Transitioning to smart Application Management Services that turn your IT department into a valuable asset
While IT departments have generally offered a wide variety of services inside a company, due to recent technological advancements, shift to prioritizing innovation and digitalization, and constant changes in customer behavior, it is now time for IT departments to evolve and become catalysts in getting companies to adopt new methodologies, tools and technologies. The general perception that IT departments are just a cost center needs to change and become that of a profit center. In today’s constantly changing world, it’s essential that IT departments take on additional responsibilities such as focusing their efforts on transformation and automation to allow companies to innovate, thus allowing them to stand out from the competition and become leaders in their respective sectors. They need to create the best infrastructure to control costs, improve efficiency, increase productivity and provide better service to the customers.
To enable these changes, IT departments work with application management services (AMS) which are contracts designed to guarantee the efficiency, security and cost predictability of operating a client’s systems and processes.
However, are IT suppliers and clients prepared to take on the transformation required by AMS contracts?
Our approach to transformation
At NTT DATA, we offer a different way of working with AMS contracts that seeks to increase productivity, encourage continuous improvement through task innovation and standardization, enable more dynamic collaboration with our clients, and provide tools that allow us to measure IT departments’ contributions to companies.
This is a drastic change with respect to traditional governance models and to ensure success, we work around three interrelated pillars of action.
1. Changes in the production model
The classic approach that clients and IT suppliers usually use clearly distinguishes between two types of teams. On one hand, teams that provide maintenance services to final users (which are responsible for running IT infrastructure), and on the other hand, are the teams that implement upgrades and projects (which are responsible for change). Furthermore, the change request model and upgrade and project execution methodologies (Waterfall) do not exactly encourage key users (clients) and development teams (suppliers) to work together, except on specific occasions over the project life cycle.
The problem is that this model is no longer appropriate in scenarios in which business needs are highly volatile, when there is uncertainty in terms of the scope of a requested functionality or at times when flexibility and agility are needed in order to address unexpected changes.
That’s why we believe a different approach is needed. Starting with the methodology that best suits a client needs and targets by using a decision matrix of development practices (Waterfall, Agile Scrum, Agile Kanban, etc.). Afterwards, we train teams of professionals who are equally capable of performing activities related to both running IT operations and implementing change, doing so through an agile approach and in close collaboration with final users.
2. Changes in the technological model
There is no transformation without a technological foundation and we aim to offer clients different initiatives in this area, such as:
Reducing time that IT teams and users spend on recurring tasks through automation and robotisation, which also provide self-service functionalities to users.
Using software to strengthen platforms and applications, such as through automated code review.
Reducing request management times. This can be done using chatbots to provide an initial response, or programs that automatically categorize cases as a part of simple and repetitive procedures, many of which can be resolved without the need for an AMS team technician’s involvement.
Implementing dashboards and consoles to monitor the user experience, thus making it possible to evaluate the perceived quality of the service provided through a series of parameters.
3. Changes in the governance model
This last pillar of a transformation seeks to measure the quality of provided services by evaluating the value offered to users and user satisfaction—yet another 180° shift with respect to traditional governance models, which are exclusively based on technical quality indicators and service-level agreements (SLAs).
Ideally, traditional quality measurement models such as SLAs based on response time, time to resolution, etc. must be combined with new indicator models including experience-level agreements (XLAs). This measures final outcomes and the user experience, as well as business-level agreements (BLAs) or value-level agreements (VLAs) which measure the added value contributed to a business, taking into consideration elements such as continuous improvement and innovation.
As a result, NTT DATA’s proposal will include an evaluation of the maturity of your AMS contract in order to collaboratively design a roadmap for changing your governance model and for measuring the quality of our services. Our goal is to identify your opportunities for improvement, implement them and measure the impact on all phases of the software life cycle, while always maintaining a focus on users and measuring user satisfaction.
The first steps to transforming a business
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. In reality, the transformation process greatly depends on the level of maturity of your AMS contract, your company’s attitude to change, or your IT supplier’s advising capabilities. NTT DATA knows from experience that this challenge must be faced with a proactive mindset, transparency and motivation in order to achieve continuous improvement. For this reason, we seek to establish long-term, trusting relationships with our clients.
Lars Janitz, Executive Vice President at NTT DATA Business Solutions