Todd Griffith, Vice President, Managed Services, CSS International, Inc.
As part of the Collaborate 2013 presentation “How To Get the Most Out of Your Consulting Dollar”, I talked to a large audience about the concept that the “go-live” event of an implementation or upgrade project is not the end, but rather just the beginning. Now that you’ve invested all that time and money getting your new system up and running, most clients send the consultants home and their internal people back to their “day jobs” (after a post-go-live celebration, of course!). The problem with that is the system begins to atrophy. Like your body, without constant exercise and improvement, the system will actually go backwards. You’ll lose some of the efficiencies and process improvements you’ve gained and your personnel will pick up bad habits and put band-aids on trouble spots. Plus, you’ll never get the chance to leverage the other wonderful functionality that exists within your system, but that wasn’t put in place on day one of your go-live.
The way to counter this is with an ongoing support structure. Whether this is an internal team, an external team, or a hybrid, you need to have an ongoing support structure in place to provide rapid solutions to end user issues, provide resources for constant improvement projects and strategic initiatives, and at the same time control costs.
Many clients find the ideal way to do this is with a managed services support contract that provides them with on-call / as-needed expert resources at substantially lower rates than typical project consultants. Having these supplemental resources available frees internal personnel to focus on strategic projects that add value to the IT systems. This also provides a mechanism to deliver excellent internal customer service to your system’s users, as well as a group of experts from which you can draw a lot of knowledge and system creativity.
The key to a successful support contract is flexibility. What you should look for includes:
- A blended pool of hours that can be used however, and whenever, you need
- The resource pool should include experts in all functional areas as well as technical/system admin and development experts
- Your support contract should provide flexibility to allow you to change your support level as your needs change
- Your resources should not be assigned “as available” from a large group, but rather you should have a focused team of experts specifically assigned to your account. This builds familiarity by repetition. This, in turn, provides you with maximum value as this support team functions just like an extension of your own internal staff
- Substantially lower costs than project consulting resources
Is your system atrophying? Or, are you building new, lean muscle on a regular basis?
August 5, 2013
by Todd Griffith, Vice President Managed Services