5. Gain visibility. Before making changes or embarking on a new product, you need to use analysis and metrics to understand the interrelationships between applications and their dependencies. Automated discovery and relationship mapping tools can help you identify and map the relationships between applications and the underlying infrastructure. APM tools can help you understand who's using your applications, how they're using them and what resources they consume. Context is essential. How many users an application has is often far less significant than understanding the business criticality of each specific system and how the application affects the company's revenue.
6. Outsource the solution, not the problem. Capgemini notes that 74% of all application portfolios are partially or fully outsourced, but outsourcing may create more problems than it fixes unless you've rationalized your portfolio first. Maintaining complex IT systems often requires specialized, local knowledge contained within the company, making the learning curve steep. As a result, Capgemini says, your costs could go up despite the fact that the outsourcing provider is benefiting from economies of scale and optimizing the use of resources. To avoid that outcome, rationalization must be an integral part of the engagement.
7. Apply a true lifecycle approach to applications and data. If an application is no longer used to support a current business process and its data is no longer growing significantly, it should be retired and its data archived. Doing so will lower energy bills, reduce footprint and free up engineers to focus on developing new, innovative IT systems rather than maintaining outdated ones.
Thor Olavsrud covers IT Security, Big Data, Open Source, Microsoft Tools and Servers for CIO.com. Follow Thor on Twitter @ThorOlavsrud. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Thor at email@example.com