Part 2: Behind the Scenes ─ Delivering Better Application Management Services, an Interview with Jim Duggan

Part 2: Behind the Scenes ─ Delivering Better Application Management Services, an Interview with Jim Duggan

Rimini Street has moved from supporting client ERP systems to running them ─ designing and delivering an Application Management Services (AMS) catalog that streamlines IT support and service, and requires less multi-vendor coordination.

Rimini Street now runs its clients’ complete ERP systems including SAP, Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, and JD Edwards ─ plus SaaS applications ─ so clients don’t have to staff, support, and maintain them daily.

James Duggan, vice president, client engagement, global service delivery at Rimini Street, is responsible for delivering these services to Rimini Street’s global client base.

Jim sat down with Rimini Street’s Anne Plese, senior director, product marketing, to discuss how clients benefit from Rimini Street Application Management Services.

Anne Plese: Let’s start by breaking down the client experience. How does the Rimini Street AMS governance model work?

James Duggan: “The key to success is being in lockstep with support teams and clients.”

“We essentially become a part of their operating model and align to their stated goals of IT organization.  We bring best practices and methodologies based on years of fixing packaged software and customizations that have been driven by evolving business processes.

Governance of an account is critical. Most clients want to be able to reach out to one person and hold them responsible for delivery, and we have the person in place. We also use a tiered approach that matches our engineers, delivery managers, and client engagement vice president with clients at those same levels.

The key to success is having delivery managers and the client engagement VP in lockstep, and delivering a unified message to teams and clients. We are measured on feedback from all client levels, so we track and report on everything including change requests, incidents, and security tasks. We are always looking for ways to improve.”

AP: What is different about the Rimini Street delivery model versus traditional lower-cost, outsourced Application Management Services vendor models?

JD: “Our L4 support complements our AMS, for seamless end-to-end service.”

“It comes down to engineers. We feel Rimini Street engineers are more skilled than the resources at lower-cost AMS providers. We look to close incidents and solve problems, to prevent recurrence.

In traditional AMS accounts, onshore resources meet with clients then typically send issues offshore to be handled. Sort of like throwing the issues over the wall.

Rimini Street engineers take ownership from the beginning and own it through closure. Plus, we have integrated L4 support that complements our Application Management Services. The AMS team can pass an incident directly to our Level 4 ─ with zero involvement from vendors like Oracle or SAP ─ to implement seamless end-to-end service.

Recently, we were proactively monitoring inbound and outbound processing of a client’s SAP IDocs, and we kept seeing failures. We conferred with the client and derived a solution to pre-empt issues and failures. We’ve eliminated many similar issues for this client, and in one quarter their incident levels were reduced by 28%.”

AP: So how does Rimini Street deliver the right service levels for clients?

JD: “We listen, develop a strong relationship, and become the trusted advisor.”

“We take the time to understand their current experience and help mold what Rimini Street can do to benefit them beyond break-fix. We discuss their expectations, and I have them define their current and near future goals. Most of these clients have been using our Level 4 support services for years, so we are already very intimate with their systems.

We research their data to understand incident volume, severity level, and the frequency of different types of issues. We also review client processes and procedures, especially change control process. Then we move on to my favorite area, service level agreements (SLAs). These determine what is critical for a client. From there we define required skills and identify who will be on the client’s support team.

Each client is unique, and so is each approach we take. The most important piece is developing a strong relationship and becoming a client’s trusted advisor, not just another vendor. How do we measure the level of trust? One word: referenceability. Our biggest signal of success is when a client is willing to recommend us to another organization.”

AP: What are some examples of how Rimini Street has delivered value to drive referenceability?

JD: “We go beyond the fix, diving deep to address root causes.”

“Four examples come to mind.

We understand a client’s change management process. This is critical. One of our clients is CMMI Level 3. That means their processes are repeatable and established. To remain at this level the team must ensure all documentation is completed and approved for all changes. For any change, our engineer must produce 27 artifacts with approvals and present them at a Technical Assessment Review and for a Change Control Board. These activities take time, so at the start of the contract we made sure that we understood everything very clearly and could deliver.

We go beyond the fix, diving deep to address root causes. For one of our AMS clients, we improved process and procedures on Batch Monitoring, helping prevent outages and job failures. Prior to that, if jobs went down, it could take at least three days to fix the collateral damage.

We correct what other AMS providers seem to neglect. A client was relying on their AMS provider to stay current on archiving ─ an important knowledge transfer item for us to run the client’s systems. It turned out that the provider had not archived in years. The Rimini Street team researched the process, identified the gaps, and helped the client execute the plan. Soon this client will be at the retention periods required by their line of business.

We fix what lower-skilled AMS providers break. A client’s AMS provider installed a project in production, resulting in defects. Issues kept occurring, but the provider took no action. It became a failed project with an expired warranty. Rimini Street came in and fixed several of the defects, with additional fixes scheduled. Cleaning up the sins of lower-skilled AMS providers is just one of our strengths.”

AP: How is Rimini Street improving the service delivery?

JD: “We don’t stay comfortable for long. We are continually developing new capabilities.”

“We learn from each of our AMS clients. We see what has worked well and what can be better. We adjust, realign, and improve. We don’t stay comfortable for long.

We are continually building on our core capabilities and developing innovative new capabilities. We began with independent, third-party support for enterprise software and have evolved into AMS. Along the way we have implemented innovations — for example in AI, Machine Learning, and automation — to speed software issue resolution by 23%. And we’re just getting started.

We are very confident in our abilities to deliver at our clients’ target service levels. Then we try to exceed them. Whatever our clients need, we can deliver.”

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

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