When it comes to Application Management, the touchstone of its applicability and relevance is this: the cost of maintaining and improving your IT infrastructure is a necessity if you aim to meet the demands of your customers. At the same time, the cost of not keeping up can have an impact on your long-term profitability. Without the right systems in place, you cannot gather the data you need to understand your business, clients and market. And even when you have the right tools, keeping the systems well-managed will drain your resources and time.
This is where our teams of Application Management can take those weights off your organization, supporting you 24/7, 365 days/year.
The main objectives of Application Management
These can be narrowed down as follows:
- Managing applications throughout their lifecycle
- Providing continuous support and improvements based on our insights gained through dozens of support cases
- Making sure that uptime and usability are kept at high levels
- Ensuring that functionality stays aligned with business needs
- Solving technical issues
- Enabling cost-effectiveness through optimization to create additional business value
Before determining if managed IT services and support should be kept in-house, it is important to determine what is needed from the IT department in question. This need can be broken down into two broad categories for easier understanding: Functional Support and Technical Support.
Functional vs. Technical Support
What are the main functionalities of Functional Support? There can be loads and loads of tasks depending on the business needs and infrastructure; however, these tasks can be gathered into categories that can be narrowed down even further. The main areas of interest for Functional support are:
- Configuring systems in a way that they best fit business needs
- Customizing already existing IT services to user requests whenever feasible
- User management
If we break down the main areas of interest, we can talk about tasks such as:
- Handling daily requests from business
- Setting up and updating connections to other internal systems and to business partners
- Continuous monitoring and troubleshooting of processes and jobs within the system and connectivity to service providers
- Being in contact with business partners and service providers
- Making sure that all the monitoring and troubleshooting has a net result of providing as much uptime as possible.
On the other side of the table, but not too far away, the focus points for Technical support are:
- Making sure that the application in question is operational and up to date
- Arranging technical solutions in a way that fulfil functional requirements
These major categories cover things like:
- Updating or installing new applications or solutions
- Maintaining user authorization
- Resolving network related issues
- Managing backups and databases
Our 24/7 Application Management teams cover both Functional and Technical support. If we were to compare the performance of the 24/7 teams with dedicated Functional or Technical support teams, performance and raw tech knowledge might lag behind a bit. On the other hand, by looking at the results, the feedbacks and the longevity of the projects it seems that this interdisciplinary approach with less focus on very specific technical details is certainly needed on the market.
Application Management projects
To offer you even more insights regarding the growth of our Application Management teams, I will briefly go through two projects that I believe best describe the amount of trust gained in the eyes of our clients, as we brought value to their needs and went beyond their initial requests.
Since I started working at Accesa, I’ve been assigned to offer 2nd level support for the pricing department of one of the biggest retailers in Europe. The need for our group was simple. There was no support group for the developers and engineers who created and sustained a highly complicated and sophisticated pricing ecosystem. In the beginning, our roles were limited. They consisted of tracking alerts and notifying the accountable teams in case something went wrong, informing the users about outages, forwarding their request and problems to the developers and managing tickets.
Now, 3 years after taking over the project we grew into infrastructure support, infrastructure analysis, QA testing, offering strategies, solutions and techniques for our clients to meet their business needs. We have also revised and expanded the existing documentation, analyzed and documented the whole price delivery mechanism through the infrastructure, that wasn’t precisely known by any single party before.
The second team that I worked for as a backup is also tasked with ensuring smooth operations for a large global manufacturing market customer. The project kicked off more than a year ago and went from checking if the systems are live and doing some basic wizardry in SAP to get stuck orders working, to basically full-blown order management, user account management and extensive infrastructure monitoring and support.
Both teams had 4 members to offer around the clock support as efficiently as possible. In both cases due to the ever-growing number of tasks adding another team member was necessary to provide extra coverage for business hours.
Find out more about our Application Management projects in the case studies section.