Making the move to unified software services - risk or opportunity?

Profile picture for user Pat Phelan By Pat Phelan November 1, 2021
Summary:
As enterprise applications continue to grow and evolve, how do CIOs ensure their support models are able to keep up with business demand? Pat Phelan of Rimini Street offers three ways that unified software services can help.

Businessman solve untangle the rope to find a solution. Business concept illustration © riedjal - Shutterstock
(© riedjal - Shutterstock)

Enterprise applications are changing at a more rapid pace than ever. The result is that many enterprises have hybrid, multivendor IT environments. This creates a challenge for the IT organization — how to effectively operate, manage, and support an increasingly complex technology portfolio. CIOs need a technology support model that is agile and responsive, yet simple, scalable, and strategic. For most, this means modernizing how IT supports and serves the business.

Most enterprises still organize support around products and vendors. As the IT environment becomes more complex, enterprises are at risk of overwhelming their existing support model’s ability to deliver services at scale. For example, an increased number of vendors in the applications portfolio has the potential to hinder support services and make it difficult to be agile when the business demands more frequent change at a faster pace.

At the same time, new cloud solutions create opportunity and risk from a business process perspective. The business has more options for improving business outcomes, but multiple vendors increase the risk that individual business-driven technology decisions will create unexpected downstream solution management and support issues. The business needs IT to be a strategic partner able to provide a unified view of incumbent and candidate vendors and products in order to ensure that new services and products fit into the hybrid IT portfolio.

One answer that’s gaining ground rapidly is a unified software services model. Unified services is a new way to handle a multivendor, multiplatform, hybrid-driven world. It provides a single experience for software services by eliminating traditional software support silos. By bringing operations (‘operate’), application management (‘manage’) and support (‘support’) activities together under a single umbrella, IT leaders can improve business outcomes.

Where software models once worked in isolation, they are now unified and integrated under a single service provider. With unified services, the proven software that enterprises trust for everyday needs is supported alongside new, advanced software that drives digital acceleration. And when problems arise, instead of having to call multiple vendors for resolution, there’s only one call to make to the unified service provider. But moving to a unified software service provider presents both opportunity - and risk. So how do businesses know if they are ready to make the move?

Three examples from Rimini Street’s customer base demonstrate the features of unified software services.

Unlock new innovative opportunities

Our first example is a $600 million beverage and food manufacturer. Its multi-vendor, 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 first step was to move its ‘operate’ and ‘support’ services for its core applications and database to a single provider. As a result of optimizing these services, internal staff can focus on strategic projects, such as new application extensions to support its evolving business model. 

It is now in the process of taking the next step and moving ‘manage’ services to the same provider. This means it gains the support vendor’s knowledge of the impact on the existing solution portfolio as the company plans and executes new strategic projects, helping it to move forward with confidence.

Free up teams for growth initiatives

In another example at a global construction and civil engineering company, IT ‘operate’ and ‘support’ services were converged under a single provider. Integrating AMS with enterprise software services has already reduced costs, improved business outcomes, and freed up IT teams for critical growth initiatives. For example, 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 results were accomplished because the unified software service model enabled seamless handovers and proactive maintenance, which shortened the time to deliver solutions.

The logical next step for this company is to apply this integrated service approach on a broader scale by leveraging the service provider’s knowledge to help inform new technology decisions that impact the existing technology portfolio.

Eliminate software support silos

The third example includes support across core ERP and customer-facing solutions in a $1.2 billion manufacturer of industrial explosives, where SAP has been their most important core system for 20 years.

To remain competitive and support growth, this company implemented cloud-based ecommerce and fleet management systems. The combination created a complex hybrid IT environment with a variety of integration points. New application investments must be made with an eye towards interoperability and keeping risk and complexity low. A unified software services model will give the cross-portfolio view needed to understand the potential impact of new solutions on running, managing, and supporting the hybrid portfolio.

Smart IT modernization starts with a unified software service model

A unified software service model that integrates operations, application management, and support services increases IT agility as the business innovates and grows. By consolidating IT services and reducing the complexity that can accompany coordinating multiple vendors across multiple support layers, the unified software service model offers a more cohesive support experience. This allows IT to be more strategic when helping the business manage technology changes.

On a practical level, an IT modernization strategy that leverages unified software services provides simplicity to help improve support quality and delivery speed. With this model, IT can bring experts to the table quickly and scale rapidly, while keeping the hybrid IT portfolio running smoothly as it grows.

As teams spend less time figuring out the complexities of hybrid IT, they can focus on accelerating business transformation and devote more time and resources to innovation and growth activities instead of maintenance and upkeep.