Martin Biggs, VP and General Manager EMEA, Spinnaker Support, shares some insight into software spend and some of the operational benefits of third-party software support that can enhance the work and support the priorities of the CIO and CFO.
How much of your IT expenditure goes on software? A recent report by Gartner found that industry-wide software spending is the second largest item on the typical IT budget. It’s paramount that software is working hard for your business, supported fully and aligned with your digitisation goals.
But what if your business could halve its software maintenance costs, gain an improved service all round and even minimise operational risk?
This is the reality of third-party software support. The goal for CIOs and CFOs should be for their software infrastructure to align with their business’ overall goals – whether that’s a move to the cloud, a company-wide digital upgrade, or sticking with the seamless systems and ecosystem you’ve already got. Third-party software support offers a means of achieving all these objectives – and more.
While often praised for the financial savings – and these savings are significant – there are additional, lesser-known operational benefits of third-party software support that can enhance the work and support the priorities of the CIO and the CFO alike.
For the CFO
Protecting against cybersecurity threats, looking for ways to strengthen defences, minimising downtime – security is central to every business’ operation. In this landscape, businesses need the peace of mind that if they encounter holes or vulnerabilities in their software, those issues will be resolved quickly, without opening any additional security risks. This is especially critical for businesses in highly regulated industries where outages and downtime can have severe operational implications.
Some businesses can find themselves in trouble when it comes to upgrades or critical security patches if their support package is not tailored specifically to their needs. Generalised support packages, often for legacy software versions or longtime customers, don’t always come with security patches and upgrades, despite the hefty price tag.
Therefore, it’s critical for CFOs to have support packages that take a holistic approach to their business’ goals and security. Round-the-clock support, even for legacy systems, can integrate within wider security policies and practices to benefit the whole organisation. And if that means sticking with your older system because the processes work for the business and its people, that’s OK.
Software and its support must align with your organisation’s Digital Transformation plans. For some businesses, this means using the best out of several software providers to suit their bespoke needs and requirements – this could be in a hybrid environment, for example. Whether a company is utilising a combination of Windows and Salesforce, or Oracle and Workday, the CFO needs to know that the systems used across the business are fully supported, at a competitive price. Businesses need coherence and synergy across the systems used to realise their full working potential – ideally without paying support costs in perpetuity for a usable fraction of one software system. It’s the goal of third-party software support companies to help businesses realise their Digital Transformation goals through software, wherever they are on that journey.
In this uncertain economic climate, many business leaders are understandably wary of opening their infrastructures to unnecessary risks. This includes the risk inherent in company-wide upgrades, which are often regularly encouraged as part of many software support packages. What if the business can’t hire the right skills to support the new infrastructure? What if existing staff are pulled away from critical tasks to assist with the migration? Upgrades are an organisational-wide decision and should only be implemented when and if it makes business sense to do so. If an organisation’s software is functional, stable and everyone is getting the most from it, the CFO would be right to question the value of introducing more risk to a system when the existing system can be fully supported.
For the CIO
The headline is that CIOs and tech leaders can make huge savings by switching to third-party software support. With looming inflationary troubles and given the difficult recruitment climate, these monetary savings shouldn’t be overlooked. And few would argue against the positives of shifting budgets from operational costs to transformation, digitisation or even skills investment.
These savings are also found in time and resources. IT teams often spend hours grappling internally with software issues, working collaboratively with their vendor’s in-house support to diagnose the problem and waiting for a resolution. Getting access to a senior support engineer can take time – lost time. But having access to high-level support from a dedicated software engineer, within minutes, is possible with third-party support. This dedicated engineer, in effect, becomes a part of the IT team themselves, who understands the intricacies of the business needs and the level of support required.
CIOs are always on the lookout for how they can consolidate their technical processes and ultimately produce better outcomes for their business and clients. To do this, they need flexibility and freedom. Flexibility to change their level of support or even change contracts if it’s not working for them and their time, freedom to choose which elements within the software stack they need maintenance and support for. Efficiency can only be improved when barriers to straightforward, streamlined work processes are removed.
The cost benefits of third-party software support are well documented and widely known – they’re always 50% less than the annual cost of packaged support and maintenance options.
This price tag is attractive and is often touted as the motivating factor behind businesses’ decisions to move away from their vendor’s packaged support. But having a software support system in place isn’t just about engineers answering your calls and your team paying a fair price for it. It’s about working collaboratively to understand your business’ unique digitisation journey and goals. It’s about creating a productive, efficient, stable software environment.
For CIOs, the ‘Fear of Missing Out’ can also come into play. It’s natural to be concerned that moving away from a vendor’s software support also means a breaking of the ability to remain on the vendor’s software roadmap – be that on-premise or in the cloud. In fact, the decoupling often improves the CIO’s ability to execute against their roadmap in the shape, method and timeline that they want, and not that of the software publisher.Click below to share this article