If you want to get the most out of your business applications, you should prioritise application management. Managing business applications isn’t easy, particularly if you’re doing it on a global scale. However, we’re here to offer some tips, including advice from our application management services (AMS) consultants.
- Focus on training
- Enhance team collaboration
- Prioritise security
- Ensure compliance with regulatory standards
- Work with an application management services partner
1. Focus on training
As technology and the business landscape is constantly changing, it’s important to prioritise internal training. This ensures your team will know how to use the latest technology, regardless of whether it’s a new version update or a new application entirely. That means they’re empowered to deliver the best results.
Make sure you train everyone equally. By this, we’re alluding to the fact that ‘training’ isn’t synonymous with ‘upskilling’. While you may have a range of skillsets and experience across your team, training isn’t just about bringing your less experienced employees up to speed. It’s about ensuring everyone knows how to use the applications as per best practices and discourage shortcuts being taken.
So, ensure every relevant employee receives the same level of training, no matter how experienced they may be or how many years they’ve been in the industry. Additionally, ensure your employee onboarding process includes application training. This ensures every new employee will receive the same level and standard of training as everyone else.
2. Enhance team collaboration
In addition to training your team, you must ensure everyone is working in unison. That includes:
- Getting your team involved in the initial strategy stages (this helps with getting buy-in and allows you to gain different points of view which can aid strategy formulation)
- Keeping your team informed of the progress
- Documenting your strategy and distributing this among everyone involved
- Assigning specific roles and responsibilities
According to Jonathan Kendrick, one of our Support Consultants, the last point is particularly important. “When it comes to global application management, two best practices are to have clearly defined roles and rotas,” he says. “In other words, who will do what and when?”
3. Prioritise security
Business applications and the sensitive data they contain are prime targets for hackers and cybercriminals. So, security needs to always be a top priority when it comes to application management.
Martin Wilde, another of our Support Consultants advises that apps should be securely stored in a central repository: “This repository should be regularly backed up and readily available to the appropriate people.
“This access should be controlled to prevent unauthorised access. Additionally, your authentication protocol should be consistent, not multiple different methods that require multiple stages of sign-in.”
Jonathan agrees and stresses the importance of not just managing applications but also the underlying infrastructure and the interfaces which could be part of the apps. This could be as simple as backing up data and testing the disaster recovery plan.
4. Ensure compliance with regulatory standards
When your applications comply with regulatory standards and best practices, it not only ensures your business can avoid costly penalties for non-compliance. It ensures your applications are kept secure and protected.
“You need somewhere safe and secure to store your data that still allows hassle-free access to the appropriate people,” says Martin. “Ensuring this can become challenging if any apps are developed and stored locally, perhaps within departments and without appropriate oversight of security.”
Complying with data management practices isn’t the only thing you must consider. Martin adds: “The control and monitoring of certificates and when they expire can also be challenging if you’re managing applications in-house. But it’s important to remember to do this.”
5. Work with an application management services (AMS) partner
Many businesses opt to work with an AMS partner because:
- They need access to specialist knowledge they don’t have in-house and can’t easily recruit for
- They don’t have the time to manage applications in-house
- They want to improve cost efficiency
- Their in-house resources are overstretched
This list isn’t exhaustive but can you see why the idea of working with an AMS partner is so appealing?
On the topic of challenges associated with managing your applications in-house, Jonathan says: “The biggest risks are turnover of staff and having to manage diaries/people. You must provide back-up cover to allow for holidays and absence.
“Then there’s also employee satisfaction which can be affected by the need to work long hours.”
So, is working with an AMS partner the answer? Yes!
“An AMS partner has much more exposure to other businesses in many different areas so they have the ability to see how things can be done differently to help continuously improve customer processes,” Jonathan explains. “At Columbus, we also work closely with other partners to obtain a view of future product development.”
Martin agrees, adding that an AMS partner would be “very valuable”. He says: “They should be able to address and assist in controlling all of the aforementioned points.”
3 criteria your prospective AMS partner should meet
- Confidence - An AMS partner should be confident enough to question your current business process and make recommendations for areas of improvement in line with business needs and industry best practices.
- Application management experience - An AMS partner should be able to support current business systems and processes, understanding both the applications in use and the business reasons for their use.
- Experience in working with different business needs - As well as application management expertise, an AMS partner should also understand the roles of the people within a business so that support can be provided at the correct level. They should also understand the priority of business needs/issues and treat them with the urgency required.
Discover what we can offer you in terms of AMS
At Columbus, our team can help ensure the continuous development of your business applications. From infrastructure management to solution operation and 24/7 support, our managed services are just what you need to maximise your application investment.
Want to read more about how we can guarantee 99.7% uptime of your critical solutions, ensure evergreen applications and provide a stable production environment?
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