Boston, August 22nd - 2019

You may have heard that providers in the application managed services space are redesigning their support models to accommodate for the deployment of automation into their service delivery models. I wanted to take a moment to explain our approach and how it differs significantly from those of our competitors.

With the widespread adoption of automation technologies many providers are demanding an immediate return on their technology investment. A quick glance at the balance sheet appears to show that their experienced labor pool represents a line item ripe for trimming. On paper this makes sense; You invest in automation in order to reduce the number of people you need, so it logically follows that these initiatives should result in a reduction in headcount and the associated costs. Although this certainly improves the financial optics, it is woefully misguided from an operational perspective and threatens the stability of client environments.

The problem with this approach is two-fold. First, the above premise for the adoption of automation is inherently flawed. Mature organizations investing in these technologies should not be looking for an immediate return. This is a sea change in how managed services are provided and any adjustment of this magnitude takes time. Providers should expect their L3+ headcount to grow more slowly, eventually remain static relative to the number of environments under management, and finally to fall. But again – only relative to the number of workloads they are managing. And this leads us to the second and most dangerous error that some organizations are making.

If deployed properly, these technologies do offer the opportunity to reduce resources in the short term. The accountants looking for immediate relief for this quarter are going to be disappointed, however. The redundancies we expect to see when automation is introduced are not among the ranks of the highly experienced, but rather the L1 and L2 support teams who have typically been assigned the more mundane tasks associated with application and infrastructure management. Reducing reliance upon these resources in favor of automation is a wise decision, but it is not one that should be made primarily for immediate economic gain, as these pools are relatively inexpensive already.

But the promises have been made and the costs must be justified. And so, we are seeing the real-world consequences of poorly considered automation deployment strategies: the purging of the very people that are of the most value. Here is the often-misunderstood truth about application management: Not everyone does it well. Behind every successfully deployed and managed application environment are individuals who have honed and mastered their craft over many years and many hard nights in the trenches. You cannot automate experience nor can you replace good judgement with artificial intelligence. These will forever be qualities that are needed to consistently deliver successful outcomes.

As professionals in this space for more than 20 years, we understand exactly where emerging technologies can - and can’t - be helpful. We use deep automation and artificial intelligence to remove the repetitive, commodity tasks that humans don’t do particularly well and that carry a significant risk profile. This greatly enhances the stability of the environment and frees our expert engineers to add value higher up in the technology stack, right where our clients need them.

We built apiphani to take advantage of the most current automation and AI technologies available. Rather than reducing the number of experienced engineers we are adding more as quickly as we can. Indeed, we employ exactly zero L1 or L2 staff and have no intention of doing so. Every engineer our clients speak to is among the best in the industry. We also silo our teams by account, not technology. This means that every conversation is with someone who knows not just what application the client is running, but how they are using it, and what happens when it doesn’t run well.

Our clients choose to partner with us because they understand the value of a resilient environment, the cost of a fragile one, and the benefits of working with experts on a daily basis. Our engineers work with us because they know we appreciate their talent, their dedication to our clients, and the passion that they bring to work every day. In an industry struggling to adapt to change, apiphani offers our clients and technologists a consistent and reliable operating model built upon the technologies that will power this industry for years to come.

Whether you are an existing or prospective client, a member of our amazing team, or one of our great technology partners, I want to thank you for giving this a read. I welcome your feedback and look forward to continuing the conversation.

 

With Kind Regards,

 

Justin Folkers
Founder & CEO