By John Bennett, Applications Services Marketing
We see many IT executives interested in reducing the volume of applications they have on hand. By doing so, they not only reduce costs, but in the process of modernization itself, can transform their infrastructure and data centers as well, compounding their benefits.
But applications are often seen as the "third rail" of IT. “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Business unit leaders scream when apps disappear. They rant at the idea of anyone touching their apps.
So how do you deal with these objections?
Rationally, of course. You conduct a business oriented, comprehensive, systematic (and ideally independent) analysis of your applications portfolio. And you keep in mind your infrastructure strategies and especially your business and organizational strategies.
This analysis is your first step toward applications transformation called applications rationalization.
Application rationalization doesn’t actually do the work for you … but it gives you the roadmap and justification for the trip. Not unlike an AAA “triptik” (for those of you who remember life before GPS!),you still need to drive.
What does application rationalization do? There are several key questions an effective applications rationalization project answers:
- What exactly is in my applications portfolio? Where is it? How are they inter-related? What business processes do they support?
- What are the total costs associated with each application? Not just dev & test, but also operational costs, infrastructure requirements, etc.
- What are the risks associated with each? Not just quality and security, but skill sets, support, roadmaps, etc.
- What is the business value each supports?
- Given my business and technology strategies, what should my applications portfolio look like?
The answers to the first questions define your current state – “what is.” The answer to the last question defines your desired future state – “what should be.” With these and the magic sauce of experience and expertise in hand, the transformation roadmap can be produced and information for the supporting business case generated to drive forward.
We’ll address these questions in more detail in future blog posts – along with other points relevant to the journey. If you want to jump ahead, take a look at HP’s point of view on applications rationalization.
Meanwhile, I’d be very interested in your thoughts on application transformation and topic ideas you’d like me to explore a little more deeply.