Businesses are constantly striving to gain competitive advantage and efficiencies through process improvement and increased productivity. Companies like Oracle, IBM and SalesForce provide the technology and applications to businesses to enable them to automate and improve their performance. Businesses often invest a lot of money to customize these applications to fit their business need.
Once a business has purchased the application whether it is On Premises or Cloud Based, it often looks to an outside vendor to customize the application to their organization’s needs. The vendor uses highly skilled resources who work with the business users and internal IT team to perform functional and technical analysis. The vendor will design and implement the functionality required by the business. Once the implementation of the customization to the application has been completed, the vendor will hand over the customized application to the internal IT team to continue the support and maintenance of the application.
At this point most businesses are faced with the challenge of continuing to support and enhance the customized application as the users become familiar with the application and want to make changes. More and more companies are focusing on their core business and relying on a vendor or a pool of specialized vendors to provide the support services for their IT infrastructure and applications. Today there are many different IT support models that are available. Some of the models for post go live support are as follows:
- Time and Material
- Retention Model
- Managed Services
Time and Material
The Time and Material model may be used when the business has a small IT team or an IT team that is not familiar with the technology that needs to be supported. The vendor’s support resource becomes an extension of the businesses IT team providing day to day support. Businesses often use this model to continue working on enhancements as they have contracted the support resources for 100% of the time and have to utilize them. This model may continue until the internal IT team has the skills to take over all or part of the support functions from the vendor’s support resources. This model is expensive as it is almost like hiring a full time contract resource with the right skillset. The advantage is continuity as one of the vendor’s resources who worked on the implementation often is the resource who supports the application. The vendor will also provide a backup resource from its pool of resources when the dedicated resource is on vacation or is not available.
The Retention Model provides flexibility when it comes to the budget and could be long term option for providing application support. This model is made up of a fixed fee and a time and material component.
- Fixed fee per month for a fixed number of hours per month
- Fixed fee covers a fixed number of support hours per month
- The Fixed Fee is use it or lose it and is paid to the Vendor whether or not all the support hours are utilized
- It is up to the Business to provide work to cover the fixed hours per month
- Time and Material for all support hours above the fixed number of hours per month
- Utilized when additional support hours above the fixed number of hours per month are needed by the business
- Prior approval must be received from the business for any hours worked above the fixed number of hours per month
The advantages of the Retention Model are as follows:
- Better control over the support budget as the business does not require a dedicated resource for support
- Level of Support can be tailored according to the need of the business
- Business may start with 80 fixed support hours per month after Go Live
- After 3 months the fixed support hours per month may be lowered to 40 hours
- Continuity as the vendor has a pool of resources with the skill set to provide support
- Different vendor resources can provide support depending on the issues which may be environment related, infrastructure related or application related
The business must constantly prioritize the support to make sure the vendors support resource is fully utilized and is addressing the high priority issues within the fixed amount of hours per month
Managed Service Model
The Managed Services Model is a broader support model that encompasses environment support, infrastructure support and application support. This is a more expensive model which covers broad areas of support requiring diverse skillset and experience. Instead of contracting with different vendors to provide support for the environment, infrastructure and applications, the business contracts with a single vendor. The single vendor takes on the responsibility for supporting all the areas of support using their own team or specialized partners. The business has to deal with a single vendor who tailors the Managed Services support with a combination of Fixed Fee and Time & Material options for the different support services based on the needs of the business. This model not only brings together diverse skills from different vendors, but it also brings together specialized monitoring tools and processes from different vendors under a single umbrella. The Single Vendor takes on the responsibility and overhead of coordinating the work with all the vendors who provide support. The billing is also simplified as the business has to deal with the single vendor for all billing issues.
Contact us today for more information on the value of post go live support.
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