Successfully implemented OpenText ECM and CCM solutions are only half the battle. The real challenge is to maintain, support, and adapt the solution to the changing business and regulatory requirements.
Is your company running OpenText solutions, but you have trouble maintaining them due to lack of qualified in-house resources? Are you having trouble finding and onboarding employees that fit into your departments budget? If yes, we recommend considering outsourcing your OpenText system maintenance.
Some of us associate outsourced customer service with waiting on hold for 20-30 minutes, listening to a not-quite-copyright-infringing version of an old Celine Dion song, poor voice quality due to call center noise, as well as under-informed and overworked customer service managers. But in reality, outsourcing is more popular than ever in the system maintenance industry, with 87 percent of facilities reporting that they’re planning to outsource at least one part of maintenance operations (2019 Maintenance Study, Plant Engineering).
As an authorized OpenText service provider that works in this industry for almost two decades, we see that more and more OpenText customers struggle to maintain their OpenText CCM and ECM systems. At the same time, a lot of customers are afraid of collaborating and trusting an outsourced company to maintain their systems.
The main reasons for outsourcing software services are the possibilities to cut costs, solve staffing issues, improve performance and focus on core competence (2016 Global Outsourcing Survey, Deloitte). Let’s take a look at these, and other critical factors, which need to be taken into account when thinking of outsourcing OpenText system maintenance services.
Lack of ExpertiseWe often see that a lot of customers, especially the ones that bought OpenText solutions in a bundle with other solutions (e.g. StreamServe (now Exstream) as part of the Infor solution package), run on unsupported versions, and struggle with lack of skills among current staff. There are several reasons for the lack of expertise at companies. One of them is that companies don’t heavily invest in staff training, and rather prefer employee self-training, or training by existing staff members. As a result, when experienced employees retire, or leave the company, a lot of knowledge is gone with them. Sure, you can still call these people and ask for advice, but for how long can this strategy work?
Staffing ProblemsOpenText customers often struggle to find qualified resources to join their system maintenance team on a full-time basis. An OpenText system maintenance service provider, on the other hand, can provide flexibility in delivering the proper staffing level and required skill set quickly, with less cost and time investment. Working with a service provider gives the flexibility to utilize specialized services as needed, instead of incurring the cost of developing in-house competencies that are not needed on a permanent or continuous basis.
Cost ReductionIn-house staff wages and benefits, including pensions and medical bills, are often much more expensive than having an outsourced company carry out the work when needed.
Regardless if outsourcing the whole OpenText system maintenance team, or only a few resources, it means that personnel grievances and disciplinary actions related to these resources become the responsibility of the maintenance service provider. Payroll, timekeeping, human resources, and benefits all take time, therefore handing this responsibility over gives company management more time to deal with customers.
Below you can have a look at the average salary of one OpenText consultant (Source: Paysa, Glassdoor). On the other side, maintenance service providers offer scalable service plans, which can start from as little as 10 hours/month, and allow to “grow as you go”. Having in their team experts with various experiences, they are able to provide different types of onsite or remote expertise based on your regular, or irregular requirements. Basically, for the same amount of money or even less, your company gets all the needed expertise when and how it’s needed.
Team ManagementOutsourcing the maintenance function may be cost-effective, but there are restrictions when working with contractors, such as the inability of the customer to directly manage and instruct the outsourced team, except it’s written down in the service agreement. Another example is it may be difficult for a service provider to fulfill all of a client’s requirements such as staff flexibility or craft availability within the customer’s expectations. Also, the customer and service provider may have different approaches, management styles, and philosophies, which can lead to conflicts. Therefore it makes sense to outsource services from a local service provider.
Response TimeWe understand how difficult it is for an OpenText customer to handle downtime or to make appropriate changes in a fast manner of time, as these factors may cause that the customer will be unable to meet their goals and objectives.
Most of us think that response time to problems may be handled more rapidly by in-house resources rather than by outsourced OpenText system maintenance providers. This is partly true. But only in case if the in-house staff is experienced enough to identify and resolve the problem in a short period of time. We recommend negotiating an acceptable response time, such as 24 or 72 hours. Since a longer response time equates to more downtime and lost production, this response time must be clearly defined in the service contract.
Up to Date InsightsWorking with an authorized service partner means having a trustworthy partner, that not only has a team of certified experts with great knowledge, but also means having access to a source of insights, latest news, and trends.
We at Ecodocx work closely with our colleagues from OpenText and SAP, and thereby guarantee our customers to serve them by not only having almost two decades of experience but also having access to the latest updates in the OpenText solutions world.
Risk ManagementOverall, when bringing a new maintenance service provider, security managers should establish that the correct checks have been completed on any employees entering their facility, or working for their company remotely. They should also ensure that the appropriate procedures are followed when they enter the facility, such as signing non-disclosure agreements. We as a service provider always make sure that our employees only have access to the needed systems, and that they are restricted from access to proprietary parts of the operations. It’s important to understand if a breach occurs, it can be costly for both parties.
Maintenance Payment PlansThere are a number of outsourcing payment options. The most common models include:
- Fixed price model
- Time and materials model
- Hybrid model
The fixed price model (a.k.a “x” amount of hours per month for a “y” monthly payment) is mostly used by the OpenText customers we work with. These companies mostly have in-house employees, which already knew how to monitor the processes, and make small changes themselves, or we trained them.
Each of these maintenance payment plans represents a different level of risk-sharing between the customer and the maintenance service provider organization, and a number of considerations will need to be made in determining the most appropriate payment structure.
Contract Termination ArrangementsWe recommend to not underestimate this factor, and therefore discuss and have it written down before the maintenance service contract expires. Both parties need to agree on how the situation will be managed if the decision is made to terminate the existing contract. In particular, an agreement needs to be reached regarding the duties and obligations of the old service provider in handing over to the new service provider, or the customer, should they decide to bring maintenance back in-house.
In short, companies should turn to OpenText system maintenance outsourcing if they experience trouble hiring full-time personnel that fit into their budget, if they require special skills that are not needed on a full-time basis, and if they would like to let their staff to focus on more important aspects of technology development, rather than system maintenance.
When choosing which system maintenance model (in-house, outsourced, or hybrid) suites your company best, it’s worth considering your company’s business requirements, as there are no “one-fits-all” solutions.
If your company is looking for a maintenance service provider, feel free to check our OpenText Service page, our Support & Maintenance Service page, or contact us directly for a free of charge consultation.