Managed Doesn’t Mean Losing Control

Posted by Steve Berry

Oct 24, 2019 2:04:05 PM

Managed application hosting gives you 100% control of your financial ecosystem without the burden of building, maintaining, operating, and optimizing that ecosystem yourself.

If you are thinking about adopting a solution like Oracle EPM Cloud then you will want to also consider Managed Application Hosting (MAH) — and for the same reason. You want maximum visibility and agility — in other words, control — over how to manage your financial resources for maximum returns. Even the best EPM solution will be held back from affording better bottom line results if not properly configured on the best hardware and system software and if not optimally implemented, operated, and maintained. Those are not easy tasks and can be prohibitively expensive for any single company on its own. Even companies that do have the money may wish to consider whether managing the intricacies of an EPM cloud stack is the best way to spend it. 

Of course, it might seem like a contradiction that you only exert maximum control over something when you let someone else manage it — even if that someone else is an expert who has done this countless times, day in and day out, for a large number of companies in a variety of industries, including yours. Actually, this contradiction is proved false every day — especially in fields calling for highly specialized skills. Take healthcare. When you are sick you probably let your doctor manage your care rather than you recommending your own personal treatments and medicines. You may end up choosing a particular treatment or medicine over alternatives, but usually that is after discussing the pros and cons of various options with your doctor. The actual choice is yours but the consultation comes first. And once the choice is made, the doctor, not you, is the one responsible for getting it done (assuming you follow doctor’s orders).

The same logic applies to your EPM cloud. A myriad of specialized skills is required at every stage of EPM deployment and operation: setting up and configuring hardware, installing and configuring software, technical support, patch management, system maintenance, monitoring, and software updates, as well as ongoing tailoring of the application to the business. This last function may include spot training of your internal team on how to perform a particular application-related task (like changing a business rule or calculation, or even writing a more complicated report integrating several data sources). It could also mean actually doing the application tailoring for you. A misstep at any one of these stages could create issues ranging from security vulnerabilities, to slow application performance, to the inability to make timely critical decisions. Instead of EPM cloud boosting enterprise performance, just the opposite occurs. And rather than your team exerting more control over your EPM cloud — and, by extension, your finances — you actually exert less. So, just like in choosing your doctor, selecting a MAH partner with a high level of technical skill is obviously important. But technical skill is not everything.

Stay Away from Control Freaks

Gaining greater application control by outsourcing application management, even if technical competent, is not automatic. Of particular concern is whether the MAH resource even allows you to be the one in ultimate control of your own financial ecosystem — or not. In other words, whether that resource is a control freak. According to Wikipedia, “the term control freak describes an individual who attempts to undermine other people based on how one dictates how everything is done around them. … In the corporate world, control freaks tend to publicly admonish their inferiors, especially during meetings. … There may be a fine line between being a detail-oriented manager, who likes things done ‘right,’ and being a (destructive) control freak. Control freaks are usually a cause of micromanagement.”[1]

At one time or another we have all worked with service providers who thought they knew our business better than we did — who dismissed what we said just because they had more technical skill. Such providers often confuse industry best practices with their own inflexible definition of the ideal solution, even if misaligned with the current need. The results are predictable — a mismatch between requirements and deliverables, end-users’ frustration when trying to perform supposedly “easy” tasks, and communication avoidance. Most people will simply risk the consequences of making an uninformed decision rather than work with someone obsessed with being “right” all the time.

Given the scarcity of technically qualified talent these days, it is increasingly tempting to overlook personality issues in the technical resources you recruit. Whether or not that approach works when hiring a highly skilled individual contributor is one question. (Not likely for today’s highly collaborative DevOps teams.) But what cannot be questioned is who controls your financial ecosystem — you or your MAH partner. It had better be you.


[1] Viewed September 19, 2019.

Topics: EPM Support, Technology Insights, Cloud EPM, Managed Services, Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Managed Application Services (MAH), Oracle Products