3 Tips for Reigning in Your Application Portfolio
July 10, 2017

Gary Mann
CTG

Share this

Your organization's Application Management and IT Help Desk teams are your "first line of defense," and they also wear many hats. They help users resolve problems, manage the organization's technology portfolio, and ensure technology is available to end users 24x7. The constant juggle of day-to-day priorities can be dizzying.

One of the biggest challenges they face is the management of application portfolios, which can quickly become crowded, redundant, or even obsolete due to years of adding software with overlapping functionalities. This is only getting more complex with the emergence of new technology. Mergers and acquisitions also compound the problem as IT teams look to bring two application portfolios together. Unless your application portfolio is meticulously maintained, sprawl and application redundancies will occur, tying up IT resources more than they already are and driving up operating costs — all of which can impact application performance.

To help ensure your application and help desk operations are effective and manageable, there are a few simple things that IT leaders can do:

1. Assess the Strength of Your Application Management Program

Before you can make any changes to your program you need to understand its current state — down to the true cost of every application. A few key questions to ask include:

■ How have our applications been performing over time? 

■ Are some applications becoming obsolete or redundant? 

■ Does the cost to maintain an application align with its business value? 

■ Is the application portfolio able to meet changing business conditions? 

■ Does the program allow for innovation and improvement initiatives?

Completing this assessment isn't a simple task and it's not a one and done process. Dig deep and reassess regularly. The frequency of conducting an assessment depends entirely on the maturity of the organization. You need to question how dynamic and volatile the market place is, and what role the application portfolio plays in driving the organization's strategy.

For example, in some industries applications, and therefore the application management program, are ground zero not only for operational effectiveness, but also compliance.

Also, once the first assessment is done will you will want to put controls in place to monitor delivery and thresholds for making changes to your plan. The more mature your processes are to keep control and track thresholds the less frequently an assessment is needed. It will also depend on the size of the organization. It can be ungainly to make a blanket statement that you will analyze the application management program annually, but take several months to complete the assessment. You need to avoid analysis paralysis. One size does not fit all.

2. Build an Application Management Road Map

As a second step, once you have completed your initial assessment, and identified gaps, you will want to build an application management road map. Again, this is not a simple step in the least. Developing a roadmap requires strategic and tactical thinking. Priorities should be based on the direction you want to take your organization – whether it is building new capabilities to meet changing needs in the market place, or looking for ways to be more efficient with company's resources by identifying ways to decrease operational costs. These decisions are to be made in concert with the user community as they are the ones that will be most impacted by any changes you make to the application portfolio. End users can be very helpful in setting priorities and determining what applications are most important at the end of the day.

3. Monitor and Reassess

The final step, start all over again. Once you have conducted an assessment, built your roadmap and plan, and begun executing, you need to continue to monitor your application portfolio in order to make mid-course adjustments. Markets do not stagnate. Consequently, users' demands and strategic directions will change as well. If you have done your work correctly, the adjustments that need to be made will be minor, but they will occur. This may be as simple as a reprioritization of a small project, to a rethink of what is needed to support a market strategy.

What is important in all of this is to ensure you have clear methodologies to conduct the assessments, monitor the roadmap, and make mid-course adjustments.

In my 30 years in the industry, I have seen many organizations struggle with wrapping their arms around their ever-changing application portfolio, and ultimately giving their IT team breathing room to focus on strategic projects. Whether addressing these improvement initiatives in-house, or looking for outside assistance, following these steps will help your organization more effectively manage its technology resources.

Gary Mann is Managing Director, Application Management and Support, at CTG
Share this

The Latest

September 21, 2017

The increased complexity of new computing architectures coupled with new application development methodologies – especially in the face of time-to-market and security threat pressures – should make secure UX the first strategic decision for CEOs and CFOs on the path to digital transformation ...

September 19, 2017

IT professionals tend to go above and beyond the scope of their core responsibilities as the changing business landscape demands more of their attention, both inside and outside of the office, according to the Little-Known Facts survey conducted by SolarWinds in honor of IT Professionals Day ...

September 18, 2017

Digital video consumption is viral and, according to a new study released by IBM and International Broadcasting Convention (IBC), more than half of the 21,000 consumers surveyed are using mobiles every day to watch streaming videos, and that number is expected to grow 45 percent in the next three years ...

September 15, 2017

No technology that touches more than one IT stakeholder, no matter how good and how transformative, can deliver its potential without attention to leadership, process considerations and dialog. In this blog, I'd like to share effective strategies for AIA adoption ...

September 14, 2017

Enterprise IT environments are becoming more heterogeneous and complex, with fragmentation permeating cloud infrastructure, tooling and culture, according to a survey recently conducted by IOD Cloud Technologies Research in partnership with Cloudify ...

September 12, 2017

One area that enables enterprises to reduce complexity and streamline operations is their virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Virtualization is a linchpin of digital transformation and effectively optimizing an enterprise's VDI is essential to moving forward with digital technologies. Delivering the best possible VDI performance means taking a fresh look at what "desktop" means today. The endpoint, or desktop, now can be a physical thin client, a software-defined thin client, a traditional laptop, a phone or tablet. To reduce operational waste and achieve better performance across the desktop environment, consider these five actions ...

September 11, 2017

In incident management, we often overlook the simple things in favor of trying to do too much, too soon. Why not make sure we've done the fundamentals properly? ...

September 08, 2017
For our Advanced IT Analytics (AIA) Buyer's Guide, we interviewed more than 20 deployments to help us better assess vendor strengths and limitations. So given the abundance of riches to work with, I've decided to illustrate several of the more prominent AIA benefit categories with actual real-world comments ...
September 07, 2017

The Input/Output Operations per Second (I/O) capabilities of modern computer systems are truly a modern wonder. Yet no matter how powerful the processors, no matter how many cores, how perfectly formed the bus architecture, or how many flash modules are added, somehow it never seems to be enough ...

September 06, 2017

By taking advantage of performance monitoring, IT and business decision makers can gain better visibility into their cloud and application performance. Dedicated performance monitoring has become essential for providing visibility into all areas of application performance and keeping the business running optimally ...