Sunday, August 1, 2021


Applications have become an integral component of an enterprise’s flexibility and maturity. Strategic application portfolio is the vehicle to implement business strategy.

Organizations are nowadays complex, inundated with exponential growth of information and overloaded assignment. They have limited resources, budget, and talent, any business initiatives should be viewed as an "opportunity" for solving business problems. 

With emerging trends such as personalization, IT consumerization, etc, it’s important to learn your business deeper, classify, or reclassify business information or knowledge; categorize or re-categorize business initiative portfolio to reflect your emerging strategic priority, take a logical scenario for integrating, optimizing and improving for realizing differentiated business value and developing competitive business advantage consistently.

Business value clarification: Running a successful business is about creating multidimensional value to stakeholders. To pinpoint the strategic initiatives for generating long term business value, business architecture is an important tool to clarify the direction of the company, and a high level of consensus which implies that an acceptable, transparent, and credible basis for evaluating, selecting, and resourcing top prioritized issues need to be solved, to ensure strategic initiatives can be constructed and implemented upon effective portfolio management discipline. In fact, effective business initiatives require the highest risk-taking at a strategic value chain; including investments and manageability. You need to use business architecture to provide the visibility of overall investment in projects portfolio and the expected or realized value to be achieved, set policies and governance improvements as well as application portfolio management best or next practices.

Highly responsive organizations leverage effective risk management or compliance tools to monitor business initiatives & portfolio, alert the organization to risk conditions, and enable accountability and collaboration around changes impacting each firm. A standard scoring model can be used to normalize across different benefits, and business value points used to demonstrate value delivered, not only financial value, but also including other stakeholder’s values. From a performance management perspective, the value should be estimated or demonstrated through the rate of productivity increases, the rate of new product/service/business model development, the rate of market share gains, the rate of customer satisfaction gains, etc.

The objective assessment of strategic application portfolio effectiveness: Strategic Application Development can add value to any organization if it understands the various business lines needs and wants- their top prioritized problems based on functional strategy, which is the sub-strategy of the organizational strategy. It can provide cross line synergies by understanding the various lines and providing efficient interfaces between lines; understands the direction of the vertical industry and of the organization's internal direction/goals and the organizations, industries future, expected direction, etc. The application portfolio management becomes more effective and easier to do when there is a consensus among the architecture and strategic management team and their reports about what is important for strategic execution and the priority versus keeping the lights on today.

Applications have become an integral component of an enterprise’s flexibility and maturity. Strategic application portfolio is the vehicle to implement business strategy. Good business case suggests that knowing an application's utilization and resource consumption is necessary to make an objective assessment of the application portfolio effectiveness; then, it helps to make good investment decisions based on a set of variables and measurement requirements. Usually, under a strong application portfolio governance, standard metrics can be established and those would usually not be based on processes (the HOW) but on the deliverables (the WHAT).

It’s the age of people centricity. Organizations have two sets of customers: end customers who consume business products/services; or internal users - treat your staff as customers to improve their employee experiences. Building customer-facing applications is both strategic to delight customers with new solutions, and also tactical to improve application success rate via building high-mature teams and experimenting with the best practices or the next practices of the management/governance. Many times, a lack of user adoption is one of the issues to fail new applications. It’s important to empower customers, get them to choose the ideal solution for their work.

The business has to continuously understand its customer needs and requirements and also have a clear understanding of how customer-centric approaches enhance the business model and extend profitability. Value creation means the company management knows enough about their customers, and takes action to fill that type of need, being transparent to an extent where you don't lose profits. The personalized solutions give customers an impression on how the organization can tailor their needs to solve problems and achieve higher-than-expected results. Having a strong sense of how to develop customer-centric app programs within the business means to build an integral and unique set of business capabilities to delight customers and build a people-centric organization.

Fine-tuned strategic application portfolio: Complication, duplication, legacy, dysfunctional systems, are all serious issues that bring frustration and cost organizations a significant amount of time and resources in maintaining and keeping the light on only. It’s the co-responsibility of business and IT to keep consolidating, modernizing, integrating, and optimizing the application portfolio, paying specific attention to quality, standards, regulations, etc. It’s the intersection area of management and governance in which cross-disciplinary teams need to understand the business holistically to ensure that the application ecosystem offers real value and also is necessary for future agility.

To improve business effectiveness, keeping track of business activities is surely helpful in being proactive. 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. Keep trimming the cost and eliminating unneeded stuff. Keep updating business knowledge, capture business foresight to evolving emerging trends for developing new strategic initiatives, and optimizing the overall portfolio quality. It’s also important to focus on proactive planning, process optimization or rule updating for collaboration, accountability, and most importantly, integration.

“Being strategic” is simply about keeping the end in mind, embracing emerging business properties. For strategic business initiatives, a vision provides the guiding light and direction. To develop and scrutinize a balanced portfolio of strategic application initiatives, it’s important to keep eyes on what matters, identify what generates the most value for the company and express that in strategic objectives, analyze potential pitfalls, and set the right priority. Only initiatives that support the achievement of strategic objectives should be implemented. And if implemented successfully, there is a significant impact on building differentiated business competencies.


The also including other stakeholder’s values.

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