Synergy required for outsourcing SLAs

Workers re-deployed to more technical areas

Superannuation and investment software and services provider Financial Synergy has achieved cost savings, extended its support capabilities, and has improved employee job satisfaction by outsourcing its helpdesk and data-centre maintenance.

The company provides an online fund reporting tool, Acurity, to its members, financial advisors, employers, and more than two million investor accounts in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Financial Synergy CIO Jason Carter said his initial decision to outsource was driven by the need for 24x7 helpdesk support, rather than the existing nine to five hours, and to direct its talented employees on more technical areas.

"We spent a lot of time weighing the benefits of outsourcing and the nature of out client base meant we had to have 24x7 support which fit well with outsourcing," Carter said.

Carter said while the decision to outsource meant "a couple" of employees were made redundant, the remaining helpdesk staff were moved to more customer-centric and more technical roles.

He said he shared common outsourcing concerns, such as loss of data control, but was not fazed by the prospect of data loss because valuable data is kept inside the network under tight in-house security.

Carter said the importance of SLAs and the concept of partnerships depends on vendor dedication of.

"If it has come down to looking at SLAs to see if your provider is up to scratch, then it's time to kill the deal," Carter said, noting that a vendor deal only becomes a 'partnership' after trust and understanding has developed.

David Stevens managing director of Brennan IT, Financial Synergy's outsourcing partner, supported Carter's claims, saying that outsourcing relies on individual client satisfaction rather than SLAs.

"SLAs are great for contracts but they aren't the most important part [of an outsourcing] contract; rather the customer needs a level of service that suits their business irrespective of what's on paper," Stevens said.

The relationship has flourished, according to Carter, who has since outsourced Financial Synergy's 300 server strong datacentre and its VoIP telecommunications, and plans to consider further outsourcing for future applicable projects.

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