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8 Tips for Application Maintenance Outsourcing

8 Tips for Application Maintenance Outsourcing

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!

 

SaaS 2015: Trends and Opportunities

By the end of 2015, the U.K IT and Services market is expected to be worth £43 billion. SaaS model will play a pivotal role in this mammoth growth

Traditional on-premise applications are passé. We have been in the industry for quite a few years and never before has the gap between SaaS and other software delivery models been so wide. Companies that are looking to increase security and drive in productivity aiming to get access to enterprise grade applications.

From helping employees collaborate better with the help of Cloud to coming out with applications to interact with customers, these apps can help increase efficiency and better sales targets.

Having delivered many SaaS and B2B apps in the recent past ourselves, we know that it’s an exciting world out there.

Predicting the trends

So, what does 2015 have in store for us? Going by the current trends, we will see a lot more of Software-as-a-Service this year. Some of the major trends are visible.

For instance, since last year there is a growing demand for vertical SaaS, or solutions to particular industries that mainly include healthcare and financial services. This goes against the traditional norm of growth of horizontal SaaS that were mainly solutions used by sales and HR.

The ACG report corroborates this. The report also states how SaaS models are targeting individual users to form enterprise-wide deals. Here is what happens – SaaS vendors woo in a few employees with what they offer. This in turn leads to potential enterprise deals as employees understand how productivity is affected. The tactic, similar to the freemium model, will see a significant rise this year.

Gartner on its part states that cloud-integration would be a $1.5 billion business soon. SaaS, a type of cloud integration is among them. What works for SaaS is that there are too many avenues still left to be explored. This means that these vendors will be up trying up new tricks up their sleeves, from offering free SaaS to a plethora of on-demand services catered to the audience needs, innovations will be many.  SaaS services will be made to focus on specific geographic regions also, to address specific needs of a company. A company in the U.K. can do with a SaaS system that takes into account the U.K. tax structure. You can use the services of a good SaaS app/product development team to design your own SaaS software as well.

There is an increasing need to have these services on mobile devices and that’s what exactly will be happening, with more vendors keen to bring their services to tablets and mobiles. A good app/product team of developers can help you develop your own application that’s available in major app stores too.

The Different Benefits

Most of us have used SalesForce. SalesForce is Customer Relationship Management  (CRM) software and one of the more popular applications out there. SaaS adoption has slowly been picking up, and companies are exploring new avenues to tap into it. Here is why.

  • Cost-effectiveness

    Many of these solutions are available on a subscription basis, meaning that you do not have to worry about huge deployment costs. You already have a working API, and do not have to think about creating a website from scratch. You can implement enterprise grade applications as well, that are unique to your organization. There are no costs involved when it comes to installing and maintaining a sales app.

  • Reduced time to build

    The solutions can be built easily and are tailored to suit your organizations’ needs. You can build a site to interact with parents if you’re running a school. You can build a SaaS app to help people book cabs. You can even build apps that can help share thoughts anonymously by users. The possibilities are endless.

  • Subscription based model

    Most SaaS vendors like SalesForce offer a subscription-based model, where you use their services for a particular amount of time. This helps you only to use the services when you need it and adopt newer business strategies quickly, when needed. It doesn’t matter if you create your own SaaS application. Just ensure that you’ve a good SaaS app/product team of developers to help you with issues related to uptime and security and upgrades.

  • Easy integration and high scalability

    Where Software-as-a-Service scores is its easy integration with your company’s systems. Whether it be putting up the company logo or integrating the SaaS software with company systems and company data. Vendors offer API’s that can integrate easily with your company ERP or CRM and even with other providers.

  • Work on the go

    This is perhaps the biggest advantage when it comes to working with a SaaS solution – your employees aren’t restrained by premises and can work when they want, where they want. Is there any urgent project coming up? You can just log the details into the system. Is there a client’s feedback that you need your colleague to check? You can just put it into the system.

If it’s cost effectiveness services that you’re looking for to leverage in business productivity, 2015 can be a great year.  Hire a SaaS app development team who can ensure a smooth transition to the SaaS system, without the hiccups.

Migrating Legacy Applications to Cloud

Migrating Legacy Applications to Cloud

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Cloud Computing and SaaS are the latest buzz words in the IT industry these day. Businesses today are migrating their legacy applications to the Cloud, mostly as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). The reason being, Cloud Computing offers convenient on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources including networks, applications, services, storage, servers, etc. These computing resources can then be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management efforts. There are many other benefits of cloud computing:

  • Cloud Computing offers a broader network access. This means that you can access anything at anytime from anywhere.
  • It helps you in achieving economies of scale. Your output is more with lesser people.
  • You don’t have to spend huge bucks on technological infrastructure where you have everything that you need on the cloud.
  • It helps in streamlining processes which ultimately lets to get more work in lesser time and people.
  • With a cloud supported set up, it takes fewer people to do more work. So, there is less personal training required.

Despite all the benefits, the decision to migrate your legacy application to the cloud should not be taken lightly. Your decision should be based on a deep thought given to your business requirements. Remember, it is more about applying the correct strategy for the right application and least about the benefits offered by cloud computing.

A business must consider answering the following questions before deciding to migrate their legacy applications to the cloud:

  • Why should I make the move to cloud?
    The answers are simple. You should move your application to the cloud when you need to change the architecture of the app, or when you want to upgrade the app, or when you think implementing hybrid networks are required for your firm.
  • Which application should I migrate?
    When it comes to numerous applications, it is never possible that one size will fit all. All applications are different from each other. Some are monolithic while others are single-thread applications meant for processing transactions.
  • Which approach should I use to move to the cloud?
    You need to decide how far you want to head into the cloud. If you need to have control over the code of your legacy application, SaaS is the best option. If you want to keep only certain functions with yourself as a legacy application, split those functions and outsource the other functions to a cloud provider.

But that’s not it! After answering all these questions, the enterprise must make sure that the applications continue to deliver excellent service to its end users.