Application Agility Killer #7 – An App Lifecycle Management Vacuum

Application estates tend to get a lot of attention (and budget) during major migrations. Often, the application estate never looks better-managed than in the days and weeks after a successful migration. But in reality, little has changed: all the bad habits that constrained Application Agility have just been moved to a new platform. And it’s soon back to chaos. Application Agility depends on best-practice Application Lifecycle Management processes that streamline and automate: App Provisioning Evaluating user requests and turning them into clear briefs for licensing, packaging, testing and deploying the application – or moving it into the cloud. Application Management Efficient processes for maintaining, updating and mobilising applications. Application Retirement Knowing when and how to mothball an app or de-list it entirely. The Application Agility Killers we have looked at over the last seven weeks, may seem a bit obvious to some IT professionals. But they’re still incredibly common: most of them can be found in some form or another in almost every large organisation. Let the agility killers run rampant and you’ll always be playing an unwinnable game with your application estate. But get these under control and you’re on the fast track to true Application Agility and all the benefits that confers: A lower cost application estate – Saving as much as 50-80% every year on your total cost of ownership A better-served user base – With the right apps in the right places Simpler app management – With a lighter IT burden and faster provisioning Easier, faster, lower cost migrations – With less risk of disruption to users and the business The ability to exploit new technologies – Moving to new deployment models and platforms easily These are the Application Agility dividends experienced by enterprises that invest in their application estates and treat their apps like strategic assets instead of just a cost of doing business. To find out more about the Application Agility Killers download our free eBook.

Internet Exploitation

In the lead up to Christmas we are all very busy, but I almost dropped the smart phone socks I was knitting for my friends when I noticed the little gift coming our way from Microsoft. Starting with January’s regular monthly update (Jan 10th), they will be pushing out the latest versions of Internet Explorer (v8 for Windows XP and v9 for Vista and Win7). However unlike the current updates this will no longer be an opt-in feature, it will be an opt-out one. These “silent installs” are intended to finally wipe out the aged version six of Internet Explorer (released in August 2001), along with version seven and many copies of eight. An up-to-date browser is more secure, as most malicious attacks online are designed to exploit known weaknesses in old versions or pose as fake updates for them. So this is not bad news for users or Microsoft. However there is every chance that your applications, local and online apps, may have incompatibilities with the latest versions of Internet Explorer and this is especially relevant to version nine, which many organisations are still deliberately avoiding. The first to be affected by this Microsoft deployment will be users in Brazil and Australia, after which it will be expanded worldwide, until everyone is covered by these silent installations. If you use a critical application that depends upon an old version of Internet Explorer, be it an online application hosted within your business or something locally installed, you will have productivity issues once your machines are updated; you need to take action. Battening down the hatches and enforcing an old version solves your problem, but does leave you with the mounting security holes of out of date software. Web apps are continuously progressing and developing in complexity, placing increasing demands upon your software which you will need to keep up with, and this is before HTML 5 changes things further! But there is help at hand to ensure your inevitable upgrade is practical, stable and safe – Our technical teams specialise in such migrations and we can take the instability and worry out of software upgrades. . After, all if the prospect of turning your machine on to find Internet Explorer nine installed is of any concern to you, then bear in mind that version ten is already in its fourth development stage. Change is inevitable; your response to it is not. For some helpful tips for upgrading Internet Explorer, download our eBook

Application Agility Killer #6 – Botched app migration

Major application migrations are the most common time and place for bad decisions that can cripple your Application Agility. Migrations tend to go off the rails because they start too soon, before the due diligence, planning  and resourcing work is done. The result is business disruption, squealing users and a beleaguered IT department – not a great situation for clear app deployment decisions. Our eBook on Application Migration Intelligence goes into more detail on this, but here’s a snapshot from it, outlining what we call an Enlightened Migration:   An Enlightened Migration means you arrive where you set out to go and you get there in good shape: with the agility you need to keep your app estate fit for purpose. To find out more about the Application Agility Killers download our free eBook.

