Is it Time to Rethink Your IT Software Services Strategy?

Pat Phelan
< 1 min read

Changes in how technology is consumed and supported have clashed with an IT talent shortage to create a “perfect storm” in IT service delivery. To avoid getting caught in the storm, CIOs must rethink their IT software services model.

In a world where companies latch on to best-of-breed technology to enable more agility, differentiation, and great customer experiences, IT has its hands full.

Companies worldwide wrestle with how to manage and support their expanding sets of vendor technologies. Increasingly, they find the once-routine strategy of managing technology from vendor-specific centers of excellence just doesn’t work anymore. The intensifying tech talent shortage only compounds the challenge. So . . .  it seems it’s prime time for a different model.

“The market is changing swiftly and to evolve and prosper, they [business leaders] simply require faster, better access to better coordinated, unified software services at scale to move rapidly,” says Dion Hinchcliffe of Constellation Research in a recent report on unified software services (USS) sponsored by Rimini Street. “But each new service provider an enterprise brings on board requires onboarding, vendor management, and investment in effort/time in helping them work together with each other to meet the needs of IT.”

The pace of digital investment varies by enterprise. Likewise, the severity of the tech talent shortage varies across geographies and industries. How do you know if it is the right time to shift to a unified software services model? If one or more of the following scenarios sounds familiar, the right time may be now.

Why now is the time to consolidate L4 support and managed services

Kevin Mease, chief product officer at Rimini Street, discusses how IT teams can create a competitive advantage with unified software services.

More vendors providing technology as a service

Examples of this include applications being split apart and sourced via SaaS, deploying middleware/platform(s)-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service, or any other new IT services arrangement. When the number of vendors reaches a point where vendor management becomes a burden or high risk, it’s time to consider whether a different approach is needed to coordinate change and manage the application portfolio.

Keep in mind that IT experts have traditionally been deliverers of technology solutions, not service managers. Expecting them to be service managers can be a stretch. The more services to manage, the larger the stretch. If the internal team is having difficulty managing multiple vendors, it may be time to rethink your strategy for managing IT vendors and services.

Your application portfolio has become hybrid

Unless you are a start-up or have no automated systems, investing in digital technology means that for a period of time you will be supporting a hybrid application portfolio. For many enterprises, hybrid IT will be the de facto model moving forward (because some applications are not suited for delivering as a service). Supporting the hybrid IT model is complex, and the complexity increases with every vendor, solution, and service added to the application portfolio.

Complex IT changes are difficult; when a change involves multiple vendors, cross-team collaboration and activity become critical to success. The difficulty can crop up in any aspect of the application life cycle. More complex coordination for testing across vendors, longer resolution times for incidents and changes, and difficulty finding and retaining support skills and headcount are just a few examples.

When technology changes start creating more disruption than is perceived as normal, when error levels increase, or timing issues increase due to the number of cloud and noncloud vendors that must be managed, it may be time to rethink your strategy for application management and support.

Staffing “new” projects has left a gap in positions supporting established systems

Says Hinchcliffe, “There is also a significant talent/staffing shortage of available workers with critical IT skills, ranging from operations to cybersecurity. There is simply not enough staff with the necessary skills, combined with a need to shift internal experts to transformation or growth projects and away from managing the application portfolio.”

Although CIOs face increasingly difficult challenges in maintaining staffing levels or finding staff with the “right” skills, many are anticipating headcount increases to meet business demands for digital projects. If bringing all hands on deck to support digital initiatives leaves you short-staffed to support your deployed systems, if you can’t find the talent needed to support digital projects, or if you can’t find enough talent in general, it might be time to rethink your strategy for staffing IT software services.

Complexity involved in evaluating, designing, and deploying digital solutions

Most historical IT models have been organized around specific solutions — for example, an SAP competence center focused on all things SAP. That model likely won’t work in today’s era of solutions composed of numerous vendors’ products and services that must all work together to support specific business processes.

This clue goes beyond supporting hybrid IT as described in #2. The cloud is all about choice, and it gets more difficult from there. The clue appears when decisions about how to construct or evolve your application portfolio require expertise in a broad set of technologies PLUS an understanding of how the technologies work together — or won’t work well together — and how they can be used to support the business (aka business knowledge ).

Bottom line

Hinchcliffe sums it up in his paper, “A USS offering can provide a better-integrated solution to meet an organization’s services needs.”

If you are outsourcing to a unified software services partner, look for one that has a wide bench of talent with experience in integrated service offerings. The partner should have expertise in your applications and technical knowledge about how they integrate with other solutions. It should also offer experts with an intimate understanding of your industry and business processes to inform all of the services provided.

Learn more about unified software services

If your IT software services are becoming strained with the added demands of a hybrid-driven, multivendor IT environment, it is time to rethink your IT support service delivery strategy. Read more about unified software services in the Constellation Research best-practices paper “The Rise of Unified Software Services.”

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