Professional Services and Support

Professional Services play multiple roles in a product company. As ISVs strive to offer the “whole product”, Professional Services act as product sales enablers. Professional services are also responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction leading to reference ability, thus boosting product sales. However, the Professional Services role in ISVs is undergoing a transformation. As products get commoditized, service innovations create the differentiator. The share of services revenue in total sales of an ISV is rising, more so during economic downturns when license sales decline rapidly. New services delivery models are making the services more profitable and scalable, hitherto a concern for valuation conscious ISVs.

"As a direct result of our partnership with Symphony we have increased development headcount, improved overall quality metrics, and reduced development costs. Their expertise—from analytics to user experience—provides us with access to a range of skills and capabilities a company our size could not afford to have in-house"

Nathanael Lentz
President and CEO, Verticalnet, Inc.

Symphony’s Professional Services practice understands and caters to the unique needs of the Embedded Services organization within an ISV which are distinct from those of a system integrator or a pure services organization.

Symphony’s Professional Services help clients achieve multiple Services goals including:

  • Realization of Services revenues through ‘white-labeling’
  • Driving additional Services capacity without having to scale 1 : 1
  • Driving process improvements achieving productivity / quality gains
  • Improved services margins through Global Delivery Methodology for delivering implementations in onsite-offshore models
Symphony’s Professional Services Offerings

Our Professional Services offerings meet the unique services needs during different phases of the product lifecycle. Our key offerings include:

Our ‘white label’ services approach is aimed at working as an extension of the services team of an ISV. By not competing for the revenue share, unlike the partner network, Symphony Professional Services help the ISV in meeting its financial goals. We bring product development rigor to services by harnessing the best practices garnered from our product development experience for more than 80 ISVs.

Proof of Concept

As ISVs introduce a new product or technology in a specific market, their clients often demand a Proof of Concept before making a buying decision. The Embedded Professional Services team of an ISV has the responsibility of identifying critical business needs of the prospect , create a Proof of Concept that meets those and demonstrate the same effectively to win the deal.

Symphony Professional Services has gathered deep insights into the Indian market in general by virtue of being a reseller for one of its clients and has a team of experienced professionals who understand the POC process from a business requirement study to creating the prototypes. This coupled with our vertical domain knowledge in fashion, retail, food, telecom & financial services can provide the necessary springboard for the ISV to launch its products in India in a short span of time.

Customization Factory

In the early stages of a product lifecycle, ISVs release COTS products with limited features to capture the growth market. This leads to significant customizations to meet customer specific requirements. Traditionally, ISVs manage these customizations onsite, using local teams. The model lacks scalability, suffers from low productivity and quality issues apart from the incurred financial losses.

Symphony Customization Factory is uniquely poised to address these issues by using manufacturing principles in the development of customizations. In manufacturing, a large range of product variants is rapidly assembled from reusable components. Also, menial tasks are automated and skills are grouped around a process, leading to efficiencies of scale and scope.

Some of the important characteristics of Symphony Customisation factory include:

  • Standardized components and re-usable assets, typically disaggregated by domain. After developing a number of solutions in a given problem domain a set of reusable abstractions are identified. The knowledge of experienced professionals is encapsulated as reusable assets. A framework to codify the abstractions & patterns is developed. Tools are built to pick up and assemble the codified components to configure the solution. A “Reuse Engineer” manages the Solution Library. Reusability leads to enhanced productivity, lower costs & predictable quality.
  • Economy of Scope & Scale: Economy of scale refers to supply side efficiencies e.g. production volumes and Economy of scope refers to demand side efficiencies e.g. customization & migration bundling
  • Centralized volumes justify automation through productivity tools e.g. migration , testing
  • Specialized Skill Sets: Volumes in the factory justify reducing the width of skill sets required by a resource. This leads to reduction in hiring & training lead times and facilitates rapid scaling.
  • Parallel Processing Capability along the principles of multiple assembly lines reduces delivery lead times

Key benefits of the Factory approach include:

