Managed services: Steering your Infor ERP from complexity towards innovation
Where do you see your business in five years?
Perhaps, you’ve laid out a roadmap that has set you on the path for growth – your KPIs defined, resources allocated, and finances assigned. But have you factored in managed services and the role they can play in your success?
If your company is on Infor M3, Managed Services Providers (MSPs) do much more than just system maintenance. They monitor system performance and make adjustments to it, provide round-the-clock support, ensure any issues or downtime are promptly addressed, and assist with data backups and disaster recovery planning – and we are just scratching the surface on the potential of managed services here.
Today, MSPs also play a pivotal role in giving strategic direction to companies; in turn, fanning the flames of innovation. This blog will explore how managed services for Infor M3 and CloudSuite applications, are advancing beyond basic firefighting.
Managed services today
The pandemic and economic uncertainty have compelled businesses to think ahead and avert risks using technology. Managed services help to effectively identify issues that could be expected, strategize, and douse the fire before it spreads.
A couple of years ago, managed services were considered merely a cost-efficient path – one that spared internal teams the hassle of day-to-day maintenance. But today, businesses are thinking beyond cost. According to a recent study conducted by PWC, high-performing organizations are 4.2 times more likely to use managed services for strategic purposes and these companies are 2.4 times faster to the market and more innovative. There is no doubt that managed services are a C-suite priority.
Does your Infor M3/CloudSuite require the support of managed services?
A good managed services partner will ensure that your Infor M3 runs efficiently in a stable environment. The more complex your system is, the greater the need for a managed services partner who understands your applications inside-out. Whether you are on Infor M3, Infor CloudeSuite, on multi-tenant or single tenant, on private cloud or on customer premises, managed services have a role to play in all these ecosystems.
Managed services with a (robotic) twist
Today, automation is revolutionizing the work of managed services providers. It takes on labor-intensive work, freeing up the time of essential resources and making sure the work is better streamlined and the tasks are accomplished free of errors.
Some of these tasks include filing documents, handling customer queries, service requests, etc. Usually, when the resources are focused on these tasks, they have very little time to engage in value-driven tasks. Managed services partners are now leveraging automation to reduce system downtime, improve system recovery time, and ensure customer satisfaction.
For example, Fortude’s Application Managed Services team incorporates automation to simplify document management tasks in Infor M3. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Business documents such as forms, labels, and images
- Inbound documents
- Outbound documents
- Document printing
Having trouble managing risks?
Managed services often include continuous monitoring of your Infor M3 and CloudSuite environment. This proactive approach helps in identifying performance bottlenecks, security vulnerabilities, and potential issues before they escalate into major problems. Moreover, MSPs ensure your technology infrastructure scales with your business and is able to adapt to new challenges and opportunities, reducing the risk of technology becoming a bottleneck.
As for disaster recovery, MSPs often have disaster recovery plans in place. This helps in minimizing downtime in case of unexpected events such as hardware failures, natural disasters or data breaches.
The support that can be lent in this regard is extensive and includes (but is not limited to):
- Security management
- User and role management
- Access monitoring
- Application security
- Disaster recovery
- Assist customers in defining their disaster recovery strategy
- Participate and assist in disaster recovery testing
- Assist customers in disaster recovery
- Application management
- Software patch management
- Functional support
- Technical support
- Liaison with Infor Concierge
- User assistance
Trouble managing your company’s EDI processes?
Managed services often provide round-the-clock support, ensuring that any EDI-related issues or system downtime can be quickly addressed. They can also facilitate the integration of Infor M3 with EDI systems, streamline data exchange, and enhance overall connectivity within the organization.
The areas managed services cover in this area includes (but is not limited to):
- EDI message monitoring
- Analyse and mitigate EDI message processing errors
- Performance tunning
Running out of time to innovate?
The benefits of managed services go beyond operational efficiencies and cost-savings. Working with a managed services partner frees you from the day-to-day firefighting and helps you focus on making the most of your digital investments. This could mean harnessing the power of data within your Infor M3 system and setting up analytics tools and dashboards to extract insights, drive innovation and inform decision-making. By optimizing the performance of your Infor M3/CloudSuite system, your key resources can focus on innovative projects and initiatives.
Maintaining standards for managed services
Since the need for managed services was felt, the service and what it entails have evolved significantly. However, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has put in place a few best practices that managed services providers can follow to ensure that service standards are maintained, and that services provided align with the business’s objectives. A few best practices that remain applicable for Infor M3 include:
- Incident management
- Have a consistent workflow to address queries etc. raised through the website, phone, SMS, email, and other means of communication.
- Incidents are not limited to issue resolution, but also need to include answering questions from users for functional and technical areas (how-to) and assisting users in the verification of installed/activated software and system changes.
- Incident resolution often relies on root cause analysis which requires resources with a high level of expertise in relevant functional and technical areas. We will work with a qualified resource pool that is equipped to address different levels of demand for expertise.
- Incident life cycle management also provides a valuable knowledge database that gets enriched as time progresses.
- Response time escalation
- The initial response and escalation of an incident should be defined based on issue severity, impact on business operations consequences of any potential delay in issue resolution.
- Multi-national customers oftentimes require a response to incidents in different time zones and on a 24×7 basis.
- Customer care
- Incidents need to be managed to ensure customer satisfaction. Performance measurements of managed services must be established. Periodically, the quality of managed services needs to be reviewed with customers to maintain high quality services and to identify areas that need to be improved.
It’s clear that MSPs have moved far beyond providing system maintenance, to encompass a wide range of services that include handling repetitive tasks, identifying potential risks, and better handling communication. So, will it be part of your five-year growth plan?
If you would like to learn more about how managed services can support your organization, download Fortude’s Application Managed Services Handbook: https://fortude.co/fortude-application-managed-services-guide/.