How to rationalize your application portfolio

By Thor Olavsrud, CIO |  Software, APM

1. Build maintainable applications. Increasing collaboration between the groups involved in application design, development and maintenance will allow you to build applications that are easy to maintain, and give IT the opportunity to streamline operations, reduce costs and achieve greater agility. Capgemini points to Cummins, a manufacturer of engines and related technologies. Cummins' IT has divided responsibilities for application development into layers. The first consists of business users paired with business analysts and functional architects who understand the requirements and structure of applications. They hand the application design off to a second team, the hardware architecture team, which ensures Cummins has the right enterprise architecture to support the application. The hardware architecture team then hands the design to the Application Development and Support Centers for each major application area, which has responsibility for development of support of those systems. The Standards and Processes Group controls ways to manage development and deployment (essentially a functional excellence team), developing the tools needed to run Application Development and Support Centers. Finally, the next level of IT supports and maintains the application infrastructure and backs up application data.

2. Implement portfolio governance strategies. A clear governance strategy is a requirement for accurately prioritizing IT demand and keeping IT aligned with business needs. Putting in place portfolio governance practices and tools gives you the ability to review each IT project for a good fit within the overall enterprise architecture.

3. Seek greater alignment with the business. The business initiates most application development projects, not IT, according to Capgemini. This means that IT needs to foster a true "fusion" of business and IT--one that starts with ensuring alignment between business users and the teams that develop and support the applications, but then goes further by allowing IT to become a catalyst and driver for innovation through its increased understanding of the business.

4. Overcome resistance to change. Users often resist adopting new applications. They're often comfortable with older applications, even if they're inefficient. It's not enough to simply build an app. You need users to embrace it. To overcome this resistance, involve business stakeholders when designing the application strategy and ensure that every step of the process--development, phased implementation, introduction and learning--is closely monitored and aligned.


Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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