The financial benefits of dropping vendor-sourced maintenance in favor of third-party enterprise software support are very tangible; the lure of cutting expenditures by 50% – for what are commonly agreed to be superior levels of service – has proven compelling to thousands of companies.
However, for many CIOs, the transition to third-party support presents advantages that far exceed the frequently significant monetary benefits. The opportunity to deliver a quantifiable business impact elevates an IT organization into the role of a key strategic enabler. Today’s CIOs and IT leaders understand that crafting IT strategies that drive business innovation and transformation are imperative to their professional and personal success.
IT as a business partner
As the pace of business continues to accelerate – as product life-cycles shrink and companies struggle to remain competitive – more and more executives talk about the importance of being agile; but agility is not a quality that just occurs with an executive mandate. Transformation expert, Alain Saguez, the Group IT Director of French chemicals manufacturer, Coventya, explained, “The creation of an agile organization takes rigor and discipline. It relies on having the right processes in place and an infrastructure that is specifically designed to adapt. Only when these things are in place can you be a viable, agile business partner to the rest of the company.”
A key component of business agility is to understand the constraints and absolutes under which an organization operates. When an IT roadmap contains elements that are dictated by external parties outside of a CIO’s control, there is no way to be truly in charge of one’s destiny.
A powerful example of such a situation occurs with enterprise software: The solutions are pervasive across most company functions, touching finance, sales, marketing, manufacturing, to name just a few. Investments in these behemoth packages represent one of the biggest outlays for any CIO and the ongoing support costs consume a large percentage of every IT operational budget. The unique nature of individual businesses frequently drives company-specific customizations and application enhancements. However, despite the universal criticality of enterprise software, CIOs typically don’t have control over even the most fundamental of factors, like end-of-support deadlines or the imposition of version or vendor incompatibilities on other application choices.
CIOs back in control
The transition to a third-party enterprise support provider attains strategic significance because it puts control back into the hands of the CIO by eliminating many seemingly self-serving, vendor-imposed edicts. On top of this, it also yields previously inaccessible options for focusing liberated funds on the most impactful investments.
Coventya’s Saguez was able to demonstrate a rationalized IT budget to his executive peers, while investing a portion of the resultant savings from using third-party ERP support into other initiatives. He recounted, “We’ve been able to fund a series of targeted, high-impact projects that I am confident will quickly yield a 20% gain in the IT team’s performance and contributions to the company.”
“Even beyond the significant savings, a key factor in the decision to work with a third-party has been a better standard of support. Without quality service levels, however much money you save is irrelevant. Freeing up resources has enabled us to take on projects that have far-reaching implications.”
Strategically refocus resources
In addition to monetary gains, the move to third-party support empowers IT organizations with the ability to refocus resources where they can make the biggest strategic difference. In recent years, a common tactic among enterprise software vendors has been to incrementally shift the burden of resolving application-related issues back on to their clients. The requirement to use self-service diagnostics before opening a new ticket and the increased reluctance to escalate problems beyond basic level-1 personnel result in an increased workload for in-house support teams. However, the enhanced service quality offered by top-tier, independent support providers delivers immediate relief for overloaded internal engineers.
As a Rimini Street client, Saguez summarized his views on the partnership: “We evaluate changes from a global vantage point to make sure everything aligns with Coventya’s overall objectives. What seemed unthinkable 12 months ago is actually happening. Working with Rimini Street has been a delightful surprise.
See more of Alain’s and Coventya’s story here.