AST cuts application lifecycle management cost by 30 percent for global pharmaceutical leader
"This (Infosys engagement) was probably the most efficiently managed and executed projects I have ever been a part of. From engagement and scoping to project management, quality, development, testing, and execution, the project was outstanding. I would recommend this project team to anyone running an IT project at our company. All involved should be commended."
– Business Technology Manager of a leading global pharmaceuticals company
The client is a leading global pharmaceuticals company operating from over 100 countries with more than 100,000 staff and a dedicated research team of about 12,000 scientists.
Having grown organically through several mergers and acquisitions, the client organization was saddled with a host of disparate IT systems. Its IT environment was characterized by silos of applications, platforms, and infrastructure creation and management, with little or no sharing of services.
More than 50 vendors supported the portfolio of over 400 applications built on diverse, non-standard technologies, architecture, and infrastructure. The key challenges were low utilization of infrastructure, disparate technology footprint, non-standard operating processes, low visibility across application portfolios, decentralized vendor management, and an overall high operating cost.
Infosys set up an enterprise Application Service Transformation (AST) organization to help consolidate service delivery, by leveraging a shared services model. The initiative covered 12 service areas including service desk, platform operations, platform build, capacity management, database administration, application support, application maintenance, application architecture, independent testing, quality management and compliance, and release management. The program, covering end-to-end application lifecycle management, included infrastructure standardization and platform harmonization and was designed to overcome challenges such as multiple, non-standard technologies, decentralized infrastructure, with low resource utilization and 'silos' of application development and management.
Infosys focused on the following key aspects while developing the model, to ensure repeatability and to measure robustness:
Throughput: Model-based approach to plan, track, and measure throughput of the organization to enable multiple programs to run in parallel, while cross-leveraging experience. The model used productivity measures to improve resource planning by continuously measuring human resource utilization and analyzing leverage of offshore assets. To measure success and drive optimization , the following measurement criteria were defined utilizing the scorecard mechanism:
Program Scorecard: This achieves tracking program objectives by measuring, tracking, and analyzing parameters such as throughput, process maturity, growth in customer satisfaction, and cost savings
Service Quality Scorecard: All the 12 services are scored against multiple parameters and the results are published periodically. This scorecard helps measure individual service quality, strengths, and weaknesses to help continuously achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction
Staff Quality Scorecard: People quality is continuously measured to drive resource rotation, skills development, and training plans
Reporting: The AST organization produces various reports and includes a dashboard that captures application health status, resource status, delivery issues in services, productivity, and infrastructure status. Input data is sourced from various execution tools and final reports are generated using the reporting tool with some manual intervention.
Chargeback model: A robust chargeback model utilized pre-existing budgets from different application portfolios and apportioned costs to each subscribing application based on various criteria. This delivered cost savings for the subscribing applications.
Resolving client challenges
Multiple vendors using diverse support models to support applications across portfolios resulted in lack of predictability in service quality and high cost of services. Moreover, the client had a decentralized service model for application support and maintenance that was hamstrung by the lack of standard processes and tools. Non-uniform process maturity and application owners’ resistance to change compounded the problems.
By creating an organization to manage all applications through standardized processes and service level agreements (SLAs), Infosys provided effective consolidation of services and a single interface to end users. The solution provided end-to-end infrastructure and application support, governed by unified processes and SLAs. It used an ROI-based approach to prioritize applications for transition to the shared service, considering factors such as technology consolidation, existing vendor availability, and application stability.
Infosys created a service catalogue with clearly defined scope of services and SLAs, aligned robust process definition with industry standards like ITIL and CMMI, and set up a single-window service desk for end users. Interactive sessions with application owners along with metrics-based reporting on application service performance provided transparency to the benefits of the new model.
Infosys conducted a large pilot, followed by a quick ramp up of the service program. It documented the client’s processes and did a thorough review of each application before transition to ensure stability and performance. An independent process and compliance team was created as part of the program to define processes and ensure adherence.
The Infosys Application Service Transformation solution:
- Reduced overhead and operations costs
- Reduced application delivery cost by 30 percent through shared onsite-offshore model
- Introduced predictable service quality ─ overall SLA adherence over 95 percent
- Increased availability of platforms and applications
- Reduced technology spread and bandwidth required to manage the platforms
- Provided expertise to architect and implement a solution through a single interface
- Strengthened the security framework for applications
- Improved turnaround time for user requests and issues
- Provided standardized and predictable estimation models for more accurate budget forecasting