Continuous Improvement with Managed Services in the Cloud

April 22, 2016 Jiordan Castle

Back in the day, it worked like this: You ramped up consultants, oversaw the progress, saw the results, and then they packed up and left. You had your new technological solution plugged in, hoped it stood the test of time, and moved on to the next thing. But now, it’s a smaller hill at the beginning, followed by constantly evolving software. One way to tackle this is to build your own staff of business analysts, developers, project managers, quality assurance professionals, and admins. An increasingly attractive alternative is to keep a smaller staff, and use Cloud Management.

The change to cloud infrastructure is a positive shift for many, as it removes the traditional burdens of on-premise software — namely, manual patches and updates (Salesforce upgrades 3 times a year; Workday twice a year; Google all the time). Cloud infrastructure also has redundancy and security built into the model. (After all, who’s more secure than Google or Salesforce?) We’ve said before that organizations can create a competitive advantage by moving to what Forrester Research refers to as a “continuous improvement model.” Forresterhas identified 4 categories of continuous application improvement, all of which require a different set of considerations and requirements. But all 4 have one thing in common: the need for an integrated focus on present and future business outcomes. What does that entail? Well…

Take a longer-term view for investing in empowering your business

Generally speaking, it’s cheaper and faster to have a technical expert make a single business change than it is to put an entirely new method for empowering your business (essentially empowering the people and processes across your organization) in place. But if the future involves a series of business changes, that’s not cheaper or faster; taking your time and focusing on empowering your business is guaranteed to pay off in the long run.

Streamline governance

Collaborative, agile governance is a cornerstone of continuous improvement, and governance gives a structure for decision-making, so that the right enhancements go through and aren’t bogged down. If you embed trusted experts into your improvement teams, they’ll have more leeway. (Hint: That means lighter governance on your end.)

Keep your focus on empowering your business

Being able to improve continuous improvement responsiveness and reduce costs by handing the keys to executives in your organization is a magical thing. But in order for you to effectively cultivate an empowered business, you have to enable business decisions and employ changes that are not only important to executives in your organization, but also within their capacity to carry them out. That latter part is key. Your continuous improvement strategy should contain a plan and method for identifying and and testing the possibilities.

Lastly, adopt a sustainable deployment model to avoid compounded obsolescence

Ultimately, you want to be able to continually refresh and improve the quality and functionality of your software solutions. In order to do both effectively, you need to determine the right deployment model for your organization. When SaaS isn’t an option, your best bet may be a Cloud Management partner — where routine upgrades are a sure thing and infrastructure is, fortunately, someone else’s job (namely, your managed services provider).

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