Safeguarding critical systems: what's your plan b?

We know that software is a major enabler in the digital transformation process. Whether you are in the early stages of your journey or are focused on continuously refining and improving your business, sometimes the solutions implemented are complex and fall outside the sphere of accountability of your existing IT or engineering teams.

Once you’ve got your digital solutions in place, you need to be confident that your critical solutions will operate as you need them, now and into the future. Unexpected system failure is an added expense that no one wants.

So when you have multiple solutions implemented, how do you ensure you have access to digital transformation support when you need it? We’re going to look at a few ways to manage your team capability, and why it’s so important to have a support strategy in place.

Risk reduction for critical systems: why you need a partnered approach to software support

As most businesses know, the digital operations software support offering is usually provided by an integrator, rather than the software vendor themselves. This is why Nukon have such strong relationships with our technology partners, because our team works closely with their products every day. Nukon support agents are also close to new technology and follow case studies that are relevant to their industry, keeping them informed about the latest updates. 

Gaining access to digital operations software support can be a challenge for businesses who don’t have the specialty skills within their own teams. It means raising a support ticket with the software vendor, which can cause a couple of problems: 

  1. the software support agents are often based internationally, meaning there can be delays due to different time zones or due to sheer demand
  2. the software support agent understands their product, but often they don’t understand the nuances of your operations
  3. the software support agents are unlikely to understand the nuances of their solution as implemented in your business.  

A digital transformation support desk offering can be a valuable addition during your transformation journey, and as your business continues to grow. The other big plus? You know the level of support you'll be getting - something we've previously recommended checking! 

Read more: Busting the three most common myths about off-the-shelf manufacturing software

Does your business have the specific digital capability to problem-solve, and who is accountable for
managing an incident? Image credit: PCH.vector

In-house versus a digital transformation support partner

In-house support may be an option for some companies, but this isn’t necessarily the best solution for everyone. When the costs involved with digital transformation can be high, additional expenditure for in-house support can be a tough business case to make, especially when ongoing training has to be factored in. 

For businesses that choose to have their digital operations support in-house, it’s worth mentioning that some businesses has found this makes it hard to keep up with technology developments. Managing the risk of a software issue arising involves a strong understanding of the deployed integration, so being able to bridge the gap between multiple systems is expertise that can often be undervalued.

As we mentioned above, digital operations support can sometimes fall outside the scope of accountability for your IT team and your engineers, making it hard to define responsibilities.

The question to ask is whether your business has the specific digital capability to solve a problem if an integration problem arises. If not, you need to be able to rely on a digital support partner.    

Read more6 questions you must ask before starting your operation’s digital transformation  

Managing team capability with multiple solutions in place

The development, integration and deployment of your systems is just one part of your digital journey. As production increases and the business grows to accommodate this, the software solutions need to be able to stand up to increased demand.

The support solutions needed in this time are more than just IT support for manufacturing systems. A more comprehensive understanding of integration, business processes and operations is needed.

When the success of your production runs relies on your systems working together, technical expertise from a support desk can deliver excellent value for money in the short-term, or on a longer-term basis. 

A system failure is the wrong time to realise that you don’t have the internal capability to diagnose and repair the issue. A risk reduction strategy should involve planning a response to incidents, and if the capability isn’t the best it could be within your team, outsourcing can be the best solution.

Nukon Support Desk provides technical support under the ITIL framework, ensuring any issues are escalated on a priority basis, and the incident is monitored throughout the lifecycle. Support staff work closely with your team, bringing the knowledge together from both sides. 

Support based on the priority matrix (above) ensures the most critical
incidents are resolved first.

There are ways that Nukon Support Desk differs to a general helpdesk 

Incident resolution is just one aspect of the support desk’s offering. The relationship between Nukon and their clients is ongoing, which means the team develop a comprehensive knowledge of both the operations and the systems in place.  

The support desk offering is tailored to each client, so there is proactive support that can help enable future business growth. Each analyst and software engineer brings highly specialised knowledge to any incident or upgrade, as well as in-depth knowledge of the industry sector they are working in.

When approaching any incident, we also understand how crucial it is to follow change management and risk mitigation processes.

As we like to explain it, we are an extension of your business AND your business capabilities.

Combining these skills delivers the best outcome for Nukon’s clients, drawing on:
Industry experience – Nukon has sector leads across food and beverage, general manufacturing, energy and utilities
Customer experience — independent advice, clear communication and proactive responses to changing business needs
Technical expertise — knowledge of the client environment and current technology, security of systems.

A support arrangement for your business doesn’t mean being locked in to an expensive contract either. Flexible models can be created to meet your meets and budget.

Nukon support solutions for risk mitigation

Business needs continually change, and the support that you need to continue operations will also change throughout your journey. Determining how you will access digital transformation support throughout all stage of the life cycle should be a big consideration in your business plan.

There is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to the support model for your business. To help manage the solutions you have in place, and reduce the risk of critical system failure, speak to a digital transformation consultant. They can help you identify areas of risk and work with your team to build a support strategy that you can rely on.

Nukon can be a key part of a business continuity plan (BCP) or an extended support plan, helping clients to mitigate and manage risks so that they can continue to operate. In periods of high demand on assets, Nukon can assist in preventing break downs and reducing the risk of issues occurring.

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Topics: digital, operations, software