Optimize Your Team's Time and Resources to Get the Most Out of Your Applications
February 02, 2018

Gary Mann
CTG

Share this

In order to be successful, companies need to ensure that all three parts of the age-old IT adage are optimized — people, processes, and technology. My last blog, 3 Tips for Reining in Your Application Portfolio, covered technology-oriented best practices that application management and IT help desks can use to optimize the performance of their applications and the IT teams that oversee them. Now I'll explore what IT professionals can do to optimize their team's time and resources — the people and processes — in pursuit of that same goal.

For professionals who oversee application management and IT help desks, no one day is the same. Most wear many hats — supervising everything from the applications on which the organization depends, to taking care of the innumerable support requests that arise each day. Technology acumen is important, of course, but it's merely one piece of the "technology, people, and processes" required to succeed in such a multi-faceted role. That's why no discussion of application management is complete without exploring what can be done to ensure that processes best serve the people involved, and that these individuals are engaged in a cohesive effort.

In the course of my work, I've been fortunate to engage in projects that show how some of the world's most successful companies tackle this reality. What I've learned working with those companies to eliminate IT inefficiencies and best manage their application portfolios is applicable to organizations of all sizes, in all industries.

Perhaps most importantly, these lessons will only increase in relevance in the months and years to come. Application portfolios will continue to grow in scope as automation simultaneously plays a greater role in workflows. As a result, the potential for staff and IT inefficiencies will continue to increase. It does not matter what industry you are in, it's imperative to have processes in place to address these realities.

How can you do this effectively? Following are several best practices to ensure that you keep IT and staff inefficiencies in check, ensure the success of your application management efforts, and optimize the performance of your application portfolio to better serve those who rely on it.

Don't get bogged down in the now

If you are having issues with your staff, application portfolio, support processes, or needy or demanding users — these are "now" issues, not long-term priorities that will determine your direction moving forward. They are of course important and must be dealt with, but all too often, IT teams can get bogged down by the myriad details that arise around these activities, and in the process miss opportunities to attend to the underlying, root causes of inefficiencies.

One example is often encountered at hospitals. Physicians rightfully expect immediate action by the IT team when any application issues impact patient care, but it's important to separate those issues from ones that can reasonably be dealt with in a more measured fashion. Users' egos must be recognized and dealt with.

Similarly, make sure your IT organization does not lose its strategic focus

Maintaining a strategic focus, and separating it from the innumerable demands you're facing now, ultimately enables you to do more and provide higher quality service. Make sure you don't lose focus on what your staff needs to manage and support your growing application portfolio, acquire new skill sets to support new technologies — such as artificial intelligence, automation, and more — and remain nimble in order to meet the business needs of your team and the end users they serve. This includes having the right balance of skill sets on your team to address both maintenance and support needs, as well as your strategic priorities. Your expensive and experienced staff should not be unable to take on your strategic priorities because they are overwhelmed by maintenance and support-related tasks.

Build a team based on a functional breakdown versus an application breakdown

This will enable you to combine functions across the overall skill set and create opportunities for application performance and process/workflow improvements, operational efficiencies, and ultimately, cost savings.

For example, if a client has three different financial systems and they have three different people doing the same thing — each in a different application, but supporting common functions — the skill set can be identified, applied at a functional level, and result in one person performing these common tasks across the three applications. This creates efficiencies and saves money and time.

Make sure your team, and overall efforts, are dedicated to delivering quality

A steadfast commitment to quality and a dedicated quality program will be the key to managing your application portfolio today and in the future. An effective quality program is essentially one that is focused on the alignment of the people and processes needed for success, and the technology they require. It can be an expensive undertaking in the beginning, but one that will pay off many times over in the end once everyone understands their role and acts on it in an efficient manner.

By keeping these best practices in mind and applying the right technology to your efforts, IT teams can work confidently knowing that they are getting the most out of their applications and teams that oversee them. Perhaps most importantly, they will know they are providing the singular support end users need to be most effective.

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

The Latest

March 26, 2020

While remote work policies have been gaining steam for the better part of the past decade across the enterprise space — driven in large part by more agile and scalable, cloud-delivered business solutions — recent events have pushed adoption into overdrive ...

March 25, 2020

Time-critical, unplanned work caused by IT disruptions continues to plague enterprises around the world, leading to lost revenue, significant employee morale problems and missed opportunities to innovate, according to the State of Unplanned Work Report 2020, conducted by Dimensional Research for PagerDuty ...

March 24, 2020

In today's iterative world, development teams care a lot more about how apps are running. There's a demand for fixing actionable items. Developers want to know exactly what's broken, what to fix right now, and what can wait. They want to know, "Do we build or fix?" This trade-off between building new features versus fixing bugs is one of the key factors behind the adoption of Application Stability management tools ...

March 23, 2020

With the rise of mobile apps and iterative development releases, Application Stability has answered the widespread need to monitor applications in a new way, shifting the focus from servers and networks to the customer experience. The emergence of Application Stability has caused some consternation for diehard APM fans. However, these two solutions embody very distinct monitoring focuses, which leads me to believe there's room for both tools, as well as different teams for both ...

March 19, 2020

The 2019 State of E-Commerce Infrastructure Report, from Webscale, analyzes findings from a comprehensive survey of more than 450 ecommerce professionals regarding how their online stores performed during the 2019 holiday season. Some key insights from the report include ...

March 18, 2020

Robinhood is a unicorn startup that has been disrupting the way by which many millennials have been investing and managing their money for the past few years. For Robinhood, the burden of proof was to show that they can provide an infrastructure that is as scalable, reliable and secure as that of major banks who have been developing their trading infrastructure for the last quarter-century. That promise fell flat last week, when the market volatility brought about a set of edge cases that brought Robinhood's trading app to its knees ...

March 17, 2020

Application backend monitoring is the key to acquiring visibility across the enterprise's application stack, from the application layer and underlying infrastructure to third-party API services, web servers and databases, be they on-premises, in a public or private cloud, or in a hybrid model. By tracking and reporting performance in real time, IT teams can ensure applications perform at peak efficiency — and guarantee a seamless customer experience. How can IT operations teams improve application backend monitoring? By embracing artificial intelligence for operations — AIOps ...

March 16, 2020

In 2020, DevOps teams will face heightened expectations for higher speed and frequency of code delivery, which means their IT environments will become even more modular, ephemeral and dynamic — and significantly more complicated to monitor. As a result, AIOps will further cement its position as the most effective technology that DevOps teams can use to see and control what's going on with their applications and their underlying infrastructure, so that they can prevent outages. Here I outline five key trends to watch related to how AIOps will impact DevOps in 2020 and beyond ...

March 12, 2020

With the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), CIOs should focus on three short-term actions to increase their organizations' resilience against disruptions and prepare for rebound and growth, according to Gartner ...

March 11, 2020

Whether you consider the first generation of APM or the updates that followed for SOA and microservices, the most basic premise of the tools remains the same — PROVIDE VISIBILITY ...