Wednesday, September 29, 2021


Application integration and optimization are the keys to ensure that the application ecosystem offers real value for future business competency and agility.

Applications have become an integral component of an enterprise’s profitability, flexibility and maturity. Cross-organizational leaders today need to strike the right balance of ease of management and capacity elasticity. Portfolio is a collection of programs and IT-enabled business initiatives that are designed to help the organization achieve its targeted performance. They are the means through which a vision is translated into practice. 

If organizations do not have a mature portfolio management process in place, it causes issues with the strategic alignment of programs and portfolios. Portfolio Management plays a significant role in portfolio prioritization, integration, and optimization.

Strategic prioritization: The goal of running a business is to create customers. Organizations need to develop the right strategy and build a set of differentiated business capabilities to implement it. Strategic application portfolio is the vehicle to implement business strategy. Thus, an effective application portfolio needs to set the right strategic prioritization for bridging the “gap of opportunity” between where you are and what you want to become; to get to the point where there is enough differentiation between capabilities that you can build the map against different roles in the organization to achieve business objectives and make continuous deliveries.

“Being strategic” is simply about keeping the end in mind, embracing emerging business properties. For strategic business initiatives and application development, a vision provides the guiding light and direction to keep eyes on what matters, identify what generates the most value for the company and express that in strategic objectives, set the right priority, and analyze potential pitfalls.

Organizations are transforming from inside-out operation driven to outside-in customer-centric. Great customer experience with personalization themes has become the norm, the management has to understand the value to become supportive. In fact, people-centricity is on the top of forward-looking business leaders’ agenda nowadays. 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. Learn to communicate effectively, and balance competing requirements so you know which hills are worth climbing on.

Many times, a lack of user adoption is one of the issues to fail new applications. 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. Building customer-facing applications is both strategic to delight customers with new solutions and tactical to improve application success rate. Customer involvement often elicits highly invaluable information to design tailored applications or solutions to meet customers’ needs. The personalized solutions give customers an impression on how the organization can tailor their needs to solve problems and achieve higher-than-expected results.

Manage the interdependencies of the business applications: Dependency, interdependency are the natural relationship between things (applications, capabilities, people, etc.) in the hyperconnected world. The more complex the application or capability is, perhaps there are more interdependent pieces that need to be integrated with. To provide an insight into condition and relationship/dependency of business applications and capabilities, business executives are sufficiently aware of the general condition of the various capabilities and provide input into a qualitative assessment of capability effectiveness, adequacy, coherence, differentiability, resilience, or maturity.

To identify interdepencies and make seamless integration, there are multiple perspectives of organizational capabilities, the top tier is a common executive view of the condition or suitability of capability to support a well-defined business strategy. Then, go down to a second-tier - the program portfolio tier to build business capabilities. A better approach to tackling the application portfolio complexity is to integrate the multitude of business management including implementation of concepts like Business Architecture, Program/Project portfolio management, application management for managing the interdependencies of applications and implement the overall application portfolio effectiveness.

Eliminate unused or underutilized applications: Organizations have limited budget and resources. Good business sense suggests that knowing an application's utilization and resource consumption is necessary to make an objective assessment of the application portfolio effectiveness, and then, it also helps to make good investment decisions. Unused or underutilized applications that consume a disproportionate amount of resources when compared to their value, need to be addressed and taken care of. The application architecture is a practical tool to help the management gain a holistic understanding of application health, have visibility and traceability between costs and the assets consuming those costs. It is through this comprehensive understanding, application management would be able to identify true cost savings, workflow optimizations, and additional revenue opportunities.

Many organizations have a "set it and forget it" mentality; they continue to add new applications, and application vendors continue to upgrade to keep in step with the newest goodies. Some organizations are faced with serious application sprawl and a growing backlog of out-of-date and often unsupported applications. Too many applications overlap functionality, too old applications stifle business changes;some of these older applications often require other legacy applications that are used for management and maintenance purposes. Successful application rationalization must be a business led initiative. For the actual process of rationalization, share some best practices about how to rate/rank/optimize. Assess all applications on maximum different criteria such as business value, training cost, support cost (business & IT), technological alignment, availability of skills, vendor viability, etc. Based on such a comprehensive analysis, make some quick wins and use this to support other initiatives focusing more on governance and long-term benefits.

Application integration and optimization are the keys to ensure that the application ecosystem offers real value for future business competency and agility. 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, to ensure that the application ecosystem offers real value and also is necessary for future agility.


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