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It’s all about partnership: Secrets of success in supporting and improving legacy applications

28 Nov 2019
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Article by Optimation service delivery manager Nigel Sloley

Many businesses develop and maintain their own bespoke applications over the years with their IT services teams providing support and management functions.

However, as more and more business services get cloud-enabled with SaaS (software-as-a-service) becoming increasingly popular and economical, the funding to continue maintaining an in-house IT team has been reducing, leaving IT management with the constant pressure to provide more with less.

As a result, less staff are available to provide application support and management and single points of failure are created, which can be difficult to manage. 

Optimation is a New Zealand-owned and operated digital solutions business founded in Wellington 27 years ago that aims to solve this problem.

We offer a leveraged, customisable support model consisting of experienced application support engineers and service management professionals where support services are all they do.

By adopting this model, businesses can mitigate resourcing risk and stabilise their business operations.

Optimation also assists organisations in developing a roadmap for the future, working closely to evolve, transform or retire their legacy application portfolio and maximise their return on investment.

Optimation’s application transition methodology

Optimation steps in and assesses where and how we can take over the support of your highly dependent applications.

By following our tried and trusted application transition methodology (ATOM), we perform an initial high-level discovery phase with customers which will quickly hone in on the key issues, risks, pain points, staffing dependencies, and potential cost-saving opportunities.

Together with the customer, Optimation will then evaluate this information in order to build an initial support proposal that is customised specifically for their support needs.

The proposal will include support scope (i.e. applications/systems), support periods, potentials issues/risks, indicative transition plan/duration, support staffing model, indicative costs, etc.

“Our transition methodology allows us to apply the learnings of how to set up delivery success and successfully support applications that diversify the knowledge within the organisation, and put a professional process wrapped around that support."

- Optimation CEO Alex Bouma

Tackling the transition

The transition is the most critical foundation of any successful outsourcing endeavour.

Without a well-thought-out roadmap, the alignment of critical milestones such as the termination of existing support contracts, knowledge transfer, staffing release and/or redeployment and the commencement of the new Optimation support regime may have an impact on day-to-day business operations.

The ideal transition scenario is for it to be completely seamless through detailed transition planning, followed by tight execution of the key activities and checklists.

Our past experience has proven that this does not need to be a drawn-out or expensive process and we believe we can provide businesses with a customised, cost-effective, and managed risk transition. 

Atlantis Healthcare transition manager Chris Robb says, “It has been a pleasure working with the Optimation team to get the transition completed, and I can see that there are great opportunities ahead for the partnership with Atlantis.”

Communicating clear expectations

From a transition standpoint, an area that predominantly gets underestimated is the time to complete the outsource approval and procurement process.

The other area is where incumbent support staff are potentially impacted as a result of outsourcing.

This will invariably need to follow the customer’s prescribed HR processes which can be protracted due to compliance to NZ employment legislation.

From a support services perspective, the “fixed” service management effort (service delivery management, service desk, application and database health checks, environment management, etc.) is usually also underestimated by the customer.

When estimating the level of service management effort required, Optimation takes into account a number factors including outages (P1, P2, P3, P4), rate of change, environment, health checks, third party support, knowledge base, customer management, SLAs and KPIs, etc.           

Optimation recognises that every customer’s outsourcing requirements and needs are different but the one constant they all have in common is business un-interruption.

Optimation’s transition manager will work collaboratively with your organisation to establish and plan what the agreed end state for both organisations will be and how to get there.

With assistance from Optimation’s support subject matter experts (SMEs), we will lead and drive the detailed discovery, due diligence, knowledge transfer, staff onboarding, service enablement and contractual activities of the transition.   

In parallel, Optimation can work with you and provide resourcing placement services (Presto) and guidance for your impacted support personnel.