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The need for effective application rationalization is ever increasing, motivated by the unrelenting pace of change, an operational dependence on technology, and the associated spiraling costs. The number, nature and cost of applications should all be focused around he business value they offer. But where do you start?
Application rationalization can be a mammoth undertaking, entirely entwined with technology cost reduction. It directly ties to an organization’s bottom line, is a critical and enduring area of interest for most CIOs, and will feature is some form on the agenda of most enterprise architecture teams. But it is not without its challenges:
Often the full application portfolio is unknown, with information residing in a complex landscape of systems, people and artifacts.
Even if the portfolio is known, ongoing management is laborious and error prone, relying on the maintenance of Excel and other MS Office documents. Collaboration and communication is rendered extremely difficult.
Time Consuming and Costly Assessment
Gathering vital data from application owners to understand how rationalization impacts and informs decision making is vital, but often tedious and reliant on expensive consultancy to conduct interviews and assessments.
Key information pertinent to the rationalization effort may be stored in disparate systems, such as CMDBs, making it difficult to collate.
Organizations attempt to devise methodologies for assessing or scrutinizing the portfolio, or for structuring application portfolio data without knowledge of industry best practices or methods. Often, this results in a directionless or drawn out project.
Lack of Visibility
Teams undertaking rationalization often lack the tools and techniques required to efficiently and effectively visualize application data.
Application Rationalization in Four Weeks
Kicking off an application rationalization project will require input, such as:
- The application catalog (whole or in fragments).
- Artifacts linking application to business capabilities, technologies, and related concepts.
- Lists of application owners, vendors, locations and meta-data.
- Scoring questionnaires and worksheets.
Establish Goals and Centralize Data
- Establish your goals and parameters for this application rationalization initiative e.g. functional duplication; vendor consolidation.
- Gather and load available application data into the iServer repository, centralizing the disparate data sources. Predefined data fields structure and guide data towards best-practice analysis.
Assess and Augment Data
- Start to build a comprehensive picture of impacts by easily linking applications to key enterprise concepts, such as business capabilities, all from within the iServer repository.
- Use predefined scoring methods to survey application owners or other SMEs throughout the business, filling in gaps and gathering key information on applications.
- Collate all information seamlessly and dynamically in the iServer repository.
Visualize and Analyze Your Application Portfolio
- Bring your application portfolio to life through powerful predefined visualizations and reports.
- Quickly and clearly visualize your portfolio according to the key criteria identified at the start of the initiative, and use industry best-practice methods, such as TIME analysis.
- Assess portfolio impacts for rationalization candidates, and aggregate possible savings for review.
Consider Rationalization Results and Present Roadmap
- Present a summary of results from the rationalization initiative, in terms of potential savings identified and other positive impacts, such as elimination of redundancy.
- Note considerations when settling on a list of applications to rationalize.
- Review and present the application roadmap, showing how and when applications will be phased in and out over the next 1-3 years, utilizing Orbus Software’s predefined reports.
By following these steps, at the end of this typical four-week application rationalization project, you should expect:
- A centrally managed and governed application portfolio.
- Powerful visuals which answer key business questions for the application portfolio, concerning business and technology fit, costs, functional duplication, and technology dependence.
- Identification of rationalization candidates, including the reduction in total cost of ownership, and/or technology risk.
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