Organizations across the globe are fighting tight IT budgets and reduced spending capacities. However, the challenges still remain the same – reducing costs, improving processing times, providing superior customer experience and dedicate more time to strategic Planning & initiatives. Research suggests that the average spending on Application Support and Maintenance is anywhere from 40-60% of the total IT budget. So essentially, do more with less: less resources, less time, less costs is the mantra to overcome these set of challenges.
What is Shared Services Support Model?
Within the Information Technology space, it is a type of outsourcing model, where an external third party offers Enterprise Application or Production Support Services to the buying organization with a defined pricing structure & servicing agreement in place. The processes are usually governed by a Ticket handling system which routes different level of requests based on the degree of difficulty or resolution times. Common pools of Consultants who are champions in their respective technical or functional domain deliver these services. Most companies offer SLA-based support & maintenance with 24 x7 Availability of consultants and the flexibility of a pay-as-you-go pricing arrangement.
Most of the large Fortune 500 organizations have implemented ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) suites and other Enterprise Applications to support their businesses. All these companies need Application & production Support & maintenance of a similar nature. With shared support, the organizations can leverage the best practices & solutions provided by experts in the Industry who have vast experience of working with different set of problems. Shared Services significantly reduces the resource & process costs for the organization and helps them focus on their core business strategies more effectively. As a result, organizations become leaner and more agile.
What are some typical scenarios where Shared Services Support works the best?
- The IT applications have multitude of modules that require regular fixes/maintenance, but the issues/bug frequency is quite low and doesn’t deserve a full-time resource
- Applications require occasional minor or major enhancements which can be taken care of using on-need basis consultants rather than a dedicated team
- Day-to-day Application Administration like Oracle Apps DBA can also be taken care of using external consultants more efficiently than an on-board resource
- When the organization needs 24 x 7 support for some urgent & important requests which need high level of expertise, basically a service desk
- When the organization has global presence and requires support in multiple time zones for a full coverage
What are some commonly observed Benefits of the Shared Services Support?
- Reduced Processing Time & Superior Business Continuity
- Leverage expertise of Global Teams with vast experience – quicker support
- More Time to focus on core Business Initiatives & Strategy
- Flexibility & Scalability in Staffing
- Reduced dependency on individuals, lesser risks
- Improved Customer Service & Response cycles
- Reduction in Actual Costs incurred for providing Application & Production Support
- Better Performance Monitoring
As far as IT spending is concerned, Gartner’s forecast for worldwide dollar-valued IT spending growth in 2015 has been revised to −5.5%. With the shrinking IT spending, it is imperative for any growth-focused organization to opt for a cost-effective Support Plan. Shared support services definitely offer a very potent and viable Solution to the increasingly dynamic IT landscape.