The potential is there. SharePoint provides organizations with a platform that can be used to consolidate applications (existing and new) and add value through the native integration of the work of the users. In this article we’ll look at the experience of a customer who drove this home over the last year with benefits in cost savings and organizational improvements.
Our customer is a 3,000 person non-governmental Health Agency. Their mission is to improve health and standards of living for 35 member countries across the Americas. Headquartered in Washington, DC they serve a broad and diverse community with 31 in-country offices in the member states.
Getting to the New Model
They have been a CorasWorks customer since 2004. They have used CorasWorks on both SharePoint 2003 and SharePoint 2007. On these environments, CorasWorks was used to enhance their Intranet with content services, collaboration, and work management. In planning for 2011, they were preparing to move to SharePoint 2010 and to use CorasWorks v11. They decided to expand their perspective of SharePoint from a collaborative environment to become an application platform. To accomplish this they planned a shared services, Service Delivery model heavily leveraging CorasWorks that they would use to consolidate applications and build new apps.
App Consolidation during 2011
Armed with SP 2010, CorasWorks v11, and, a new App Service Delivery mandate, during 2011, they began building and consolidating applications on SharePoint. Below is a list of the top 10 applications that they delivered based upon CorasWorks.
The applications had a broad range of Types. “Typing” and understanding the design patterns behind the types is an important part of the standardization of their Service Delivery model. In addition, in the table we list how the application was delivered. While all of them are CorasWorks-based, their service team used a different set of resources to deliver the apps to their business customers. Note that more than half of the apps were delivered using just internal resources.
Cost Impact of CorasWorks-based App Consolidation
We worked with the customer to do an analysis of the delivery cost impact for these applications. We looked at each application and alternatives evaluated. Many of the alternatives were apps delivered as separate Application Services. Some were only possible as a custom project. The comparison applications were the middle range of applications with a comparable feature set.
The result of the analysis is that using CorasWorks they saved $321,000 or 64% of the cost of using alternative 3rd party off-the-shelf apps and services. Some of the details are as follows:
- The total cost to deliver the 10 apps above was $184,000 ($18k/app).
- This cost includes software license costs to CorasWorks, CorasWorks Professional Services, services from CorasWorks partners, and, the man-days used internally to deliver the apps. The organization used 75 man-days internally.
- The cost of the applications if delivered using 3rd party software/services was estimated to be $505,000 ($50k/app).
Further, it is estimated that over the next 3 years with the CorasWorks/SharePoint licensing model, the organization will save another $250,000 in additional licensing and services costs over the costs of CorasWorks for these 10 applications. In addition, they are able to leverage their Corasworks/SharePoint investment and Service Delivery capabilities to build and consolidate additional applications over the three years with even greater savings per app.
Overall Success of Service Delivery Model
The cost savings noted above are significant. But, in their annual review of the model, they highlighted additional benefits as follows:
- The projects were delivered, and, within time, budget, and feature set. By delivered we mean, made it to production. A 100% success result was significant. There were few surprises because they knew in advance where they could get to and what it would take.
- The business users got what they wanted. Unlike the alternative apps that were initially reviewed before they decided on a CorasWorks solution, the business groups were able to get what they really wanted and needed. Thus, in their opinion what they got was superior to the alternative.
- They did this with little impact on the operating environment. Only one feature required custom compiled code. Thus, the apps were delivered on top of the standardized CorasWorks/SharePoint environment which enhances the ongoing maintainability of the entire shared services environment.
- The cost of applications is declining as they gain on the learning curve.
- The user experience is improving as the apps become inter-connected across the environment. Thus, instead of a user having to go to many separate apps and learn new interfaces they are able to access all relevant apps from wherever they work and use a common interface.
Here are some of my general comments about this organization and their success with their App Consolidation and Service Delivery model.
- They have very good people managing Service Delivery. They know SharePoint. They know and have invested to learn CorasWorks. They are exceptional at understanding the design patterns for collaborative applications and how to apply them and reuse the designs, frameworks, and components. They are confident enough to deliver complete applications internally and know when to outsource.
- The Service Delivery group has the trust of the business groups and the support of IT and general senior management. It helps that a number of the applications were specifically for the senior management of the organization.
- During 2011, they invested in the CorasWorks Solution Frameworks, Cim for Collaboration, and PPM for Project work, which they have leveraged for multiple applications and which had a significant impact on the reduced costs. The Solutions were on top of the CorasWorks v11 platform. (These costs are included in the costs analysis above).
- Their organization is really just learning to collaborate. Six months ago I was speaking with the Service Delivery Manager and he told me “people in our organization don’t collaborate; they work and they share information when they have to”. This may seem odd for an organization that has had SharePoint for 8 years, and, has a globally distributed operating structure. But, real collaboration is a lot more than sharing documents in a team site. Over the last 6 months with SP2010, CorasWorks Collaboration and the collaborative applications they’ve delivered and on their roadmap this has started to change.