If you have been following my series on Applications personalities, you’ll remember that in my last article I shared my thoughts on the various aspects of managing the Big Kahuna applity. Now I’d like to focus on the Lone Stare applity.
Ah, the Lone Star… that reliable, old faithful app that is very effective at enabling a specific, critical business or technical functionality. In real life, they are the “steady eddies” who are somewhat behind the scene but are always there for you, no matter what the circumstance. When I think of a Lone Stars I think of rate calculation engines for financial companies, course scheduling programs at universities in The Lone Star state, etc.
In this post, I detail the following aspects on the best way to manage this little diamond in the sky:
- The Strategy to be adopted from an Applications Management perspective
- The nature and frequency of Communication to the various stakeholders
- The Service Levels to be provided
- Types of Investments with supporting rationale
- The Governance model that needs to be in place
Strategy. Why fix something that ain't broke? That is the fundamental tenet of this applity. Lone Stars enable critical functionality that does not have a broad, visible presence across the enterprise. They are the critical nut-bolts combination that holds an apparatus together. Unless there is a significant change to the functionality it is enabling, there is no reason to touch such applications.
Communication. Only as needed. Changes could be made without a massive broadcast as long as proper governance and change control procedures are exercised in a systematic manner. Communication is more often done on a reactive basis to occasional queries about the Lone Star.
Service Level. Lone Stars typically have a designated period of time during which they operate. They usually don’t need to be available 24x7. Lone Stars routinely play their part lock and step with the other applications -- on time, quality assured. Service Levels in place must ensure that these applications are available during these times.
Investment. Lone stars are already at a steady state and do not need ground-breaking enhancements. Capital investments are rarely needed for Lone Stars. Investments are usually at the departmental level by the community of users directly served by this “applity”. Given the Lone Star’s stability, the operational investment amounts are relatively smaller compared to other applities.
Governance. Federated governance can be exercised for Lone Stars amongst a relatively small team that owns and maintains the applications in conformance with corporate guidelines. On the Enterprise-wide radar screen of the portfolio of applications, Lone Stars are the blips that blink occasionally and at a regular frequency in the same spot. You can position other applications in the enterprise around them and they will remain unchanged. Lone Stars are the lighthouse or the Orion “steady as she goes” in the sea of applications.
Now you’ve learned about The Lone Star, that pillar of constant confidence that you can always lean on. And this little guy is a bit easier to manage since he truly is a low-maintenance app. You can focus on those applications that require or deserve more attention since the Lone Star's message is: "I know what I have to do and I know how to do it. Just go do your thing -- you know I will do mine. No worries".
In my next article we’ll tackle The Crowd Pleaser applity- the one app that would win the Ms. Congeniality award hands down. You won’t want to miss it!