3 Tips for Reining 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

June 19, 2019

In a post-apocalyptic world, shopping carts filled with items sit motionless in aisles, left abandoned by the humans who have mysteriously disappeared. At least that’s the cliche scene depicted by sci-fi filmmakers over the past two decades. The audience is left to wonder what happened to force people to stop what they were doing and leave everything behind. If this past weekend was any indication, Armageddon begins when Target's cash registers shut down ...

June 18, 2019

Three-quarters of organizations surveyed by Gartner increased customer experience (CX) technology investments in 2018 ...

June 17, 2019

Users today expect a more consumer-like experience and many self-service web sites are too focused on automating the submission of tickets and presenting long, technically written knowledge articles with little to no focus on UX. Understanding the need for a more modern experience, a newer concept called "self-help" now dominates the conversation in its ability to provide a more deliberate knowledge experience approach that better engages the user and dramatically improves the odds of them finding an answer ...

June 13, 2019

Establishing a digital business is top-of-mind, even more so than last year, as 91% of organizations have adopted or have plans to adopt a digital-first strategy, according to IDG Communications Digital Business Research ...

June 12, 2019

If digital transformation is to succeed at the pace enterprises demand, IT teams, the CIOs who lead them, and the boardroom must forge a far greater alignment than presently exists. That is the over-arching sentiment expressed by IT professionals in a recent survey on the state of IT infrastructure and roadblocks to digital success ...

June 11, 2019

Given the incredible amount of traffic traversing corporate WANs, it's not surprising that businesses are seeing performance issues. If anything, it's amazing applications work as well as they do ...

June 10, 2019

Are your business applications sluggish? Choppy? Prone to getting hung up or crashing at the most inopportune times? If these symptoms sound familiar, you might be suffering from the heartache of … poor application performance. Stop me if any of this sounds familiar ...

June 06, 2019
AIOps Exchange, a not-for-profit private forum defining the future of AIOps, published <span style="font-style: italic;">The AIOps Manifesto</span> discussing the role of AI in supporting digital transformation ...
June 05, 2019

As network transformation initiatives like SD-WAN, edge computing and public/private clouds are adopted at increasing rates, hybrid networks are quickly becoming the new normal for IT and NetOps professionals.Without visibility into these hybrid network environments, NetOps are unable to troubleshoot the business-critical applications every organization relies on today. Here are four ways IT and NetOps teams can gain better visibility into complex, hybrid networks ...

June 04, 2019

A minimum Internet Performance Bar exists that, if met, should deliver top-tier website performance, regardless of industry, according to the 2019 Digital Experience Performance Benchmark Report, from ThousandEyes, a comparative analysis of web, infrastructure and network performance metrics from the top 20 US digital retail, travel and media websites ...