A Unified Approach to Support and Services Can Help IT Keep Pace with the Business

Pat Phelan
VP, Market Research
5 min read
A Unified Approach to Support and Services Can Help IT Keep Pace with the Business

Supporting hybrid IT is different from individually supporting vendors’ products

It is imperative for IT organizations to better operate, manage, and support hybrid-driven, multivendor IT environments. The complexity associated with hybrid scenarios (for example, from adopting a composable ERP strategy) can severely hinder scalability if IT departments are too focused on the practical aspects of operating and supporting hybrid IT.

Success with a hybrid IT environment can be achieved by adopting a unified approach to support and services. The adoption of this IT service modernization strategy facilitates simplicity, resulting in an improved service quality, scalability, and delivery speed. Furthermore, this approach positions IT as a more strategic player and contributes to better business outcomes.

Evolving traditional IT support and services for hybrid IT

Hybrid IT is present in IT organizations in a variety of ways, whether it’s the cloud-plus-non-cloud hybrid IT, hybrid licensing, hybrid support, or even a hybrid IT strategy (Table 1). And IT support and services now include more than just taking care of what’s in the current technology portfolio. As a result, IT services have become more complex. Support and services must be strategic in order to prepare for the next steps along the enterprise’s technology roadmap.

Many enterprises still organize services around products and vendors, yet the complexity of a hybrid environment puts enterprises at risk of overwhelming their existing IT service model’s ability to deliver high-quality, timely results. For example, multiple service levels that span cloud vendors and partners can mean longer service times in a vendor-based support model. Another example is the challenge of strategic solutioning across multiple vendors when each has its own roadmap and evolution timeline.

Success with a hybrid IT environment can be achieved with a unified approach to enterprise software support and services. Businesses can address the complexity of a hybrid IT environment by consolidating support, product management, and services with a limited number of providers.

IT service providers must be able to expand their offerings and thereby limit the disruption that can occur when multiple vendors and partners are involved in operating, managing, and supporting the technology portfolio. Scaling digital solutions successfully, for example, depends on the ability to make seamless service and support handoffs among services. When multiple IT service providers do work together, they must minimize accountability issues that can occur with a hybrid IT model.

A unified support and services model can solve these challenges.

Key challenges of a hybrid IT environment:

  • Longer service times
  • Conflicting roadmap timelines among vendors
  • Accountability issues
  • Service quality variations
  • Support and service methodology differences

How does a unified approach to support and services work?

Today’s plethora of technologies create opportunity and risk from a business perspective. Users have more options to improve business process outcomes by applying technology. However, the risk is also greater that the wrong technology will be chosen, or that it will be adopted ineffectively. A unified support and services model positions IT to be more strategic when managing the technology portfolio. A core principle of the model is that a single provider with knowledge of the complete technology portfolio can give more strategic advice to the business when making technology choices.

Better business outcomes happen when decision makers have a unified view of the software and technologies that the enterprise trusts for everyday needs, along with new, advanced solutions for future-oriented needs. The downstream impact is that new services and products fit into the hybrid portfolio with lower risk and complexity, making them easier to operate, manage, and support (Table 2).

In theory, for IT to be successful at handling hybrid-driven, multivendor, multiplatform environments, they must be simplified and scalable. A unified enterprise software support and services model provides simplicity and scalability by reducing the number of support providers and service layers.

In practice, this involves consolidating oversight and delivery of support and services, including flattening the traditional ITIL support levels 2-4. The integrated services can take many forms. The examples in Table 3 could be provided by a single partner.

The scope of services that are integrated typically includes incident management, service requests, enhancement activity, and routine tasks. And instead of the support, product management, and managed services being delivered by a variety of providers, they are all managed and delivered by a single organization. This unified approach to enterprise software support and services is independent of the technology consumption model and supports a company’s IT priorities.

To enhance the value proposition, unified support and services may be outsourced in order to gain rapid access to the skills needed to service a multivendor technology portfolio. This helps prevent overpaying, a common pitfall, and the complexity that comes with traditional outsourced models. However, this move must be planned carefully. Consider planning factors such as the organizational and procedures changes needed in the support operating model, how to transition to a third-party provider, and how the IT vendor mix will likely evolve over time.

Success with Unified Support and Services

One example of an enterprise that is ready for the unified support and services model is a $600M USD beverage and food manufacturer. Its multivendor, hybrid IT environment was formed after selectively moving data and workloads to cloud-based environments while retaining other technology in a non-cloud environment. The “operate” and “support” services have already moved to a single provider for core applications and database.

By optimizing these services, internal staff can focus on strategic projects such as new application extensions to support an evolving business model. By taking the next step and moving managed services to the same provider, the enterprise gains the support vendor’s knowledge of the impact on the existing solution portfolio as it plans and executes new strategic projects.

In another example, at a global construction and civil engineering company where IT “operate” and “support” services were converged under a single provider, integrating managed services with enterprise software support has already reduced costs, improved business outcomes, and freed up IT teams for critical growth initiatives. The average time to close security access requests improved by 77% year over year (YoY). The company also saw a 68% YoY improvement in the average time to close data fixes.

These success metrics were achieved by seamless handovers and proactive maintenance that shortened the time to deliver solutions. The logical next step for the company is to apply this integrated service approach on a broader scale by leveraging the support provider’s knowledge to help inform new technology decisions that impact the existing technology portfolio.

A unified approach to enterprise software support and services enables IT agility

If today’s technology initiatives have created a hybrid IT environment in your enterprise and the complexity doesn’t allow IT to keep pace with the business, consider a unified support and services model. It can help IT manage its hybrid technology portfolio more strategically with an integrated view of existing software and technologies alongside new, advanced solutions.

Use a unified approach to make running and supporting the portfolio simpler and more scalable by reducing the number of vendors, products, and support service layers involved. To add to the value proposition, outsource the unified support and services but plan this move carefully.

Optimizing the support organization structure, processes, and providers will allow IT to redirect resources. The freed resources can then be focused on helping the enterprise accelerate its innovation and growth initiatives.

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