After repeated requests from its clients, Infocrossing expanded its Enterprise Application Services to include Managed Application Services (MAS) last month. This is a cross-platform suite of services that includes all aspects of ERP application outsourcing, from consulting and implementation to functional and technical support to overall IT infrastructure support. "We simply fused together two skill sets we already had. We married best practices around infrastructure capabilities with our PeopleSoft and JD Edwards ERP expertise," explains Jim Turner, Director of Managed Application Services.
Infocrossing's clients wanted their infrastructure supplier to take ERP maintenance tasks "off their hands," reports Lee Fields, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Business Development. He says clients want experts who know both the application and the ins and outs of IT infrastructure. Infocrossing's MAS frees IT staff from tactical details, such as implementing application patches and fixes, to focus on their core business processes and growth.
The MAS Services Portfolio includes the following components:
- Professional Application Services - includes project management, assessments and planning, custom application design and development, implementation and upgrade services, business-advisory services, and training services.
- Managed Application Services for ERP - include both managed ERP functional support and managed ERP technical support.
- Infrastructure Outsourcing Services - include managed computing services (Windows, UNIX, Linux, iSeries, Mainframe), managed storage services, managed network services, database administration, disaster-recovery services, middleware management, and fault-tolerant data center.
Infocrossing buyers can pick and choose any services they need from the MAS roster. Turner says some buyers want just technical or implementation support. Others want fully managed infrastructure and applications. "This program is configurable," he says.
In addition, buyers can engage Infocrossing to manage their applications remotely from their own data center or use the supplier's infrastructure and application development staff in Infocrossing's data center.
MSA's Four Key Benefits
"MAS is all about the top line and the bottom line," says Turner. He says the MAS program produces four key business benefits:
- It allows buyers to focus on their core businesses because they unload routine, tactical, maintenance activities.
- It mitigates risk and protects revenue since Infocrossing guarantees performance through stringent service level agreements (SLAs). "It's like purchasing an insurance policy," he explains.
- It allows buyers to avoid additional expenses since they do not have to hire more people, pay to improve processes, or buy more data-center infrastructure.
- It cuts costs because the supplier can provide the services more cost effectively because of its economies of scale. "Our tools and processes let us support multiple clients; we pass along our lower costs to our buyers," he notes.
Governance "is the glue that holds all the pieces together," explains Turner. Infocrossing, which has experience in all three areas, simply added the new services to its existing governance models. "We have a consistent application ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library), which guarantees a high level of service," he notes.
How MAS Helps Small-to-Medium Businesses
Fields says any business with annual revenues of at least $150 million that is running its own shop is a good candidate. "This service is perfect for mid-sized clients," he notes. "They know they need to have these things done well. Often, they don't have the resources to do this properly. Outsourcing is often the best way to avoid the expense of getting there."
Also, buyers who want one-stop shopping will find the new service attractive. "They can call one supplier for consulting, upgrades, implementation, and infrastructure," he points out.
Infocrossing, a pioneer that has fused forward thinking with market realities, believes this new service will make IT outsourcing more valuable to buyers. "MAS will give our buyers a strategic edge," says Fields. In today's tough global economy, every little bit helps.
Lessons from the Outsourcing Journal:
- Small-to-medium businesses need the same tools that their larger competitors have. But they don't have the financial resources or the manpower to fund tasks like application maintenance properly. Infocrossing's new Managed Application Services (MAS) levels the playing field.
- MAS is like a cafeteria menu: buyers can select only the services they want. The major benefit: buyers only need to call one supplier for consulting, upgrades, implementation, and infrastructure.
- MAS offers buyers four benefits:
- Sharper focus on the core business
- Risk reduction
- Cost avoidance
- Cost savings
- Suppliers develop new offerings based on the repeated requests of their clients. Infocrossing created its MAS offering after hearing from its infrastructure clients they wanted programmers familiar with their applications to manage them, too.