Don’t Let a Vast and Complex Applications Portfolio Drag You into the Quicksand – Act Now

and Disruptive IT Trends4 minutes readDec 1st, 2015

Imagine you are sitting in a coffee shop and you notice that your smartphone is being sluggish yet again. Applications aren’t opening up immediately, there’s a constant lag with everything and sometimes things seem to crash midway. Fortunately your smartphone has a ‘Manage Applications’ tab that provides you with a list of all the applications it is running, the space consumed by each one of them and the last time you actually used any application. Powered with this knowledge you can now make a quick and informed decision about the unnecessary applications that can be deleted to restore your phone to its optimal state.

However when the same situation manifests itself at an enterprise level where organizations have hundreds of applications they have acquired over the years, you could very easily be headed into a complex maze of blind turns without a possible escape. Don’t you wish you had the same easy view of all your applications with key insights about each to make informed decisions on how to streamline, optimize and modernize them? It has been widely estimated that up to 50% of applications at a typical multinational could be shut down without the business knowing the difference. In addition, most organizations have such complex application landscapes, that most IT teams have little idea about the number of applications in their inventory.

It also bears mentioning that a typical IT organization expends close to 70% of its human and capital resources maintaining an ever growing inventory of applications and supporting infrastructure. A lot of this effort is simply misdirected as the organization doesn’t need a significant portion of these applications because they are simply not integral to the day to day functioning of its business. In many other cases business units implement applications on their own that have duplicate or overlapping functionality with other systems. This happens without the IT organization even knowing about it and creates challenges in maintaining the authoritative source of truth for business critical data.

Existing systematic and management techniques typically do not provide for a comprehensive, up-to-date view of the application portfolio due to a number of reasons:

  • Business and Technical Fitness: Application information regarding business and technical fitness or related operational costs is incomplete or stored in multiple locations.
  • Inefficient Reporting: Unfortunately a lot of information is spreadsheet based, which leads to difficulties in flexible visual reporting.
  • Disjointed View: Most of the information is often managed separately at both enterprise and departmental levels leading to the lack of an integrated view.
  • Impact on Legacy Applications: Most organizations do not truly understand the impact of legacy applications on their business and continue to maintain them out of a fear of the unknown.

In addition, as internal IT teams are more concerned with putting out fires and showing short term cost savings, they shy away from engaging in a comprehensive application portfolio assessment. External IT vendors are engaged to provide application support and maintenance that helps an organization barely move forward while dragging along a bloated, expensive and often redundant portfolio of applications.

The need of the hour is a multi-dimensional, top down approach to effective Application Portfolio Management. The first step in this journey is assessing the entire application portfolio to create a comprehensive inventory with the key insights and metrics needed to make intelligent decisions, and to develop a future state vision, strategy and roadmap. This type of roadmap is essential to drive efficiencies, fill gaps, eliminate redundancies, set the stage for modernization programs, and move towards those disruptive technologies and applications that will drive differentiation and competitive advantage for businesses today.

Including an Application Portfolio Assessment as part of a traditional AMS engagement helps organizations in proactively understanding their applications footprint, connecting the dots between legacy systems and business functionality and weighing the economic benefits of retiring unnecessary applications. The next logical step in the journey is an Applications Rationalization exercise where a team of experts propose a roadmap that creates a lean, streamlined and efficient applications portfolio.

Working with a partner like Unisys from the very first step of assessment to the final stages of delivery ensures that all of the proposed business benefits and operational efficiencies are translated accurately into timely and tangible business results. Our intention is to make the experience of managing your applications as simple as pressing a button on your phone. Well almost!

Tags-   Application Assessment Application modernization Application portfolio management Application Rationalization Application Sprawl Benefit of Application Rationalization Business Agility Legacy Applications