Thursday, September 10, 2020

A Couple of Key Steps in IT Application Management Roadmap

Applications have become an integral component of an enterprise’s flexibility and maturity. IT leaders today need to strike the right balance of ease of management and capacity elasticity.

Many IT organizations are at the crossroad, either becoming a trustful business partner and customer champion or gradually becoming irrelevant. To make things worse, due to the lack of visionary leadership and ineffective management discipline, they are driving down a dark road with no headlights or instruments. They don't know if there is a problem brewing or if there is an opportunity to accelerate their performance.

 To reach a well-defined destination, it’s important to build an IT strategic roadmap, develop strong business cases for the roadmap; engage with the business team and management to gain support. Here are a couple of key steps in IT application management roadmaps.

Evaluate the current application and infrastructure portfolio: IT organizations are transforming from inside-out operation driven to outside-in customer-centric. Many IT organizations are unable to demonstrate the value of application portfolio management. Good business sense suggests that knowing an application's utilization and resource consumption (both admin and infrastructure) is necessary to make an objective assessment of the IT application portfolio effectiveness, and then, it also helps to make good IT investment decisions.

In other cases, IT application does well at a gross level but when it comes down to individual applications, it doesn’t do that well because it didn’t focus on solving crucial business problems or putting too much internal focus. Nowadays, more and more new applications or new versions of the existing application will be delivered with on demand models. A comprehensive assessment helps IT leaders build a solid roadmap for managing a balanced running, growing, and transforming.”IT application portfolio and making a strategic shift.

Outline the major business processes at the highest level:
The goal of process management is to understand every workflow process, eliminate redundancy, complications and reduce the burden on the company while trying to stay current with ever-changing technologies and dynamic business environments, keep optimizing the organizational competency and capacity. The relationships of business processes in the context of the enterprise systems (architecture, organizational structure, strategies, etc.) create greater capabilities when analyzing and planning enterprise changes iteratively.

There are different levels of process understanding and different party (management, customers, designers) perceives processes via their lens. Thus, outlining the major business processes at the highest level helps IT management shape a single version of the truth” in process management, commit the time and energy required to at least achieve the essential "wholeness" of the process understanding, and create multidimensional business values such as quality value, utility value, monetary value, and perceptive value, etc.

Architecting applications that can form the foundation for the future and map the applications to the processes:
IT organizations have finite resources to apply to get the best yield possible to meet stakeholders’ expectations. IT Architecture deals with business initiatives, derived from strategy, improves visibility of applications, and maps the applications to the processes. IT leaders should apply IT Architecture as an effective tool, take the lead in introducing process management into the entire company, and integrate processes across the organization to form the foundation for the future and improve business effectiveness, responsiveness, agility, and maturity.

In reality, the business processes that have evolved around the legacy applications are fossilized and constrained by the idiosyncrasies of the application. The other issue is that the legacy application loses its fit with the evolving business architecture; infrastructure or staff skillset and realigning it becomes overly costly. Thus, it’s important to leverage IT architecture for tackling the business process re-engineering first, then work out what the new system needs to be, ensuring processes maps aligned with application portfolios as well as partners or customers application portfolios, enforcing the ability for applications to integrate with each other and exchange messages/enable workflows between them as part of a business process value chain.

Create your sunset plan for duplicate applications: Unused or underutilized applications that consume a disproportionate amount of resources when compared to their value, need to be addressed. To keep improving IT effectiveness and efficiency, IT leaders, like gardeners, should keep trimming the cost and eliminating unneeded stuff. It’s important to check whether you have multiple applications doing the same thing in different areas of the business, or whether there are multiple applications providing the same service. Look to consolidate, re-use, and integrate wherever possible, and create your sunset plan for duplicate applications.

IT organizations are supporting more and more perhaps duplicated applications due to silo mentality and disconnecting between IT and businesses. It wastes resources and decelerates business speed. To improve business efficiency and maturity, IT leaders should communicate with business partners as IT management is the business of the entire company. It’s the co-responsibility of business and IT to keep consolidating, modernizing, integrating, and optimize the application portfolio, help the enterprise achieve some cost savings by migrating to an application used by some other department with a parallel function or managing components that are common and reusable across the enterprise to improve organizational effectiveness.

Pay specific attention to integration, quality, standards, regulations, etc: The complexity of running modern IT comes in due to business volatility, diversity, unpredictability, nonlinearity, rules and regulation, hybrid structure, and increased business flux working and impacting together. To take a solid roadmap smoothly, a transformation team whose responsibility is to educate the organization about the costs of application ownership should be established. This team should engage the end-users, let them make the decisions regarding what application standards they wish to establish, what regulation rules they need to follow, and have the responsibility for executing a strategy to streamline the application portfolio, standardize processes, increase productivity and optiimize costs.

Integration and quality management are the keys to ensure that the application ecosystem offers real value and also is necessary for future agility. The purpose of the variety of integration (technical integration, operations integration, governance integration, or GRC policy integration or customer-centric integration) is to enforce collaboration and unification in order to create business synergy and catalyze business growth continually.

Applications have become an integral component of an enterprise’s flexibility and maturity. IT leaders today need to strike the right balance of ease of management and capacity elasticity, highlight these key steps in IT application management roadmaps, and manage a balanced IT application portfolio to achieve business efficiency, effectiveness, agility, and high performance.


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