28 Mar, 2023
The appeal of Application Management Services (AMS) comes as much from the promise of outsourcing the increasing complexity of application management, as it does from the added depth of knowledge and experience that such subject specialists can bring to the ongoing management of your organization’s applications.
Because of the complex nature of today’s AMS, it makes sense to look at the Application Management Service provision within four main phases.
- Transition involves information gathering and expectation setting on both sides.
- Stabilization is when the service being offered and the information provided reaches a level whereby Service Level Agreements can be measured effectively.
- Operations is when the actual service provision begins.
- Optimization is where service level performance is monitored and evaluated to enable continuous improvements to the landscape and achieve lower costs.
In this article, we look at the key elements of these phases and how each one contributes to the overall AMS process.
The transition phase is a project within itself and, as such, it is usually split into two distinct parts: Transition Planning and Transition Execution. The organization and AMS provider can determine whether shadow support and/or reverse shadow support is required. With shadow support, the contractor ‘shadows’ the organization’s IT team, observing their processes and providing on-site or remote support.
With reverse shadow support, the contractor provides the services from the outset, leaning on the client team to provide the support and act as a contact in the event of escalations. However, most commonly, the transition phase of the Application Management Service is a fact-finding and knowledge-sharing phase – one that doesn’t actually involve any service provision. It is the time when roles, processes, and tools to be included for successful delivery are agreed.
The company providing AMS must use this phase to establish a support structure that serves to ensure that services are available and that those providing the service have the client-specific knowledge of those applications to be supported. This includes functional specifications ready for the rollout, process documents, general documents, test scripts, data, and live demo sessions on the delivery of the services that fall within the scope.
At the outset of this phase, a joint project plan is created through a series of detailed meetings between the service provider and the client. These track all services throughout this phase. The client must equip the service provider with all the knowledge they require to fulfil the service delivery agreements. Knowledge transfer is a key element of this phase but other tasks include:Designating the engagement manager.
Involving employees such as key users and users in the SAP Service Desk processes.
Transferring knowledge of the SAP solution as customized at the client site
Ensuring the contractor receives all necessary access authorizations for the client’s systems (SAP and non SAP).
Next, the stabilization phase aims to stabilize all aspects of the solution’s operation enabling SLA measurements to be recorded effectively. In this phase, messages are handled according to the event management, incident management, problem management, change management, or request fulfilment processes. Application landscapes are stabilized as the service provider’s understanding and knowledge of the client’s application landscape grows.
This phase may be short, or for more complex service provision, could take longer but includes all the kick-off activities such as tying up the loose ends of the scope and finalizing the transition phase and IT service management (ITSM) documentation. Once all of this has been done, the stabilization phase will be deemed complete and the client will sign-off of this phase.
The operations phase is the point where the management of the application services runs. The services identified and planned for are provided remotely during this phase and are documented in a ticket system. In some AMS agreements, provision may be made to spend a specific number of days each month or quarter delivering support on site.
During this phase, incoming messages from the client and application owner are processed as either event management, incident management, problem management, change management, or as a request fulfilment process. These are then dealt with according to the established SLAs and the resolution scope defined in the associated scope document.
Throughout the operations phase, tasks are continuously monitored to avoid SLA violations and control meetings should be held on a regular basis to ensure the quality of the AMS. These meetings held by the client and the AMS provider enable parties to identify, discuss and agree on optimizations as part of a continuous improvement process. Documentation is regularly checked and revised when needed and interim reports are delivered at agreed intervals.
The final phase of AMS is continuous optimization. Every organization needs to continually optimize its IT environment to keep pace with an everchanging business ecosystem. The key benefit of this stage is that your SAP landscape will always remain current and fully functioning, therefore preventing a legacy system.
Optimization helps organizations to make more accurate predictions about the IT landscape and as a result, more predictable costs for enhancements and maintenance. During this phase, the SAP landscape is continuously monitored to enable improvements and to help lower costs. An experienced AMS partner can help your IT team deal with the constant changing priorities between new implementations and maintenance or upgrade of systems, usually managed by internal employees.
For a deeper understanding of the different phases of AMS, or for more information about how it can help your business or organization, check out our AMS webinar.