Camwood Extends Contract with BAE Systems for Application Management

London: 15 December 2011 – Camwood Limited, the UK-based specialists in application logistics, has announced the award of a three-year managed service contract from BAE Systems, to provide managed application certification services across the company’s UK desktop environment. The new contract builds on work done by Camwood over the past year where it provided expertise to BAE Systems and its partners in deploying applications to support the development of a ‘software as a service’ initiative. Virtualising applications is seen by BAE Systems as a major step towards delivering more efficient IT services.  Instead of applications being hosted on each of 37,500+ individual desktops across the UK organisation, they will be stored centrally and as many as possible delivered using Microsoft’s App-V technology. Allan Leggetter, Director of Enterprise IT Services for BAE Systems: “We recognise that undertaking a “software as a service” transformation will enable the business to be more agile in the deployment and management of applications across the enterprise. Camwood, as a recognised provider of expert services in this field, has been pivotal in progressing this initiative and is crucial to its on-going success.” With the award of this three-year contract, Camwood is now the specialist partner for the application certification component and will design, implement and operate the service according to agreed standards. It will also manage the service, providing a high level of governance and controls using best practise methodologies that conform to the latest ITIL standards. Camwood will assess commercial off-the-shelf applications (COTS) and applications developed in-house by BAE Systems using Microsoft App-V, the virtualisation platform chosen by BAE Systems. Those applications not found to be suitable for virtualisation in their current form will either be developed for suitability, or deployed using MSI technology. Certification is just one part of the service that Camwood will provide. In effect it will, using Camwood Application Lifecycle Manager manage applications from ‘cradle to grave’.  This can track applications throughout the key stages of the engineering lifecycle while also providing real-time status information to BAE Systems and partners responsible for other parts of the virtualisation project. The award of this contract is a clear reflection of both Camwood’s experience in application logistics working with large enterprises worldwide and previous work done for BAE Systems on this and other projects. As Frank Foxall, CEO of Camwood commented: “Having worked closely with BAE Systems for several years, Camwood was the ideal candidate when it came to delivering this highly specialised service. Indeed, BAE Systems explicitly sought Camwood as its preferred supplier for application certification based on our proven expertise in the field.”   About Camwood Recently ranked as one of the UK’s top 100 fastest growing private tech companies*, Camwood is the preferred migration partner for some of the largest global enterprises with over ten years’ experience in Application Logistics, including Enlightened Migration™, application rationalisation and virtualisation for some of the world’s largest application estates. A unique combination of expertise, software and methodology makes Camwood the preferred migration partners for some of the largest enterprises in the world – including  Tube Lines, Santander, RBS, Sainsbury’s, Lloyds TSB, BAE Systems, Environment Agency, and HMRC.   About BAE Systems BAE Systems is a global defence and security company with approximately 100,000 employees worldwide. The Company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and support services. * Sunday Times Microsoft Tech Track 100 league table 2011

Closing the SAM Gap – reduce costs and run a tighter ship

As a rule the IT industry views software asset management (SAM) as something you just do. It’s the high-tech equivalent of a stock take. But we see it just a bit differently. We see it as a largely overlooked and undervalued way to reduce costs from your business and run a tighter, leaner software ship based on your real needs. In theory, SAM is an opportunity to reduce costs, cut risks and improve operational efficiency. But in reality the process generally turns into an expensive exercise with organisations shelling out to “true up” their license spend to match their supposed usage. No problem. If you use it, you should pay for it. But we’re the sort of people who just can’t help wondering if there’s another way. And, you know what; we think we have found one. The SAM Gap A Gartner survey found the average company to be over or under licensed by 30%. But what sounds like a neat balance of winners and losers doesn’t really play out that way:

Under-licensed organisations do the honourable thing and get out the chequebook Over-licensed organisations struggle (and usually fail) to work out what’s going to waste

The SAM Gap is an intelligence gap. And if you can close it then you can start to rationalise your software portfolio and/or your spend. You can turn the existing world on its head:

Under-licensed organisations can simply turn off the software they aren’t using Over-licensed organisations can simply “true down” licenses to match usage

Sound too good to be true? Not if you get a real understanding of the software you own, use and need, and turn the standard stock take into something altogether more dynamic. You need to consider three questions as part of your SAM processes:

Is my software inventory deep enough? You need to understand issues of software categorisation, usage, supportability, compatibility, sustainability, desktop and datacentre

Can I match installed software to licenses owned? Most organisations simply can’t make the link between what they are using and what needs to be licensed

How do we turn what we learn into everyday processes? The fact is that most of the learning from a standard SAM process isn’t documented and is quickly forgotten

If you can’t answer these questions then you’re probably sitting on the expensive side of the SAM Gap. Knowledge Is Power If you can answer these questions (and we can help you there) then you can start to transform your business. You have the power to rationalise your spend and your portfolio. And you can apply your learning into a process of continuous business improvement. The intelligence gained in a SAM process flows from IT into procurement and management to enable better decision making on how assets are controlled, purchased and managed. Take a look at the diagram and ask yourself (or us) if you’re ready to bridge the gap.