Application Services provides a platform for IT Development and Maintenance professionals to discuss and gain insights into best practices, process innovations and emerging technologies that will shape the future of this profession.

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Next Generation ADM: The Case for Advisory Services

The buying of Application Development and Maintenance (ADM) Services is an involved process, despite the fact that it is more or less commoditized. Given that delivery excellence on the core execution is pretty much a given today, a sizeable number of organizations are still looking for delivered value beyond just the core offering or promise.... 

This is definitely a natural progression for a mature service offering like ADM, where the focus is increasingly shifting from reactive, run-off-the-mill results to a more enhanced value delivered and preventive oriented mindset.

Given this, I strongly believe that for organizations to achieve an enhanced value state, they will need to invest in two primary areas viz. ensuring internal maturity improvements and establishing the right-fit operating model. Internal maturity improvements try to answer questions like, "What changes do I need to make in my retained organization to make this engagement successful?". The answer to these types of questions could lie in process and tools standardization and deployment (e.g. Agile), all the way to setting up of a Quality assurance function in the retained organization. As for establishing the right-fit operating model, this is not just limited to the present context or needs, but also about how organizations can mature on the outsourcing continuum (from capacity based models all the way up to outcome based models) to better support future business requirements.

Organizations do try to answer needs of this nature by embarking on consulting engagements, either individual or with service providers. However, most of the consulting engagements, aimed at really enhancing the value being extracted from mature services like ADM, tend to be taken up separately, without a clear relationship with the core services. The question organizations need to ask is whether this is best way to address the optimization opportunities across their large scale ADM programs? Well, I think not.

I believe that it is in the best interest of both the organization, as well as service provider, to work on roadmaps and requirements to optimize the process, tools and engagement models well before the start of the actual engagement. This ensures that key stakeholders on both sides are committed to bring in the change in the retained organization and create a roadmap for the same. There are some proof points pointing to such an increasing trend, where consulting or advisory services, especially assessment pieces, are being bundled with large deals. Organizations have started to view such combinations as pivotal points in ensuring greater value for themselves. More organizations will definitely  gravitate towards using consultative or advisory services to layout clearly the roadmap of Next generation Application Services.

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