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Think Tank: Unlocking value from the applications portfolio

Think Tank: Unlocking value from the applications portfolio

Within the IT Assets portfolio, managing application assets has the greatest potential benefit. Here’s how to reap maximum rewards from Applications Portfolio Management.

Figure 3 - Typical APM assessments group each application in one of the four categories: Invest, Divest, Reengineer and Tolerate.

Figure 3 - Typical APM assessments group each application in one of the four categories: Invest, Divest, Reengineer and Tolerate.

  • Analysis: Looking at the data using a variety of criteria from business, technology, operations and financial perspectives would highlight ‘anomalies’ and areas for actions. Using a combination of factors would highlight anomalies, for example, if two applications are similar complexity and size but one has high costs, indicates an issue. Some solutions will become obvious when you see the problem, e.g. 17 versions of warehousing applications.

  • Trend is your friend: Collecting cost and performance trends over time can give you richer insights than just point in time data. 18-24 months data would begin to yield useful information.

  • Applications portfolio: Typically the assessment results would group each application in one of the four categories. These are Invest, Divest, Reengineer and Tolerate.
    a. Invest – These are applications of high business value and good technical quality.
    b. Divest – Low value/ low quality or duplicate applications.
    c. Reengineer – High business value but low quality applications are candidates for modernisation.
    d. Tolerate – High technical quality but low business value applications are possible candidates for cost reduction.

  • Ongoing governance: Treating APM as a one time activity is a mistake. Any short-term gains would soon be lost. Assign responsibility for governance and ensuring inventories are regularly updated and assessed and recommendations are followed through. Establish key metrics and scorecards to monitor progress of the initiatives. Track and publish the benefits.

  • Link with Enterprise Architecture: APM inventory provides data for the current state and recommendations should be aligned with the Enterprise architecture ‘desired end-state’. Application roadmaps create the migration path between these two states.

  • Communicate the results: Widely communicate the logic of the recommendations. Use the application roadmaps with the results of the assessment to inform business executives about the issues/ risks and various choices. This will result in a stronger business buy-in.


  • Hemant Kogekar is the principal of Kogekar Consulting. He has previously held CIO/ IT director positions with Suncorp, Citigroup and Franklins. He can be reached at hemant[at]kogekar.com

    To read Hemant Kogekar’s last column, click here

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