by Jim Hussey, Global Head of Transition Services, ISG
Providing production access to offshore resources is the single largest challenge that customers and suppliers encounter when transitioning Application Development and Maintenance (ADM) operations. While essential to a successful ADM transition, the requirements around production access are often overlooked and poorly managed during the transition process from both a client and service provider perspective. Problems typically encountered include a lack of adequate planning coupled with overly aggressive schedules and unrealistic targets for numbers of staff with access needs.
One key to an effective transition is to engage the customer team to define the nature and timing of the production access solution during the transaction, and to finalize the solution prior to agreement. During the transaction phase, customers often fail to bring together the internal team to adequately assess and reach agreement on a production access solution during the transition. Critical roles include internal customer IT and internal security.
The transition team also needs to ensure accuracy and accountability when estimating production access costs. Developing a reasonable estimate of the cost associated with the production access solution is critical to maintaining project credibility. Estimates must reflect the number of seats to be contracted for, as well as factors such as probable network and bandwidth requirements and licensing exposure. Capital expenses associated with the production access solution must be included in the overall project business case. Financial responsibility for changes that drive cost must be identified.
Supplier transition plans need to incorporate production access timing to maximize credibility and effectiveness. Transition plans put forward by a supplier are typically developed by a solution or pursuit team, and focus on the technical details of an application profile with general assumptions of access to code for knowledge development processes. To effectively execute the appropriate knowledge acquisition and transfer, transition plans need to be more effectively aligned with the real schedule to achieve production access.
Another imperative for supplier teams is to embrace a more active role in establishing production. Suppliers should consider including a true network resource as part of the on-site team during the initial four weeks of transition. This presence can underscore the importance of establishing production access early on, while building relationships needed to implement final operationalization of the solution. The supplier should also commit to “Troubleshooting on the spot” versus the typical “Test and provide feedback next day.” Time invested here by both the customer IT and supplier IT organizations yields significant benefits and reinforces relationships.
Clients, meanwhile, need to commit to a production access solution OR understand the impact of change. If changes are required to the agreed production access approach, the timing and performance impacts of proposed changes must be assessed by the customer and supplier teams prior to acceptance.
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