The Power of Giving Up Control

When Does it Make Sense to Partner for Application Management and Support?

Eroding or Protecting Your IT Investment

Historically, some CIOs have viewed the engagement of an external application management partner as a risk. Their concern lies in the diminishment of institutional application knowledge over time and the perceived difficulties in knowledge transfer back to their full-time analysts at a later date. As a result, many CIOs have continued to try and cover their organizations’ needs using only internal staff. Some have been successful.

However, with the growing number of challenges faced by today’s healthcare IT organizations, limited resources, and increasing customer expectations, CIOs are realizing the value of partnering to support all, or part of, the organization’s application portfolio in an effective and cost-efficient manner.

Identifying the Right Support Model

Depending on the needs of the organization, there are a number of partner opportunities that provide the bandwidth necessary for IT organizations to address both the strategic and day-to-day requirements of managing a successful operation.

  • Legacy Application Management (LAM)—During the migration to a new technology (e.g., electronic health record (EHR), enterprise resource planning (ERP), or other ancillary systems), many organizations prefer to keep their internal teams engaged and invested in the new system. Partnering for LAM support allows the organization to focus its internal analysts on the new initiative, while the partner lifts the burden of supporting the legacy applications. This model provides significant benefits, including:
    • Drives key stakeholder engagement for the new technology initiative and allows team members to more fully engage in the future direction of the organization;
    • Reduces the burden of hiring additional internal staff whose job would likely be eliminated post implementation, and supports organizations who strive for a “no layoff” culture;
    • Reduces the number of higher cost implementation consultants necessary to supplement the new technology’s implementation team by creating a model in which internal teams cover the majority of these roles; and
    • Optimizes the staffing model necessary to accomplish the day-to-day requirements of supporting necessary legacy systems and/or applications designated for sunsetting.
  • Transitional Application Management (TAM)—When key initiatives are underway, organizations may find they are too shortstaffed to meet the needs of major project rollouts in addition to day-to-day application support. Instead of ramping up internal teams to backfill for application support needs or paying high costs for interim implementation/ optimization resources, partnering with a firm to provide TAM support presents a more operationally efficient and cost-effective option. In some cases, the benefits of a TAM model are similar to LAM, including:
    • Reduces internal expenditures for project-based or backfill resources: In many cases, temporary staff also takes significant HR time and cost commitments for recruitment, hiring, and onboarding. Furthermore, depending on the length of the contract, benefit costs may also be incurred for temporary hires.
    • Increases speed to market: The ability of an organization to attract and retain talent for long-term support of more complex IT systems can be challenging. A TAM partner can bring a cost-effective, interim solution in a much shorter timeframe with the expectation that the work can be transitioned back to the organization with limited notice once internal support teams are ramped up and/or project work has declined.
    • Limits consulting expenditures for implementation/optimization work: A TAM partner makes the ability to “right skill” the work much more efficient and cost effective when compared to more costly implementation consultants and allows the organization’s internal team to remain engaged and professionally satisfied.
  • Product Application Management (PAM)—There are times when staffing an internal team to address the organization’s day-to-day production needs becomes cost prohibitive. Selecting a partner who shares your vision of quality in supporting these efforts can be highly beneficial in a number of cases, including:
    • Low call volume: When an organization’s call volume is too low to justify the cost of full-time resource support (e.g., patient portal calls, after hours calls, etc.), it can be more cost effective for organizations to use an outside firm to provide this support. An outside partner can combine its resource team to support multiple clients through a per-call pricing model resulting in efficiencies of scale at a lower cost. In addition, this model leverages lessons learned and best-practice-based issue resolution approaches honed by the partner to improve first call resolution (FCR) and client satisfaction.
    • Talent limitations: In geographic areas where it is difficult to locate experienced talent due to the high cost of living, sparse rural areas, or where there is significant competition for IT talent, partnering for components of PAM support can prove to be more efficient and cost effective for organizations.
    • Appropriate resource alignment to ticket type: Most Level 1 helpdesk resources do not have the application depth to meet the organization’s FCR goals, and Level 2/3 resources can be difficult to attract or too expensive. A PAM partner provides skilled application resources to take initial calls at Level 1.5. This model not only increases FCR, which positively impacts end user satisfaction, but also affords Level 2/3 resources time to focus on the more advanced issues escalated to them. Aligning resource level with ticket type is key to reducing overall operational spend.

The Value of Partnership

Considering a partner to assume control of some or all of your applications can make even the most confident IT executives take pause. The concern of releasing responsibility to an outside firm and relying on them to have the same level of commitment to your organization’s success may cause hesitation. However, working with a partner—the right partner—can provide reliable management and support across the organization’s application portfolio. Choosing a partner to fill the most appropriate gap for your organization, whether it is LAM, TAM, or PAM, and holding that partner to YOUR standards, can be the right decision for all. A partner with established tools and end-to-end methodology that can successfully capture knowledge and reverse transition completely mitigates the risk of giving up control in the first place. Remember, there can be great pleasure and success with giving up control, when you are willing, and it is with someone you trust.

About CTG

For more information about what CTG can do to help support your organization’s Application Management needs, visit our Application Advantage information page HERE.