Weathering IT budget cuts and workforce strain through AMS

by Allen Abell, VP of AMS, Syntax

Remote work exacerbates IT challenges for internal teams already stretched thin, but Applied Managed Services (AMS) can provide some relief.

As the coronavirus continues to strain economies and businesses worldwide, IT executives now expect a 4% decrease in IT budgets in 2020. At the same time, companies are tasked with supporting fully remote workplaces, which require the right tools, software and security to ensure organisations’ fragile infrastructure is secure while employees work from home.

IT professionals, many of whom were already bogged down by time-consuming, lower-value tech support duties prior to the pandemic, must now contend with budget cuts that further strain their workloads. Applied Managed Services (AMS), however, can help offload tedious IT tasks and free up time for more strategic projects, while also decreasing overhead costs.

Overburdened IT departments

Digital transformation has significantly increased the pressure on enterprise IT departments. IT leaders, already charged with the day-to-day responsibilities of running a network, maintaining IT infrastructure and ensuring interoperability — often without sufficient internal staff and resources — must now find time to focus on innovation and long-term digital strategy. And now IT leaders must also contend with a new workplace reality due to coronavirus.

Today’s enterprise applications, regardless of platform, serve a multitude of functions across organisations. SAP, JD Edwards (JDE) and Oracle customers face the complexity of dozens of diverse functional modules across business applications including finance, sales, HR, production, manufacturing and logistics. Each module requires its own daily maintenance, specialised skill set and technical know-how to effectively generate greater ROI, necessitating multiple internal employees simply to keep the lights on. While essential, these routine tasks leave IT leaders with little time to focus on strategic business enhancements and transformation initiatives.

To make matters worse, IT talent is scarce, and the costs to snag it are on the rise. Robert Half Technology found that 89% of IT decision makers across 28 major U.S. markets had difficulty finding the skilled IT professionals they need. Unfilled positions result in slow and inconsistent enterprise system support as IT leaders are forced to spend the majority of their time maintaining daily operations with limited resources. If you’re fortunate enough to find specialised IT talent, high salaries combined with the costs of recruiting, training and retention quickly add up.

Now, IT managers must find ways to reduce costs and simultaneously create new efficiencies to keep remote employees working effectively while sheltering in place. As the economy continues to suffer, the organisations that fail to solve this puzzle will have a much tougher road to recovery.

The value of AMS today

Adapting to the new workplace reality in COVID-19’s wake will take innovators and critical thinkers. If these teams are tied up staffing systems and juggling routine IT maintenance, your company will lag behind its competitors. The use of Application Managed Services, which has already been accelerating in the IT world in recent years, can help.

AMS allows companies to outsource some or all of the development, implementation, integration, testing, maintenance and support (functional and technical) of specific tech ecosystems (like SAP or Oracle), as well as essential help desk services. Supporting your enterprise platform via AMS alleviates the costs of staffing these systems full-time internally. And the external support frees up your internal IT team to focus on more pressing, timely issues given the current crisis, as well as long-term strategic business enhancements for the years ahead. AMS also helps with:

  • Budget management: In addition to lower internal staffing costs, AMS establishes a more predictable, adjustable budget. By contracting out a baseline of tech ecosystem hours, you’ll always know your recurring functional application and technical development costs, simplifying the overall budget planning process.
  • Continuous optimisation: Companies that continue to manage their ERPs the same way over time run the risk that their applications will become obsolete in today’s constantly changing technology environment. With AMS, a team of outside experts work to constantly update and optimise your users’ software to ensure it’s running efficiently and productively.
  • Consistent, timely support: Responsiveness declines when organisations lack the adequate internal staff and expertise to fully support every platform module. And as you work to rapidly address the challenges associated with remote work, you likely have even less time to devote to support. AMS support offloads some of that burden, providing consistent, timely support to your business’s users.
  • Flexibility for your unique needs: AMS can be used in a variety of ways to address your organisation’s specific needs. For example, you could fully outsource all your functional application support to an AMS provider. Or you might choose just to offload the day-to-day application management tasks, allowing your internal team to focus on more high value projects. A hybrid approach, like using an AMS to fill a gap or solve short-term issues, enables you to overcome specific pain points.
  • Better positioned for the future of work: AMS helps CIOs avoid the hiring delays and heightened costs resulting from today’s volatile job market. The pandemic has dramatically increased the cloud migration of critical applications and software, including ERP systems, which requires additional specialised knowledge. So even when this ends, IT teams will still need assistance managing specialised applications, restarting operations and increasing productivity.

The growing complexity of today’s critical applications, a shrinking specialised IT talent pool, higher internal IT workloads and the added challenges of remote work have pushed IT managers beyond their limits — and their company’s IT budgets. Well-matched AMS support can help these vital team members cut overhead costs and focus on more strategic priorities, especially in this climate.

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