With the rapid pace of technological developments, businesses today face immense pressure to constantly innovate and stay ahead of the curve. While technology plays a key role in driving productivity and growth, focusing resources on keeping applications running smoothly can distract companies from their core competencies. This is where managed application services come into play by taking over non-core IT responsibilities and freeing businesses to focus on strategic priorities.
What are Managed Application Services?
Managed Application Services refer to outsourcing the ongoing management and maintenance of critical business applications to a third-party managed services provider (MSP). Under this model, the MSP takes full responsibility for various tasks related to application support, maintenance, and performance optimization on an ongoing basis. Some key functions covered under managed application services include:
Monitoring and Management
- 24/7 monitoring of application performance, usage, and infrastructure health
- Proactive management through regular patch management, upgrades, and security fixes
- Alert notifications and incident response for issues affecting application availability or performance
Upgrades and Enhancements
- Planned updates and upgrades to keep applications current without disrupting operations
- Custom configuration, integration or add-on development support
- Testing and rollout management for new application features and versions
- Management and support for underlying hosting infrastructure including servers, storage, and network devices
- Virtualization, backups, disaster recovery planning and testing
- Capacity planning and infrastructure scaling to meet business needs
Helpdesk and Support
- Dedicated support team for logging, tracking, and resolving user issues and requests
- Training and handholding for users to maximize application functionality
- Reporting and metrics on usage, uptime and performance for management visibility
Benefits of Opting for Managed Application Services
Cost Savings and Budget Planning Certainty
By outsourcing non-core operational responsibilities to an MSP, businesses can avoid significant upfront capital costs associated with infrastructure procurement, hiring technical staff, and ongoing maintenance. With managed application services shifting to an operational expenditure model, costs become more predictable and budgeting becomes easier.
Focus on Core Competencies
Delivering exceptional customer experiences, developing new offerings, and strategic business decisions are what drive competitive advantage for most companies. Outsourcing application management frees internal resources to concentrate on activities central to the business rather than getting distracted by technical workload.
Improved Operational Efficiency
MSPs bring standardized best practices, centralized management platforms, and a pool of skilled professionals resulting in leaner and more streamlined application operations. Automation of routine tasks further boosts efficiency.
Higher Uptime and Stability
Proactive management by MSPs minimizes disruptions through effective monitoring, quicker issue resolution, and a well-planned infrastructure designed for fault tolerance and redundancy. This translates to higher application and service availability.
Access to Expertise
Selecting a specialized MSP provides access to deep technical skills and resources that may be difficult for most companies to build and maintain in-house. Partners can also tap into an extensive knowledge base to resolve complex scenarios with ease.
MSPs ensure compliance with industry regulations and data security standards through robust processes, certifications, and infrastructure designed for heightened security and privacy requirements. They also manage key compliance tasks like audits and impact assessments.
Moving to Managed Application Services Model
While outsourcing promises business benefits, transitioning to a managed services model still requires careful evaluation and planning. Key steps in the process include:
Define Requirements and SLA Baselines
Clearly articulate requirements around performance metrics, uptime targets, response times and other critical service attributes to negotiate appropriate service level agreements (SLAs).
Selection of the Right Partner
Shortlist potential providers based on domain expertise, certifications, geographic coverage, client portfolio and cultural fit. Evaluate pricing structures and thoroughly review contracts and exit clauses.
Application and Infrastructure Assessment
Help transition partners get up to speed by providing thorough documentation and conducting health checks of applications and underlying systems to establish baseline efficiencies.
Change Management and User Training
Educating stakeholders and end-users about changes in support processes and new points of contact will ensure a smooth transition and adoption of the managed services model.
Governance and Performance Review Mechanisms
Establish regular operational reviews, report cards, and escalation protocols to track partner performance against SLAs and drive continuous improvement over the contract term.
While moving to a managed application services model requires upfront investments, it helps businesses optimize costs, focus on core tasks, ensure regulatory compliance and gain access to technical expertise through a trusted outsourcing partner. With thorough planning and selection of the right fit provider, companies can significantly enhance application reliability and overall operational efficiencies.
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