When acquiring digital services, the focus is often on project planning and implementation. Regrettably, it is often forgotten that the project itself constitutes only a small part of the lifecycle of the entire customer relationship. Maintenance and further development are at least as important as the project when customer experience is considered. The selection of a maintenance partner should be started early. After all, it is a long-term partnership.
System maintenance covers much more than the troubleshooting and fixes requested by the customer. At Siili, maintenance means, above all, development with the aim of further developing certain functions of a system generated during a project and increasing user-friendliness. Indeed, we should talk about the development of services, ranging from the presentation of new services and development actions to their planning and implementation. Development suggestions arise from business needs, the results of new concept development, system administrators or user feedback. Development is carried out in the form of projects, packages or individual changes.
Selecting the correct maintenance partner is worth spending time on. After all, the right partner often produces cost savings if all services can be obtained from a single provider.
Consider these five factors when selecting your maintenance partner.
1. The size of the maintenance partner
When selecting a partner, size really does matter. Smaller companies should not select an over-sized maintenance partner, as it is not financially useful for larger service providers to serve smaller customers and, as a result, the quality of the service may not be at the desired level. Then again, larger companies should select a sufficiently large partner so that it has enough resources to react to any unexpected modifications resulting from business needs.
2. Skills of the maintenance team
When selecting a partner, pay attention to the skill level of the team that maintains digital services and its ability to solve problems. When it comes to cost optimisation, the ability to solve as many requests as possible at the desired service level is what counts.
The ideal situation in terms of system maintenance and further development can be achieved when there is a dedicated team to produce services. When all members of the team have a sufficient understanding of the customer’s systems, it is possible to minimise risks and ensure the continuity of services. Then again, it is only reasonable to apply shared resources to smaller systems.
3. A well-functioning and flexible organisation
To optimise effectiveness, the support team should be able to fulfil most development requests, without needing any time-consuming allocation of new resources to carry out projects.
However, if additional resources are required, Siili has solved this challenge so that the service manager can flexibly fill any gaps from a talent pool. Specialists can therefore join projects in any business area, without any unnecessary bureaucracy, as long as they are not already committed to other customers. Having a larger company produces no benefits if expertise is not flexibly available to all customers.
4. Development methods used by the partner
When it comes to service planning, it is important that the maintenance partner can react quickly to any development needs and apply agile development methods to new digital business opportunities.
The maintenance partner should take a proactive approach to maintenance and apply agile methods to further development. What is important is that results are produced quickly and that their quality is high. A good maintenance partner is able to present proposals that improve the customer's operations and save time and money. Of course, a partner also needs to be flexible and able to adapt their activities to the customer’s business processes.
5. Flexible pricing model
The partner’s pricing model must be sufficiently modular and transparent to meet the needs of customers of different types and sizes. Pricing must be based on realistic needs and it must also be monitored to respond to any changes.
By signing a maintenance agreement, the partner is responsible for ensuring that systems remain operational and that the skills and tools required are available for any fixes and further development. Of course, the customer must be ready to pay for this. The most cost-effective way is to outsource system maintenance to a single partner.
Our experience shows that not all these factors are remembered when selecting a maintenance partner. To minimise unfortunate (and often also expensive) surprises, maintenance needs should already be addressed at the very beginning.
Siili is happy to help you to select the right maintenance partner for you. Contact us!
Written by Johanna Kuivas, Kristian Takala, Susanna Järvinen