Too Many Apps, So Little Time: Creating A More Agile Business Through Rationalization
When it comes down to it, there are probably a ton of applications in your company running at any given time – the question is, how many of those applications do your business really need to run? There might be standard legacy apps or apps that are specific to a single business unit that are essential. Perhaps certain apps are performing duplicate functions or serving only a limited subset of functions.
In this moment, the application rationalization process becomes your business’ best friend.
Rather than wasting significant dollars supporting apps that the business may not need long-term, application rationalization is about saving a lot of dollars reserved for “keeping the lights on” today that your business normally couldn’t save.
As part of this process, we’ll want to ask broader questions such as:
• Which applications add immense value to the organization and which ones cause us to spend valuable IT resource dollars on initiatives of limited benefit?
• Can we consolidate applications either by decommissioning them or by expanding the scope of one or multiple of them to meet a greater share of the business’ needs?
Modernization can benefit from rationalization by continually looking for opportunities using modern technology to reduce your technical burden or operational burden.
Does everyone think about it like that? Frankly, no.
A person within the business might say, “We need to modernize this application.” Yet, take a step back from that statement and ask yourself, “Why are we really doing that?”
Is there a true business value in the modernization of an application? Or are we running into “shiny new ball” syndrome simply to modernize aspects of the business without considering the reasons for doing so?
How does application rationalization play into organizational agility as another benefit?
Organizational agility allows you to use more tools in your toolkit that are there for you to leverage. However, you can’t do that if you’re completely weighted down with legacy technologies that have what we refer to as “technical debt” that’s consuming all of your resources.
Therefore, prioritizing your applications in terms of importance helps from a financial agility standpoint in that it can free up more dollars. In turn, if we’re able to invest those dollars in new and interesting technologies that are capable of opening the doors for other initiatives, that’s an excellent result.
IT dollars are dollars that can cost the business real money too.
Let’s say that you’re in the Finance department of the company and it’s your team’s role to leverage applications you already have. Should you have a number of manual processes because the technology hasn’t been built in a way that scales and takes advantage of modern capability, you’re sure to spending a lot of money on the business side – too much money. Conversely, a process that takes a deeper look inside the resources you have in order to maximize them can save real dollars on a budget spreadsheet so that you can arrive at initiatives with a greater return on investment.
Where Do We Really Begin The Process Of Rationalization?
Some of our first considerations include:
• Capturing an inventory
• Examining it for business purposes in terms of who is using that inventory
• Taking a holistic view of the landscape for opportunities to consolidate or decommission
• Exploring the operational changes occurring
• Asking what architecture changes we can make to reduce the operational load
For example, take a long look at your IT team’s ticketing system. Where does the biggest focus appear to be from an application capabilities perspective? If you’ve got a ticketing system or some other metric of capturing people’s work, that’s the best way to know.
Typically the biggest hurdle we find that clients are challenged by is use of time. The question, “Where is our team spending all of their time?” often results from people not having a rigorous process around tracking time.
Once we know where people are spending their time and have an inventory of all applications used, we can prioritize where the biggest strain on IT is coming from. This helps build the business case for making it better or decommissioning it.
Ultimately, application rationalization is about so much more than a prioritization of resources. It’s about money. The one unifying factor between IT and the rest of the business is money. Certain decision makers may not understand the technology but they can definitely appreciate the cost of technology and what it costs the business when technology isn’t prioritized.
Having a number of different email systems, for instance, isn’t efficient for IT to manage. That’s the technical issue. However, what is that inefficiency costing the company on a continuous basis if it isn’t being addressed? Now we’ve got a financial issue that the decision maker understands and sees as worth fixing as soon as possible.
Silent IT can help your organization prioritize which applications need to be elevated, consolidated or decommissioned, creating better value so that you have a more agile, modern and cost-effective approach. It’s often not about having more IT dollars – it’s about finding where they’re being spent and, consequently, where to use them in the smartest possible way going forward.