You hear the story over and over again: Business asks IT to design and build yet another custom application. IT resources are limited, so the IT department subcontracts the job to some external software company. Meanwhile, the IT department itself takes care of the existing applications. You think that’s just the way it is? Think again.
What makes the difference between internal and external IT personnel? That your internal staff knows your company better, I’d say. They know more about the way things are run at your place. There are always lots of things that business will forget to write down in the specification – simply because they are taken for granted. Fortunately, your internal IT staff probably considers them as basic standards as well – so they will build them into the application anyway. Not true for external software companies. So take some of your own IT staff, mix them with some externals of the latest technological flavours, stir – and you got yourself a winning team.
Which leaves you with the question how to maintain and improve your existing applications with some internal staff set aside to get that new development project right. Actually, there is an obvious way to do that – just the same way you always did it: subcontract to some external software company. Not any software company, of course. One that specializes in application management. By application management I mean that special flavour of outsourcing, where the outsourcer takes care of a custom application, its maintenance, incident and problem management at a fixed rate. You probably wonder if that’s going to work. After all, your custom applications are not easy to maintain (and no wonder that is – if you let external software companies develop them without internals to guide …). Believe me: It can be done. More than that: you would be surprised how short the time to break even is. Of course, the outsourcer needs to review the application and build up knowledge. And this leads to a fresh view on the software, one focused on maintenance efficiency. Nine times out of ten, this is the first time your application has been scrutinized for maintenance efficiency. Including but not limited to the identification of potentials for automation in incident and problem management. Which is why I am telling you about it in this blog. In my next entry, I will share my thoughts on how to select a matching application management provider. Of course, you can always shortcut the waiting time and contact me at email@example.com