Measuring Compliance with Ongoing Application Lifecycle Analysis

Once an IT organization has come to grips with the extent of their application portfolio and performed some actions to rationalize and control their portfolio, the final challenge is to monitor and maintain portfolio health on an ongoing basis.  As applications continue to age in the portfolio, many factors can increase the risk of that application to the organization.  New versions are getting released and support deadlines expire.  Understanding which applications are presenting the greatest risk can assist IT managers with budgeting application modernization needs both short and long term.

Keeping software up to date between patches, service packs and new versions being released can create a lot of overhead in an organization and for many large application portfolios, only the most critical applications are usually included in the weekly or monthly software change scope to reduce the overall volatility of the application landscape.  This means that a significant portion of the application portfolio is being ignored.  This will have the following impacts:

  • Supporting multiple application versions
    When applications are added on an ad-hoc basis to environments or newer versions of applications are installed as available for new builds and system refreshes, then there is a risk of needing to support multiple versions of the same applications.  This can increase operational support costs.  Variations in versions of tools and applications that integrate with other applications may have unique support issues with each version that need to be tracked by help desk personnel.
  • Supporting multiple applications that perform similar functions
    Untracked applications may operate in isolation within some workgroups and teams.  A lack of awareness of licensing or applications in other groups or lines of business may allow different teams to select and purchase similar tools that are performing the same or similar functions.  Support, maintenance and contract/licensing management costs increase as more vendors and applications are added to the portfolio. Further operational overhead is required if some of these applications are included in the patch management methodology versus those that are not.  All variations in products, licenses, vendors and service level agreements are costing IT departments money.
  • Operating application versions that are out of support
    Applications that are running without direct management and operational support will continue to age a may present the organization with security and privacy risks that further increase the costs to the organization if they become unsupported.  Versions of applications and tools that required to support the operational requirements of other applications should prioritize application modernization spending on the application that is keeping the infrastructure out of date.
  • Missed opportunities for standardization and optimization
    The above factors point to the challenges of IT organizations to manage the entire application portfolio in the face of pressures to focus on the mission critical applications that demand higher operational standards than the bulk of applications that are deployed.  This emphasizes the need to continuously review application portfolios to find more opportunities for potential cost savings and operational/support streamlining.

Within Futurestate IT’s AppRx platform, we continually track and update vendor product release data and support details to ensure that your portfolio assessments are complete and up-to-the-minute when new reports are requested.  This means that IT managers can continually return to make updates to the portfolio as changes and upgrades are made to the application landscape and the risk assessments will continue to clearly identify what the most ‘at risk’ applications are.

IT teams can monitor the progress of standardization and modernization projects as it lowers the risk profile of the portfolio. Also they will see how time lapsing increases the risk as other applications in the portfolio continue to age and near the end of their support or life with the vendors.  Now management and operations have the tools to prioritize their modernizations projects and spending to get the greatest benefit for their dollar.  Teams and the business can also set support, age and version thresholds to assist with managing the application portfolio to a specific set of compliance criteria.  These criteria can be adjusted on the fly to determine how the portfolio risk model changes and the level of portfolio compliance changes as policies are set and adhered to.

 

Register for the July 11, 2012, 11am EDT webinar:

Accelerate Your Windows 7 Migration & Manage Ongoing Portfolio Cost and Risk

 

 

Download your copy of the whitepaper today:

Accelerate Migrations and Manage Portfolio Health with Application Lifecycle Analysis

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