Part 1: Rising to the AMS Challenge, an Interview with Craig Mackereth

Part 1: Rising to the AMS Challenge, an Interview with Craig Mackereth

Rimini Street has expanded its offerings to address challenges that clients may face with existing managed services models. Rimini Street can now support and run its clients' complete ERP systems including SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and JD Edwards ─ plus some SaaS applications.

Craig Mackereth, group vice president, global service delivery at Rimini Street, is one of the architects of this expanded service offering.

Craig sat down with Rimini Street's Anne Plese, senior director, product marketing, to discuss how the new model works, what makes it different, and the value that Rimini Street unlocks for clients.

Anne Plese: Why did Rimini Street decide to build an application management services (AMS) catalog focused on support? And why now?

Craig Mackereth: “Honestly ─ We had to save the day.

“The best and the worst of AMS capabilities exist in the world, but we saw the worst happening more and more. AMS providers are focused on helping companies innovate; they want more project work. Supporting enterprise systems is usually out of their depth.

We were seeing horror stories out there. AMS providers have botched upgrades that run from $10 million to $100 million in write-offs, and have deployed third-party interfaces that cause data problems. The list goes on. It’s just wrong.

We couldn’t watch any longer. We had to jump in. We now provide full-service support to clients: integrated AMS + ERP support that includes service requests, enhancement work, and incident support for Levels 2 through 4.   We work with clients’ AMS vendors, and if the chips are down or something gets dropped, we come in to save the day. Then clients can get back to business. We don’t chase project dollars or the next ‘golden egg.’

So the return for clients is simple: quality.”

AP: You worked very closely with Rimini Street clients to build the AMS support catalog. How did these organizations help guide your teams to meet the global demand to address this challenge?

CM: “We listened, learned from others’ mistakes, and took the time to get it right.”

“We first sat down with clients over five years ago to get their input on our AMS service catalog design. One of the first things we learned was that the models being used by mega AMS and managed services companies made some of our clients nervous. They were mostly outsourcing to one country, which was too risky.

The second thing we learned was that our clients’ AMS contracts were leading to some bad behaviors by providers, including unrealistic or over-committed targets. Clients were happy when AMS providers would win a race in 9.2 seconds, but they didn’t tell the length of run.

Rimini Street has a different approach. We don’t use the lowest cost labor. We don’t bake in ways to hide failure or missed targets in a service level agreement (SLA). Clients get a transparent view of support Levels 2 through 4 performance across the board. And our team is staffed by experienced engineers all over the world who average 15 years of experience.”

AP: What is so valuable about the Rimini Street approach, and how do companies benefit?

CM: “Our model provides predictability and a standard, known cost.”

“The Rimini Street approach is simple: Level 4 support augmented for AMS. In our experience, AMS provider models literally do not compare. We baked an unlimited case model into our AMS offering, avoiding a model that drives variable costs.

Traditional AMS providers generally negotiate for fixed rates, but these rates are typically low-balled, with a margin offset by more profitable consulting or project work. Rimini Street offers predictability to clients, and a standard, known monthly cost. We also eliminate the need for client SLA oversight.”

AP: How is Rimini Street different from existing AMS providers?

CM: “We can seamlessly shift cases between support Levels 2-4. We don’t see any other AMS provider doing this.”

“First, Rimini Street is focused ONLY on support. Over the past 15 years we have helped clients save nearly $5 billion in total software maintenance spend.

Second, Rimini Street has zero dependency on software vendors like Oracle or SAP to deliver resolutions. So, we also don’t have the incentive to hide incidents in the ‘L4 pending vendor review queue.’

Third, Rimini Street is running the truly virtual model we had planned to run since our inception. Global events do not affect our business continuity. We run uninterrupted, at full readiness, at all times.

Fourth, the Rimini Street business model is truly global, with centers of excellence in the United States, Brazil, and India. We deliver an always-available, engineer-led Level 4 support team, 24x7x365. We are not a ‘body shop.’

Fifth, the Rimini Street ‘follow the sun’ approach meets all security requirements. We support multi-national companies with strict regulatory and compliance policies, and have all the necessary citizenships to do so.

Finally, the best part:  Rimini Street can seamlessly shift cases between Level 2 support and Level 4 support. No other AMS provider can do this. We are one team, one engine. We embrace resolution responsibility to the best place and resource. ”

AP: As this business grows, where will Rimini Street be investing to give clients more value?

CM: “Our governance model is designed for continuous improvement.”

“Specifically, we will invest in our portal technology so that we can deliver even more rapid user access to case information. Clients of every size ─ from enormous global entities to mid-market ─ can transparently see progress faster.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are key to our innovation. We have a long-established global practice that has delivered key automation capabilities, including speeding software issue resolution by 23%.

We’ve invested in modern interface capabilities and ticketing systems that are standards-based. They come with centralized monitoring ─ in real time so we can see if something’s going South ─ with the alerts and signals for us to be proactive.

Our governance model is designed for continuous improvement. We have a formal Support Performance Team ─ the elite among the day-to-day delivery teams. These special forces focus on getting the last 5% of performance that Rimini Street clients demand.”

AP: Anything else you’d like to add?

CM: “Ping me and we’ll compare …”

“Imagine a world where you went to ONE person (not just one vendor) who was accountable for your ERP support and your managed services experience. And, you have this person’s cell phone number to call or text at any time. And in partnership with a leadership team, this person is empowered to get you the engineering talent you need anywhere in the world, almost right away.

I challenge any CIO: Do you have that good of a relationship with your separate support vendors or AMS providers today? Ping me and we’ll compare …”

Learn more about Rimini Street integrated Application Management Services + ERP software support.

“Rimini Street is redefining what Application Management Services (AMS) ought to be...”