Blog Posts tagged with Automated application rationalization

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Who owns what?

One key element in portfolio rationalization that is often needed, but rarely implemented in an easy to manage manner, is the ability to break out your portfolio into groups so that application owners have a list of the apps that are most relevant to them. Knowing who owns what is important for a few reasons, not the least of which is being able to determine who should make the key decisions around keeping or decommissioning an application.

In most of the organizations that we have worked with, the application inventory is managed by IT but in a lot of cases it’s not overly clear who actually owns the apps from looking at the inventory. This is knowledge that is usually in the heads of various people but that hasn’t been documented yet. Now, as senior managers are beginning to demand more insight into their application portfolios due to compliance and cost reduction efforts, it is becoming more essential to be able to quickly define and report on this information.

Further, the application inventory should be centralized and accessible to the teams who need it. Contrary to popular practice, a closely guarded and rarely maintained spreadsheet is not the best way to keep track of your application portfolio. Well, maybe it’s not that bad where you work, but this does happen. One of the main elements that we had in mind when creating AppRx was the ability to have a dynamic application repository/book of record there to help you manage and report on your apps easily. Managing your inventory information doesn’t need to be a headache.

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The clock is ticking for Windows XP expiry

Well, we just passed the 500 days remaining mark on the countdown to the expiry of Windows XP in April of 2014. I would wager that there are many businesses out there that still have not done a whole lot in terms of migrating to a new platform, either. Sure some testing has been done and maybe a few users in IT are running Windows 7 now but the clock is ticking. The introduction of Windows 8 last month has presented a new option to organizations, although mostly in the areas of mobile computing at this point.

 

While 500 days looks like a long time, it’s really not as long as you think. The migration to a new platform will take some time, especially if done properly. This is also an opportunity to clean house, by removing the extraneous apps and upgrading where it’s needed. If you’ve already got the resources available, why not make the most of it?

 

The survey we conducted recently shows the value of performing a portfolio rationalization prior to a Windows migration as well at the benefits of keeping things up to date afterward. You can actually reduce the migration scope and duration, and subsequently costs, by shedding the unused apps from your portfolio. The best part is that with AppRx, it’s automated, so it’s not going to tie up a resource or take you very long. You can find the survey results here on this web site, under Resources.

http://futurestateit.com/2012/11/28/the-clock-is-ticking-for-windows-xp-expiry/ 

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Trim down your portfolio and reduce unnecessary costs

As you already know, and as we’ve been saying for a while, rationalization is a critical first step for migrating applications – be it to Windows 7/8, Server 2008/12 or virtual platforms. By rationalizing the portfolio, IT and application owners can identify unused, redundant, and out of date applications and trim down the portfolio through application elimination, consolidation, and modernization. Migration project costs and duration can be significantly reduced as a result.

A recent survey that we conducted reveals that IT managers feel strongly about the benefits of rationalization for a migration project; 43% of respondents feel that rationalization is “extremely important” to a successful Windows 7 migration project, and a further 26% feel that it is “very important”. When asked how much of a reduction in portfolio size could be realized through a rationalization effort, 38% feel that reductions of 11 – 20% could be seen, while 35% indicate that their potential reductions would be even greater.

While the benefits are clear, many organizations do not conduct portfolio rationalization. Approximately half of the respondents in the Futurestate IT survey either do not rationalize their application portfolios at all, or do it only on an ad-hoc basis. Further, 87% rated their application portfolio health to be in poor or moderate condition. One of the biggest reasons cited by respondents for not conducting regular rationalization was simply lack of time. It’s a vicious cycle; resources are too busy supporting too many apps to analyze the portfolio and get rid of the unnecessary apps that are consuming time and resources. Turning to automated solutions like AppRx for help can be just what the doctor ordered in this case.

Read my other posts http://futurestateit.com/category/blogs/ 

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The second step in application rationalization.

So you’ve collected your inventory, now what? Gathering your application inventory is pretty straightforward. It may not be easy, depending on your organizational structure and management systems, but it can be done. The second step can be a bit more time consuming, especially in larger environments. Now you need to find out who owns, and who uses, your applications. This is called “application mapping”.

In determining the value of your apps, there are several pieces of information that you can use to reach your rationalization decisions. First, you need to find out if anyone is using the application. What business functions or processes do the applications fulfill? You may find that some of your applications are not really being used for anything anymore, as new apps have replaced their functionality.  Mapping your applications back to business processes and functions will reveal overlap and redundancy in your portfolio. If your organization doesn’t have a mature Enterprise Architecture program in place, you could be starting from scratch here, but don’t let that intimidate you. You don’t need to over complicate this exercise but it’s important that you put in the effort. There is a good chance that you are running underutilized and/or redundant software, and the removal of those applications has the potential to save you thousands or even millions of dollars.

Original post found here: http://futurestateit.com/2012/08/27/the-second-step-in-application-rationalization/

Read more of my posts: http://futurestateit.com/category/blogs/ 

Curious about application rationalization? Learn more here!

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‘Tis the Season

Well, it’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and the days are cold and the nights are long. I was speaking with a customer who had his furnace break down over the holidays, which resulted in an expensive and untimely repair bill. His furnace was old and probably had it coming, but it got me thinking; most manufacturers of home appliances and of course, automobiles, recommend periodic maintenance of their products to ensure reliable service in the years to come. A few bucks spent now on routine maintenance could save you a whopping bill down the road when something really goes wrong.

 

This unfortunate scenario got me thinking about applications. Maybe it’s just me, but I see application portfolios as being the same, in that they require maintenance periodically to ensure that major issues are averted down the road. As an example, we have a customer who performed an analysis on a few hundred of their desktop applications, only to find that a large percentage of their apps were no longer supported by the manufacturer, due to their age. Some applications were over 20 versions behind the most current! This created a large problem for them, as most of these applications will not work on Windows 7 due to their age, and will either need to be upgraded, replaced, or hosted on a virtual application platform as a short term fix. If they had been proactively monitoring their portfolio for new releases and end-of-support dates, they would have had advanced warning that they were creeping into high-risk territory.

 

Upgrading or replacing the odd application is not the end of the world, but it’s a different story when you are faced with a change event like a desktop migration, as there is a deadline in place that you need to meet. A portfolio that hasn’t been well maintained is going to cost a lot more to migrate than one that has been looked after and is reasonably up to date, and there’s a good chance that there won’t be much of a budget for a substantial portfolio overhaul to coincide with a desktop migration effort. Once you have migrated, you can keep things running smoothly by being proactive with periodic portfolio maintenance.

Original post: http://futurestateit.com/2013/01/08/tis-the-season/ 

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