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QAD Support Consolidation

QAD Support Consolidation

Many companies have started moving to a central support desk to cater to their Global QAD Support requirements.

As an influencer of QAD TCO, consolidation of support desk is a key element to controlling the operating environment of QAD. The influence of Support goes beyond meeting the technical and functional requirements. A consolidated support environment plays a key role in process standardization and drive overall IT policy.

Key Steps in Support Consolidation

Objectives of Support Competency Center: Consolidation of multiple support groups into a central desk requires a well thought out process. With multiple sites, languages and requirements, objectives of support consolidation must be clear in order to achieve the same.

Formation of Support Competency Center: The strength and staffing of Support center will depend on the scope of support i.e., Functional, Technical, OS, EDI etc. In addition, infrastructure and software for Call Logging and Tracking will require to be in place. Past call volume including details of severity, volume, time of call, time zones and horizon of support help determine the optimum support desk staffing.

Service Level Agreements: Call severity and SLA’s will require to be defined in detail. It will be prudent to have a two tier SLA i.e., Transition SLA and Steady State SLA. Transition SLA is applied during the initial stage and for a limited period. Performance of the Support Desk will be measured against the agreed SLA.

Due Diligence: Site must be assessed for level of customization, localization, availability of customization / localization, interfaces etc. Site assessment helps is assessing the complexity of the site and sequence in the central support takeover.

Foldback Study: Each site must be folded back for all business processes, custom codes, cron jobs, pending user requirements etc. For business processes, walk through of every step must be made with key users and recorded. The fold back must be completely documented and signed off by the site management.

Support Takeover: Central Support will take over support after foldback study has been signed off by the site. Support Desk will take custody of codes at this point. In cases where source codes are not available and identified during due diligence, work should be commenced to write the source codes for those processes which are critical. Support Desk will start with Transition SLA at this time and for a agreed limited period.

Steady State and Performance measurement: At the end of the Transition Phase, Central Support will move to Steady State and applicable SLA. Performance of the Support Desk will measured using the Call Management Software and against all levels of severity.

Advantages of Central Support Desk:

What does an organization gain by moving to a Central Support?

Lean Support: Centralization of QAD Support invariably leads to reduction in the overall support resource requirement. Especially where the Support is mandated to handle the entire environment i.e., Application to OS.

Knowledge Repository: Central QAD Support will help consolidate the knowledge of processes across the organization. This enables sharing of common issues and resolution. Code Reuse and Process sharing can be achieved across markets and sites

Process Standardization: With QAD Support Consolidation, there is more transparency on disparate processes followed across sites. This enables to identify and streamline customizations. Over a period of time, organizations can achieve single code set (except for localization and statutory requirements) across databases.

For successful execution, the following should be considered.

Environment Governance: Central Support Desk goes beyond resource optimization. An effective governance layer will ensure control over site requirements on processes and customizations. The governance layer will act as the gate keeper for all site specific requirements and keeping an overall business model intact.

IT Objectives: Support Desk must be synchronized with the corporate objectives and driven towards the same. Central Support Desk being at the forefront is in a position to drive the IT Policies and Objectives in a more effective manner

Knowledge of Business: Central Support must have thorough knowledge of the business and beyond just the technical knowledge of the application and must be able to model the business and carry forward the same for effective deployment and standardization.

Source by Subbu Balakrishnan

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