  • Improved turnaround time for software deployments and upgrades
  • Improved resource management across peaks/valleys of demand due to centralized operations
  • Increased services productivity via reusable components, tools and automation
  • Improve workforce skill set balance to reduce cost and improve talent sourcing lead times
  • Enhanced visibility to schedule and variations via improved processing (akin to traditional manufacturing process model).
  • Workflow and output predictability
  • Increased knowledge retention and reuse across development and services environment
Global Delivery Model

As markets for a given product or technology mature, customers become conscious of TCO. Service models become a key differentiator in lowering the cost and reducing the time-to-value through rapid deployments. Traditionally ISVs have depended on local partners or system integrators across the world to serve these customers. It works well as long as the product sales are climbing but the moment these plateau, and ISVs dependence on services revenue goes up this model does not work. ISVs are realizing the importance of virtualization of professional services through a global delivery model which allows them to cater to large markets without giving away a share of the services revenue to local partners.

Symphony Professional Services has a robust Global Delivery Model which can transform up to 70% of the work in a typical enterprise application implementation offshore. The methodology consists of proven tools, templates, guidelines and checklists which make the collaboration between onsite & offshore teams seamless.

The Global Delivery Model for professional services offers multiple benefits to the ISVs.

  • Competencies are available in locations of abundant supply thus removing geographical barriers to scale up
  • Follow the Sun approach leads to rapid implementations which can be leveraged as a competitive advantage to gain a larger market share
  • Experts are utilized for high-end high-touch onsite work on multiple projects, leaving tasks like configuration, testing & support to the offshore centralized pool. This improves productivity, utilization and better services gross margins.
  • The knowledge base of the global delivery center evolves as a competency center and services are productized for reuse through domain specific templates.
Upgrade Factory

ISVs come out with a large number of releases & versions in their quest for a larger market share in a growing market. This leaves them with numerous installed bases across multiple versions to maintain and the support costs go up. Also, there is the risk of losing legacy customers to competition due to inadequate support or fulfillment of dynamic business needs.

Quick and cost effective upgrades not only address these but also compensate for the declining license sales as the product life cycle starts declining towards its end. IDC Research shows that upgrades imply:

  • Very High Costs
    • On average, it costs one man week of project effort and $1,839 for each business user. This works out to 20.7 man years and $9.2M for a company with 5,000 business users
    • Major upgrades were only 50% more expensive than minor ones: $2,096 versus $1,392, which explains companies' reticence to stay current with each point release.
    • Small ERP implementations of fewer than 1,000 users averaged $4,155 per business user, almost four times the cost of large implementations.
  • Unless business need dictate it
    • 55% of upgrades were driven by business needs, 21% due to Maintenance and Support policies while only 24% were due to purely Technology/Platform reasons.
  • High Time to Upgrade
    • Only 12% of the upgrades were within 3 months, while 71% took more than 6 months (23% took more than a year).
  • Planning and testing are the toughest phases of most upgrades, but the largest systems struggle with data migration.

Symphony Upgrade Factory is well poised to help ISVs meet these challenges effectively through the following attributes:

  • Volumes generated from centralized operations justify investments in high level of automation which in turn improve productivity
  • Skills grouped around processes lead to a shorter learning curve and this a quick scale up
  • Onsite offshore delivery model cuts down the lead times drastically and has the potential to increase the deployment rate by about 40% to 50%
  • Centralized operations lead to better utilization and avoid cost over runs and delays common in a high touch onsite model due to logistics challenges
Integration Services

End customers buy an enterprise application to solve business problems. One of the critical needs is application integration for seamless flow of information, collaborative business processes and reducing the total cost of ownership of IT infrastructure. More and more ISVs are looking into this area as an additional revenue stream hitherto a stronghold of system integrators. Leveraging their deep product knowledge, domain expertise and relationships built over a period of time the professional services wing within a product company can generate highly profitable revenue with integration services.

Symphony Professional Services combine product development DNA, robust global delivery model and domain expertise to help our clients firmly entrench in this market segment of integration services through the following offerings:

  • Integration Assessment
  • Business Process Integration
  • Web services strategy & enablement
  • Adapters & Connectors
  • Point interfaces
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