What clients tell us about AMS…
Following on from David and Caroline’s articles on Application Management Services (AMS), I thought I would share some of the client feedback I receive. Whether your service is labelled AMS, Managed Service, Outsourced Support or some other name, the fundamental findings remain true.
David Cruise and Caroline Eder have already indicated the ticket-based process is frustrating. It is what we in Preos refer to as ticket ping pong. Every movement of the ticket back and forth between the customer and the AMS provider results in a charge, 80% of which is non-value add.
AMS often acts as a training ground for the willing, enthusiastic and ambitious people who start their careers in Workday before advancing into consulting roles on implementations. For the economics of AMS to work, low pay is required to keep costs down, but this limits the quality and experience of the consulting. Customers tell me they want insights into how other customers resolve business challenges in Workday BAU, but this requires years of experience, often in the same industry. This is very hard to find within a typical AMS practice.
High levels of labour turnover or internal churn in vendors organisations result in disconnected support. The less experienced want to progress in their careers so long tenure will not typically be normal.
AMS teams cover multiple customers. These customers have Service Level Agreement targets that need to be hit and the pressure to deliver the numbers probably overrides other factors more important to the customer.
The ticket-based delivery model used in the large offshore AMS service centres often leads to a lack of continuity of consultants throughout the ticket lifecycle. The individuals must rely on the notes recorded in the ticket management system and have no personal context or previous involvement with the customer’s support request, making it harder to design and deliver the right solution. Instead, more time (and money) is spent playing catch up with the previous AMS agent and/or customer who gets frustrated at having to repeat the ask.
We have come across instances of clients using organisations that are not Workday certified. The risk to quality is high as the vendor is typically trying to skirt around Workday quality assurance processes.
AMS is a loss leader for many of the big consultancies. Witness Kyndryl, the spin-off from IBM, which is having to fundamentally restructure itself following years of IBM selling their services at very low or no margin. Kyndryl is changing successfully and has made a big commitment to using Workday as one of its core platforms. AMS typically sits as a division within a much larger organisation and is intended to be low-margin, high-volume.
Building on that point, even where the low cost to the customer might seem a bargain, we see many instances where AMS is not cost-efficient. The customer usually having to re-work or double hand but, as that cost is not so easily visible, it does not get the attention it deserves.
In summary, all these factors result in our clients feeling frustrated and annoyed, wondering what value they get from AMS, disillusioned as they cannot exploit Workday to its full potential and concerned about swapping vendors as they will get more of the same.
Having written all the above, I should stress that some AMS vendors provide services with which their customers are satisfied; sophisticated Workday customers know how to get the best from their provider. But it is infrequent and down to the dedication of outstanding staff in both the customer and AMS organisation.
When AMS services started many years ago, they were genuinely adding value. The static nature of on-premise solutions meant AMS providers could keep enhancing solutions. But AMS is now a commodity service designed around an outdated operating model; it is not right for the flexibility and agility required by customers using cloud solutions. Workday customers need a service that adds value, that can adjust to the flexibility their brilliant platform provides and enables their teams and solutions to grow in capability.