Keeping the lights on… without the surprises

Guest post by

Suresh GP , GDC Lead, Solution Management Services (SMS)

 

Today we are in the era of disruptive technologies and increasing demand of IT to align with business need. Gone are the days where businesses invested millions of capital investment dollars into building IT Infrastructures and home-grown applications.  This is no longer a sustainable model and companies are getting smarter and are leveraging the opportunities within cloud offerings to optimize cost and improve scalability, reliability and elasticity.

While there is enough work done to bring down cost, the focus to keep the lights on has become even more intense.

CIOs are kept up at night with nightmares of unplanned outages and experiencing time delays in restoring service within the agreed recovery window. These events not only attract penalty but also reduce customer confidence and trust in consistently meeting expectations. If organizations need to deliver consistent and reliable service to their end users, there they need to have a strong line of command and a world-class support system. This is where organizations decide to do it in house if they have the capability or outsource this responsibility to reliable players in the market with great track record to manage the show. Cost arbitrage is no longer a differentiator and customers are willing to pay extra premium to be best assured of “No –Surprises”

 

How do your customers handle the “bumps in the night”?

So, how do you help your customers develop the right support structure and provide optimum value delivery? I have helped organizations tackle these issues for the past decade, and I want to share my perspectives with you today. Customers of the organization we help,  hate surprises that appear at the last hour. Customers may not always be the most tech savvy people. That is why they rely on consultants to keep them proactively informed of possible breakdowns. This is where a strong support structure can make all the difference.

Customers have some definite expectations when it comes to support structure they are looking for to sustain seamless operations.  Here are some pointers:

a)      Compliance to legal and regulatory norms – e.g) Information Security Standard like ISO 27001, Data Privacy laws of the European Union.

b)      Solid experience and expertise of support resources that is competent enough to handle issues to closure

c)       Agreed Service Level Agreements that include Time to Respond, Time to Own and Time to resolve based on the priority of the ticket

d)      Ability  to proactively preempt possible gaps and measures needed to address support issues

e)      Communication at regular intervals beginning at the ticket receiving point until it is closed

f)       Coverage as required by the business and regions e.g)Follow the sun Model/24 * 7

g)      Address small customization and configuration changes to suit to business need and customer requirements

h)      Establish proactive monitoring and threshold alerts to manage unplanned downtimes.

 

While there are so many items on customer’s wish list, there needs to be a logical order to dissect and categorize the business requirement to appropriate support services.

Our best practice experience with customer engagements across the globe indicate that there are four essential support buckets that get customers interested.

 

 Solution management services.png

 

  1. Reactive Services

This is the primary point of contact for incident and problem management across the entire solution. It includes break/fix support for the custom-tailored or third-party elements of customer’s solution

 

2.  Operational Services

These are services to “out-task” common and routine activities that are required to maintain and operate the solution. This includes:

  • System administration
  • User management
  • Monitoring
  • Report generation
  • Implementation of approved changes such as patches or enhancements, etc.

This also covers knowledge transfer and mentoring to enhance the effectiveness of internal staff. It helps customers to overcome resource challenges and allows shifting to higher-value activities.

 

3. Enhancement Services

These include design, and testing of low-complexity enhancements and required documentation changes. Examples include:

  • Process and workflow adjustments
  • Report modifications
  • Low-complexity dashboard changes

This offering is packaged in a way that makes it easy and cost-effective for customers to continually improve their solution.

 

4.  Advisory Services

This service is done at customer site by consultants who provide proactive guidance to prevent issues, plan for regular solution updates from patches to major new releases, monitor solution adoption, and identify areas for improvement,. These may require new functional enhancements, process changes or end-user training 

 

 

These services can be delivered directly to green-field customer engagement or need to undergo robust transition process when the service offering is taken over from the incumbent provider.

In our next blog, I will discuss the best practice strategy for effective transition of support services from the incumbent to the new service provider. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me in the comment section below.

Comments
Kajal Deka(anon) | ‎08-19-2013 02:59 AM

This should give all of us some good insight on SMS as a Service in PS GD and equip the field/delivery team with ready some references during presales activities.

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