In today’s business world, the importance of applications only continues to grow. Whether cloud-based or on-premises, custom-built or vendor-provided, they govern organisations’ critical front- and back-end functions.
Even slight fluctuations in their performance can spiral into problems, ranging from short-term downtime and customer dissatisfaction to severe operational failures. Maintaining close control and oversight of app performance is thus extremely important, but not every organisation is equally capable of establishing or maintaining that level of control without assistance.
Application management services from expert providers represent a dependable solution for businesses lacking sufficient resources or experience to keep a firm hand on app operations at all times.
In this blog, we’ll closely examine the purview of application management services and what to look for in a provider of them, as well as the clear bottom-line benefits they can offer. We’ll also look at how the managed application service offering from Transparity Ballard Chalmers can be a critical IT advantage for Microsoft-based organisations.
The Invisible (and Versatile) Hand: Fundamentals of Application Management Services
Though it originated in an American advert, the phrase “set it and forget it” is now a ubiquitous English-language idiom. It comes to mind as a characteristic of any effective application management service for the client. While the team managing your application will take the opposite approach – ensuring nothing is ever forgotten.
It must offer peace of mind through unwavering reliability: Organisations that are outsourcing the management of their critical apps should rest assured that day-to-day application operations ranging from virtual machines (VMs) to containers are being looked after by experts. Users of these services can thus pivot internal IT personnel and resources away from daily management and toward critical business priorities.
Infrastructure and Code Oversight
Principally, managing business applications for third-party clients involves keeping a close eye on both the infrastructure of apps and the underlying code and functionality of the app.
Support for the former can and should be provided on a 24/7 basis: This is typically accomplished through a combination of automation (e.g., cloud tools like Azure Pipelines and Azure Automation) and availability (having support desks covering multiple time zones).
It may not be possible to address every infrastructure issue automatically or immediately. But geographically wide-ranging support means nothing occurs undetected overnight. Also, an effective infrastructure team typically establishes a triaging process to ensure that the most detrimental and downtime-producing circumstances (Severity 1 or 2 outages, for example) are treated with the most urgency.
Code management requires the involvement of developers. In fact, it’s important to be methodical when delving into code and/or configuration, as even a small mistake — one that might easily result from rushing — could have a severe negative impact on an app’s functionality and efficacy. But regardless of speed, code oversight is just as important as infrastructure support when managing apps. Indeed, offering one and not the other would be all but pointless.
Additionally, developers providing the most effective code support will follow agile best practices, to ensure any configuration or code changes allow for flexibility and continuous improvement — ideally helping to mitigate the need for frequent troubleshooting and strengthen app functionality in the long term.
Managing Apps of Different Origins
Most organisations that provide application support, monitoring, and other oversight services aren’t solely specialising in those duties; typically, they also develop custom apps and have other complementary offerings.
The specifics of the latter vary and can range from integration management to cybersecurity. The former should be a much closer focus of any business looking to outsource the responsibilities of application management: Does the vendor you’re considering only take over this duty for apps that it originally wrote, or can it provide ongoing management for apps developed in-house or by previous partners of yours?
Caveats do apply in this area. For example, you wouldn’t expect a managed services provider (MSP) that specialises in support for apps built in Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure to suddenly manage a custom app developed within Google Cloud, or vice versa.
Also, application management generally offers the greatest value after the service provider has had an app within its care for enough time to have reasonable knowledge of the source code. But things like that aside, a dependable MSP in this field should be able to manage apps written by others just as well as those written by its developers. Having that kind of versatility means greater reliability and more peace of mind for you.
Key Application Management Services Benefits
At close of play, what matters most for any business tool is its contribution to meeting pertinent goals in the short term and its medium- and long-term value to the bottom line.
Applications are no exception. If you lack the budget, resources, or expertise to directly handle app management, that doesn’t mean you can’t maximise their business value — you just need the right partner on your side.
Some of the most important benefits of receiving application support and oversight as a managed service include:
- Greater IT cost-efficiency: When you enlist a partner organisation to manage your applications, you’re paying for exactly that, nothing more. In virtually all circumstances, this costs less than paying even a small team dedicated to app management and monitoring. It also frees up any current IT personnel to focus on development or other responsibilities that directly benefit your business.
- Expertise on demand: Application management means the ready availability of monitoring and support for mission-critical apps, to maintain steady performance and mitigate downtime.
- Potential for improved performance: When experienced engineers and developers take care of your apps, they become immensely familiar with the infrastructure and code. This means they can identify areas of concern and strategically recommend improvements. In the long run, these may lead to greater productivity and better business outcomes — both of which contribute to maximised ROI.
- Increased customer satisfaction: If customer-facing business apps are working reliably and effectively due to the steady hand of application management, clients stay happy. In most cases, that means they remain loyal to your organisation. Over time, the operational quality of your company’s applications can become a key value proposition that helps attract leads and conversions.
Drive App Excellence With Ballard Chalmers’ Managed Application Service
All of the capabilities and benefits detailed above are part and parcel of what we call the “superpowers” of the Managed Application Service from Transparity Ballard Chalmers, covering both Azure cloud resources and applications built for the Microsoft platform.
We offer comprehensive and holistic coverage for your business apps, whether we built them, collaborated with your team to develop them, or had them transitioned to our care from a previous provider. Cloud monitoring and support is 24/7 through our incident response and support teams in the U.K. and abroad. Meanwhile, our application support team takes the utmost care with the configuration and code of your apps. If one or both must be changed to address a problem, they take an agile approach to doing so and thoroughly test after any alteration.
Partnering with Transparity Ballard Chalmers for your application management means you can rest assured that apps function as they should and will be efficiently remedied if things go wrong. Also, a dedicated Service Delivery Manager is assigned to you, reviewing our management of your apps via quarterly reporting, trend monitoring, and strategic advice.
As a Microsoft Solutions Partner in Digital and App Innovation for Azure, we have the experience and resources to closely manage your apps so they serve your business needs most effectively.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about the Managed Application Service.