsourcing and you need to specify them as measurable objectives. You should then measure the progress of your project with these.

2. Understand the Process

The activities involved in maintenance outsourcing are:

  • Service level agreements (SLAs)
  • Asset transfer
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Architecture reconstruction
  • Environment replication
  • Pilot programme
  • Process propagation
  • Work execution
  • Testing (verification and validation)
  • Deployment
  • Monitoring and reporting
  • Review and improvements

You should understand the workflow, other specifics and how the maintenance process will be carried out.

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You should clarify everything with the contractor and only sign the contract once you are clear about everything. This includes the approach that the vendor will use.

You must follow a well-developed maintenance lifecycle. Each phase (the planning, transitioning, delivery and close out) should occur at the right time and you should have a proper plan for each.

3. Documentation

You must ensure that the knowledge transfer is done properly. So, you must maintain a good documentation and keep it updated. This will also help you during training.

4. Hiring

You must choose experienced and skilled professionals. Such employees will require less training and you can use work trials to select key personnel.

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You should also set aside a budget for training. They need basic training; since they must understand the app they are working on. You can optimise your training costs by choosing employees with the required technical skills and experience and by having good documentation.

5. Make Use of Metrics

You must establish metrics to evaluate the performance and to determine whether the contractor abides by the SLA.

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You can these metrics:

  • Customer demand metrics
  • Enhancements work backlog
  • Maintenance work backlog
  • Priority request ageing
  • Performance metrics
  • Maintenance work volume
  • Enhancement work volume
  • Quality metrics
  • Rework requests
  • Efficiency metrics
  • Utilisation metrics

Verify your measurements using audits and monitor them continuously. You should also regularly hold review meetings and ensure that you are on the right path.

6. Team Integration

You must integrate your in-house team with the outsourced team. There should be good communication with your external staff to reduce misunderstandings and conflicts.

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You should also understand the cultural and geographical differences of the offshore team and try to bridge these differences to work as a single team.

7. Production Management

If you believe in productive work, then must establish a proper monitoring and reporting system as well.

You should also have a strong production management to help you smoothly carry out the joint operations. Everything should be planned and executed according to the plan.

8. Improve Your Infrastructure

If you have a mature infrastructure, you will achieve better results.

You should have a good communication platform, good connectivity and good technology support. Recovery features can also help you improve your efficiency.

So what’s your tip for AMO? Do you have any questions? Please feel free to leave your comments below and thanks for reading!

 

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