Application rationalization is an important step in maintaining the digital health of your company. We share why and how you can start reining in your apps in this blog.
Applications are the lifeblood of IT and companies today. In fact, research shows the average enterprise has 464 custom applications deployed. According to a report published by the Cloud Security Alliance, even those with under 1,000 employees have an average of 22 custom apps.
Business and digital transformation, robotic automation of tasks, artificial intelligence, microservices and the explosion of Software as a Service (SaaS) have massively expanded the landscape of digital solutions companies employ to deliver their business goals. This is true for most companies to the point that many executives are left wondering if there’s really a need for so many solutions that appear to do similar tasks.
Rationalizing the inventory of current applications is an approach that can help your company get the most out of its digital investments and optimize IT costs.
Application Portfolio Rationalization Helps Align IT and Business Goals
As a company grows, either in its workforce or services, it introduces new applications to help meet business challenges. If they don’t review apps periodically, companies run the risk of increased spending, inefficient operations and even security risks associated with data protection and threat monitoring.
There are many reasons why companies end up with a complex landscape of applications. For instance, there is often a broad set of decision makers at a company that changes over time. Combined with acquisitions, this often leads to inherited and duplicate applications with no concerted effort to integrate the acquired business into the company’s app portfolio.
When an organization has “legacy untouchables,” or heavily customized solutions built in-house, it can create barriers to replacement or elimination. Companies still integrate these applications, costing money, lowering productivity and hindering business operations.
Benefits of Application Rationalization
Even lean companies spend much of their IT budget to keep the business running. If your company has application sprawl, or unregulated growth of the IT system to include more applications, it can lead to inefficiencies at all levels.
When you streamline applications, your company can benefit with:
- Cost savings you can reinvest. Often, unused or underused applications take up resources you can direct elsewhere in the company.
- Enhanced innovation. When an IT department is running more applications than it needs, the landscape becomes too complex to fuel innovation.
- Eliminated redundancies. Running a number of applications with the same functions increases spend and reduces the amount of training needed for staff and vendors.
Rationalizing your application landscape can be challenging, especially if you have dozens or hundreds of apps to review. When you begin, you will need to consider a number of important questions:
- Which applications are the most important?
- How do you determine which to sunset?
- Does your company have an inventory of applications currently being used?
- What team or group is using various applications?
- How many total users does each application have and are users active?
- What is the cost of application operation and support?
- What business process is this application serving and is it duplicating the function provided of another app?
Once you have accomplished the basic landscape assessment and set up your governing criteria, you can classify your application portfolio into a matrix: keep, retire, invest and replace, or invest and reimagine, along with a strategic roadmap to execute the plan over time.
Don’t Let Your Applications Control Your Company
Many companies are crippling their digital investments and burdening their IT departments by failing to control application growth. Application rationalization is one of the most effective methods to drive change in the enterprise architecture toolbox. Rationalizing your inventory of current applications helps you achieve cost, innovation and operational goals. If you want to keep your digital landscape healthy and make room for continuous innovation, you need to make application rationalization a sustainable program at your organization.