By Ram Ponnapalli, Principal Consultant, Business & Technology Consulting
Your applications portfolio is filled with legacy apps that aren’t built for the demands of today’s business. There are redundancies and functional and technical gaps in that portfolio that are keeping you from meeting your business goals and your customers’ needs. But how do you address the tough questions like:
- Where exactly are those redundancies and gaps?
- Are you throwing good money after bad just to feed the dinosaurs? If so, how much longer will the money last?
- What apps do you need to keep, modify, eliminate or add?
- Where do you want your apps portfolio to be in 3 years to effectively support your business?
- How should your applications landscape be shaped?
- Where do you even start to answer the above questions and move forward?
Build the Bridge
Building the bridge between your current state and your envisioned future state is the crux of an Applications Assessment / Rationalization exercise. You need to create a roadmap with a supporting business case that will guide you on your journey to the future state. In fact, this is the first major milestone in your Applications Transformation journey.
But this is not a trivial exercise. Unless this is done based on a proven methodology using standard tools and templates, you can end up with a bridge to nowhere. If you do not start this exercise, when you still have control over your IT budget (i.e., you did not yet slip into the black hole of ever increasing maintenance charges), this may be a bridge too far for you.
Over the years, our team has worked to help many of our clients build bridges based on a proven four step methodology – with amazing results.
- Understand strategy and scope: We analyze our client’s business and IT context to understand their vision, goals, strategy and business IT alignment challenges. A thorough understanding of the client’s direction, policies, business drivers and the macroeconomic factors that affect them is critical, especially for defining a future state.
- Document current state: This is a very important step to lay the foundation for the bridge to the future state. We collect the inventory of applications with all the attributes needed to effectively manage the portfolio. We perform an application to business process mapping to identify both gaps and redundancies (which translate into improvement opportunities). We also analyze applications along several dimensions – functional, technical, risk, quality, business value and cost to do a relative ranking of applications and identify optimization opportunities
- Gap analysis and recommendations: This is the step where we start defining future state application architecture and identifying the building blocks for the bridge to get there. We perform several analyses to understand the cost benefit, application value and interface complexity of the portfolio and make recommendations based on all the analyses performed
- Modernization plan and business case: This is the blueprint to build your bridge. We sequence all the recommendations / initiatives identified in the previous steps based on various factors like impact on current projects, investment scenarios, benefit realization timelines and client constraints to develop an executable roadmap. We also develop a business case to support all roadmap initiatives
I would be interested in your experiences and whether you have gone through similar steps to attain your future state goals. What challenges did you face?