Application Rationalization needs to be an Ongoing Process
Application portfolio rationalization continues to be a hot topic this year, but some companies still see this as an infrequent or one-time activity. While an initial rationalization process will certainly provide the biggest savings and reductions, the savings can continue by making rationalization an ongoing IT business process.
The application rationalization process can help an organization reduce their application portfolio and simplify their operational and support costs through the following methods:
Reduce Version Sprawl
Many locally installed utilities such as adobe acrobat reader are known for creating version sprawl. Many editions of the product pop up on every workstation. Standardizing versions can ease support issues, reduce security risks, and make IT aware of applications that likely should be included in their upgrade/patch cycles. Supporting too many versions can create inconsistent operational issues and potentially open the organization to data loss and incompatibilities with other applications.
When a company has multiple business units and multiple application stakeholders, they don’t always collaborate on selecting tools that perform the same function. Sometimes IT may be required to support multiple applications for functions like screen capture, photo editing or drawing. Standardizing on a single application can reduce the number of support and maintenance contracts to manage, reduce patch and upgrade overhead and simplify helpdesk operations.
Support cycles, extended support cycles and end-of-life terms on a pool of aging applications are creating increasing risks and costs to an organization. Annual support and maintenance costs increase as applications age and the potential security exposures also rise.
As IT and stakeholders review their portfolio, there may be opportunities to replace the functions of several smaller utilities into a single application. Whether this is an off-the-shelf application or a custom developed tool, the simplification will reap benefits in support and operations.
The initial pass at a rationalization exercise usually has the highest payback, but many companies are missing out on the ongoing savings that can come from revisiting the process three or four times per year. For some it may be the labour intensity of manual gathering and review processes. Yet, after doing the initial push and utilizing technology to keep the portfolio up to date, it will get easier with each iteration and continue to find savings and efficiencies.
Using the risk dashboard in Futurestate IT’s AppRx will continually provide rationalization managers with up-to-the-minute dashboards that show ongoing portfolio health and risk information to enhance portfolio reviews. As support lifecycles and versions change, the entire portfolio assessment will update in real-time. By setting risk thresholds, managers can be notified when an application is no longer within the required parameters. Take a test drive and see how your portfolio stacks up!