Managed Services

Growth vs Firefighting: Why is managed services a c-suite priority?


An alarming four in 10 global CEOs believe that their companies will not be economically viable in 10 years without deep transformation. The organizational imperative is clear – evolve or die. But how much time are business leaders spending on innovation and reinvention? The answer is not enough.

When the pandemic hit, top executives were forced to change their focus to short-term crisis management to simply keep their businesses above water and deliver results amid disruption. Whether it was getting used to remote working, scrambling to manage an upended supply chain, or struggling to cope with plummeting or extreme demand, the C-suite was focused on near-term outcomes. However, this is starting to change. While ‘survival’ and ‘recovery’ dominated boardroom discussions over the past two years, an IDC study puts ‘growth’ as the top keyword for CEOs in 2023.

From headwinds to tailwinds – technology the key propeller

Looking back at the pandemic, one thing is clear. Technology has been a key enabler in building resilience. Companies that fast-tracked technology investments have emerged stronger from the struggle – 72% of organizations attributed the fact that they were the first to experiment with new technologies as the key factor in their successful handling of the crisis. Organizations that increased capital expenditures in digital technology are twice as likely to report revenue growth than peers that didn’t. Business leaders are taking note of this. As the C-suite shifts their focus towards long-term goals, they are looking to build by re-inventing their business models, investing in new digital capabilities and transforming their processes.

Growth – the resourcing challenge

While the C-suite is best positioned to be champions and stewards of robust, integrated technology infrastructure, they may find that the bulk of their time is spent on simply ‘keeping the lights on’ with routine tech maintenance activities. Despite the ambitious plans for growth, business leaders, and their key personnel, are finding themselves firefighting day-to-day tech and application issues and are struggling to deliver the necessary change to create business value at strategic or operational levels. When faced with these competing priorities, leaders must be laser-focused on delivering business value. This is where the right partnerships come into play.

Moving from ‘hear and now’ to what’s beyond – with a partner

While tech spending is projected to hit a total USD 4.6 trillion in 2023 globally, an increase of 5.1% from 2022, business leaders are expected to dial-in capital expenditure and look to ‘do more with less’ as fears of an economic downturn dominates headlines. Heavy investments also mean that technology initiatives simply cannot afford to fail. Leaders are increasingly looking outside the organization to ensure that their digital investments bring in quick ROI, with minimal delays and risk, and without additional overheads. An Application Managed Services Partner (AMSP) can help businesses do just this.

While the benefits of an Application Managed Services Partner are numerous, the primary benefit is that they are able to take off the burden of day-to-day tech application management, allowing leaders to focus on strategies that enable growth instead. The right AMSP can not only manage the health of your core ERP through routine maintenance but can also help you tap into the full benefits of your high-value key personnel and digital investments by developing and deploying enhancements to your core solution.

Application downtime can have a significant impact on the business – on the financial front, the average cost of IT downtime is a staggering USD 5,600 per minute, and this does not take into account the time wasted on fire-fighting application issues. A solid AMSP can help you ensure that technology is running optimally by regularly performing upgrades, identifying the root cause for any technical issues that arise, proposing workarounds to prevent recurrence, and helping you take advantage of the full capabilities of your business solution.

Scaling up – without the additional head count

From the Great Resignation and war for talent, to skills gap and rising labor costs, businesses are struggling to find and retain the resources required to scale up. Companies are also struggling with high turnover of experienced, high skilled resources as tech personnel struggle to cope with the pressure of needing to balance day-to-day operational work with the push from C-suite to deliver on business outcomes. Another issue that adds to retention challenge is that employees often find themselves trapped in a cycle of mundane, repetitive work and feel under-challenged in their roles. Thus, leaders often find themselves spending a lot of time hiring, training and up-skilling tech employees to manage their business solutions. But as the organization looks to pivot to a growth-focus, business leaders will seek out ways to do more with less. Working with a ‘resource augmentation’ model can be prudent in this context as it allows you to complement your existing in-house tech team and resolve specific talent issues with a pool of certified and highly skilled experts, without additional overhead costs.

Developing and deploying digital technologies to support your growth strategy can be an arduous and resource-intensive process. Add to that the pressure of prospecting IT resources, conducting interviews and shortlisting candidates – the weeks spent hiring and training can significantly slow down your growth plan. Adopting a resource augmentation model, on the other hand, allows you to boost the capabilities of your team and leverage these temporary resources to speed up development timelines. While the augmented team works as an extension of the team, they can also support training efforts for in-house resources.

The high price of skimping on application managed services

Typically, businesses tend to reach out to an application management services partner when they run into an issue or when they are on the brink of failure. The yesteryear reactive approach of fixing something when it broke is no longer acceptable. In 2023, the financial losses from operational software failure reached an estimated USD 1.56 trillion, and it doesn’t end there. Apart from the hit to the bottom line, application failure can also cause significant damage to the company’s reputation.

Business leaders must, therefore, ensure that the applications are not just up and running, but also look at how resilient the technology is. To do this, businesses must move away from the ‘one and done’ approach which mandates that applications can simply make do with routine support and maintenance. Instead, look at yourbusiness solution and technology as more of a continuously evolving piece of architecture. This way business leaders can avoid accumulating ‘tech debt’ and being forced to re-develop or throw out the application a few years down the line due to system failures.

Protecting your digital investments

Amid economic volatility, it may be tempting to focus on cutting costs, however, it is prudent to ensure that you are not cutting costs in areas that are critical to future growth. Balancing strategic and financial goals is key to ensure that the decisions you make today will influence positive outcomes in the next two or three years. Even amid the pandemic, technology has been the common denominator for organizations that thrived during the crisis. Doubling down digital investments—instead of cutting down—can help future-proof your business.

Beyond the obvious cost benefits, working with an Application Managed Services Partner can help business leaders deliver on priorities like growth, operational agility and resilience, key resource retention and stakeholder trust. An AMSP will proactively drive tech improvements, instead of focusing on treating the symptoms of larger technology problems through simple tickets and incident resolutions. An AMSP can offer business leaders greater stability in an uncertain market while helping them to build resilience. Working with a managed services partner means you also are able to access a wider pool of talent across broad range of solutions and technologies to help you approach problems creatively, as well as put into practice well-established methodologies and approaches that bring consistency and efficiency to the way your applications are managed.

Australian food manufacturer partners with Fortude to manage its Infor applications

Take the case of an Australian frozen food manufacturer who worked with Fortude’s Application Managed Services team to make the most of their newly implemented Infor CloudSuite Food & Beverage solution. Fortude helped the manufacturer reduce admin and infrastructure costs and reduce YoY support tickets by 66%. Fortude’s Application Managed Services team not only helped stabilize and integrate finance processes across the manufacturer’s facilities in Australia and New Zealand, but also tracked and eliminated finance issues by correcting processes and actively providing recommendations. The Fortude team also built continuous enhancements for existing developments and introduced new controls and integrations to align with the manufacturer’s strategic direction. Implementation of Standard Operating Procedures also helped create a framework for the manufacturer’s finance functions.

Looking for a trusted Application Managed Services Partner to manage your Infor ERP applications? Talk to our Infor ERP Application Managed Services team to minimize application complexities so you can focus on what you do best:

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