Rationalizing the Enterprise Application Portfolio

Disruptive IT Trends3 minutes readDec 10th, 2010

I’ve blogged in the past about how crucial it is for organizations to have a well thought out strategy surrounding the adoption of new consumer technologies. IT leadership needs to decide why and where these disruptive technologies will be integrated, how they’ll coexist with existing platforms, and how investments should be prioritized.

So far most IT organizations have been responding to this trend opportunistically without an overarching portfolio strategy. However, adding new products and technologies to an already complex IT environment without a strategic plan will inevitably lead to an unsustainable proliferation of IT systems and increased complexity, cost, and risk.

Organizations need a structured process to identify and prioritize IT investments in order to take maximum advantage of consumer technology in the workplace. Adoption of modern application portfolio management (APM) principles and processes provides organizations with an effective way to manage this challenge.

APM enables organizations to understand the health of their existing applications in terms of their ability to support business needs, technical condition, cost, and risk. The APM process provides crucial input for project investment decisions, especially those that have a broad impact across many applications.

The APM process starts with an effective Application Portfolio Assessment. Through this assessment, organizations can establish a solid baseline of the health of their applications before they start widespread adoption of disruptive consumer technologies.

A typical Application Portfolio Assessment includes the following four steps:

1. Discover: This activity includes collecting information about the existing applications such as their size, complexity, functionality, operating cost, and maintenance lifecycle as well as overall business goals, objectives, challenges, and opportunities.

2. Analyze: This information is analyzed, streamlined, and prioritized. All applications are assessed from both a business and technology value perspective, and application candidates are identified for new technology implementations such as Web enablement, mobile device enablement, social collaboration enablement, and cloud or appliance deployment.

3. Strategize: In this step, a strategic vision is established for the overall application portfolio. A long-term roadmap is identified for each business application to define how it will evolve from its current state to the desired state to meet the business goals identified by the strategic vision.

4. Plan: At this stage, detailed implementation plans are produced to realize the strategic vision and to transform the application portfolio to a more efficient, innovative, and cost-effective support system for the business.

The Unisys application modernization program delivers complex application portfolio assessment capabilities. Assisted with a proven methodology and industry standard tooling, we help our customers prepare their applications to meet the impact of game-changing trends like the consumerization of IT.