Tuesday, October 11, 2022


Applications have become an integral component of an enterprise’s agility, competency, flexibility and maturity.

Organizations across the industrial sectors are at the different stages of the business growth cycle, but they all strive to become people-centric businesses. Business initiative management is a critical discipline to build organizational capabilities enabling strategy management, change fluency, and customer delight. 

Application initiatives are not just about software development or IT practices, it needs to become customer-centric business initiatives that can bring business value, increase user/customer satisfaction, improve organizational agility, innovation, either for making some quick wins or focusing on long term business benefit.

It’s important to take initiatives for driving application rationalization: It’s usually a collaborative effort of business and IT to improve business application effectiveness and efficiency and improve business speed. However, in many companies, IT and or business are confronted with the limits of the complexity of their application portfolio: there are a lot of applications, applications provide overlapping functionalities, there is no clear ownership of the applications. Some organizations are faced with serious application sprawl and a growing backlog of out-of-date and often unsupported applications. Also, due to ineffective governance practices, the current management generated some irrational applications. Unused or underutilized applications that consume a disproportionate amount of resources when compared to their value, need to be addressed and taken care of. Thus, rationalization efforts must be incorporated in a business-led effort to address a business pain point.

On top of that, the organization now realizes that you cannot just rationalize the application portfolio without also looking at your architecture with business context, emerging technology, collective skill sets, and sourcing portfolio. Application architecture rationalization makes good sense and is informed by understanding the current application portfolio, as well as how to strike the right balance of reaping some quick wins and building long-term business advantage. For the actual business application, process of rationalization, share some best practices about how to rate, rank, optimize. Application rationalization can’t be successful unless the short-term objectives and quick win nature of applications are transformed into the long-term strategic decision for the organization, supported with activities to increase the maturity of the business governance process and organizational management discipline.

It’s the age of customer centricity for providing customized applications
: The goal of running a business is to create customers. Building customer-facing applications is both strategic to delight customers with new solutions and tactical to improve business initiative success rate. Customer-facing applications are critical as at the end of the day, they generate revenue, expand market share. Engage customers with strategic conversation, point out that customer inquiries are not just support related, but can foster better ways the application can perform and optimize every touch point of customer experience, transform satisfied customers to loyal customers, increase business value proposition.

Without customers, an organization cannot survive or create value. 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. It’s important to build high mature teams and experiment with the best practices or the next practices for developing innovative business applications; build the core competencies early enough to catch the emerging wave, gain marketing shares, and expedite business growth.

It’s the co-responsibility of business and IT to keep integrating and optimizing the application portfolio: Dependency, interdependency are the natural relationships between business applications, capabilities, people, etc. in the hyperconnected world. The more complex the application initiative is, perhaps there are more interdependent pieces that need to be integrated with. Application integration and optimization are the keys to ensure that the application ecosystem offers real value for future business competency, agility, speed, paying specific attention to quality, standards, regulations, etc, to improve the overall health of the application portfolio.

Too many applications overlap functionality, too old applications stifle business changes. Strategic application portfolio is the vehicle to implement business strategy. In reality, the application portfolio can only be optimized with significant upfront investment. And worst of all, there is rarely a business case to do so. Thus, it’s important to make business application integration and optimization a continuous effort. A better approach to tackling the application portfolio complexity is to deal with the interdependencies of applications smoothly; provide an insight into condition, relationship, dependency of business applications and capabilities, and integrate the multitude of business management practices for improving overall application portfolio effectiveness.

Applications have become an integral component of an enterprise’s agility, competency, flexibility and maturity. Application development needs to bring up the most business value, the de facto best practices of managing application portfolios need to prioritize and manage the full application cycle via continuous consolidation, rationalization, integration, optimization; make some quick wins and use this to support other initiatives focusing more on governance and long-term benefits. There are quite a lot of criteria to assess application such as the value produced, training/support cost, IT business alignment, availability of professional skills, vendor viability, customer satisfaction, as well as the overall return on investment with the goal to make continuous improvement and produce high performance results.


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