More Apps, More Value?

The Asset That Business Forgot?

If you were asked to list your business’s key assets, what would make the top five? People, certainly: in the knowledge economy, talented employees are one the most valuable commodities around. But what else? Buildings? Machinery? Laptops and servers? Intellectual property? There are as many different answers as there are types of business, of course. But how many organisations – in any sector – would list their applications estate in their top five? If you think about it, in the vast majority of organisations today, software applications are of critical, strategic importance. Without applications, talent loses its value because it can’t be put to work. Not only that, but resources can’t be managed, finances can’t be calculated, products can’t be designed, teams can’t collaborate properly, orders can’t be fulfilled and customers can’t be serviced. Yet surprisingly few organisations take a strategic approach to managing these prized assets. In most large businesses today, the applications estate is in a state of chaos – no one knows what apps are out there, who’s using them, how much they’re costing or what value they’re delivering. That causes problems on three fronts: Technology: Lack of insight into the app estate wastes money, with most organisations paying for more licenses than they need. It can lead to massive complications and delays during migration and upgrade projects, as unexpected dependencies cause apps to break or not function on the new platform. It can also mean migrations and upgrades are far more expensive than necessary, as unused apps are needlessly migrated and unforeseen difficulties cause time and budget over-runs. Business: Without a thorough understanding of how each app is used, it’s impossible to know which applications deliver the most value, and what adjustments need to be made to maximise the value of the entire estate. For example, an application used by one team could be very useful to another, but the second team may not know it exists. Conversely, an application that’s widely licensed and deployed across the enterprise may never be used, as employees don’t consider it useful. Management: As apps are critical to business success, a coherent applications management strategy is crucial. That means understanding how the business works, ensuring it has the right apps to achieve its aims, and ensuring those apps are continuously managed to provide the maximum value and the minimum disruption to the business as time goes on. Without a strategic approach to application management, the problems of today will only get worse. The trends towards IT consumerisation and “Bring Your Own Device” will cause already-chaotic applications estates to fragment further, with users choosing to download whatever applications suit their own purpose and work style. The Bottom Line: Getting good, continuous management processes in place is critical – otherwise the app estate can quickly go from valuable asset to expensive white elephant.

Consumer Apps with Enterprise Standards

IT Consumerisation and Applications Strategy

2011 saw an exponential increase in the number of privately owned tablets and smartphones. On Christmas Day alone, 6.8 million iOS or Android devices were activated (Flurry). And according to Gartner, Q4 2011 saw a 47.3% increase from 2010 in the number of smartphones sold worldwide. Apple’s iPhones and iPads are not the only devices that should be on your radar. Strategy Analytics found that in the final quarter of 2011, Android captured 39% of shipments in the global tablet market. Forget about that being a lot of smartphones or tablets – that’s a lot of apps in the hands of the working public. Last year also saw Apple’s App Store pass 15 billion downloads – a milestone that only took three years. Now imagine how many people out there want to use those apps or apps like them as part of their job – and if recent research by Cisco is a good indicator, then more than half already are.

The Positives of BYOD

This is the face of the consumerisation of IT and it’s not going away any time soon. That’s not necessarily bad news: with squeezed IT spending affecting so many organisations, a BYOD (bring your own device) policy can save a lot of money.  And as Avanade US found in a recent survey, BYOD can lead to better collaboration. It also found that employees are better at solving problems when they’re allowed to use their own smartphones and tablets at work. But consider the state of your app estate now, and then imagine adapting to more than five different tablet and smartphone operating systems, all running on different devices with different specifications. Mismanagement at this point would be disastrous. So what’s the solution? The first step is to understand the extent of BYOD that’s already in the enterprise, and get a good feel for what consumer apps are being used for work purposes, and why. As Gartner VP and analyst David Willis explains: “Businesses need to understand the difference between an enterprise and a consumer application, and have a decision framework to select them.” That may mean looking for enterprise-friendly alternatives to the consumer apps being used today. Some organisations have already started to roll out enterprise “app stores” to help users browse and use applications from the corporate app estate that meet their needs. Some organisations will also want to incorporate genuinely useful consumer apps into the app estate, where they can be managed with the appropriate governance. This will require thorough evaluation on a range of factors including business value, unique functionality, ease of integration with system platforms and business processes, management requirements and security features. Consumerisation is taking off very fast, and CIOs need to get a coherent application management strategy in place quickly. Drawing up policies now and investing in the knowledge and technology to avoid application chaos will enable you to get all the benefits of BYOD with none of the headaches. Get our Application Agility eBook for a full outline of how to create an application estate that’s primed for consumer.

Find out about the benefits of a little application intelligence

At Camwood we call it application chaos – and it never ceases to amaze me just how much of it actually exists out there. Recognising the benefits of a well-managed and ‘fit for purpose’ application estate aren’t hard to fathom.  You’ll save money on apps the business doesn’t need, you’ll breeze through  the next application migration programme with zero business disruption and the opportunity to innovate and transform the desktop delivery model will be a much more viable proposition, be it via cloud, virtualised desktop or an internal app-store for example. Getting there can be an enlightening experience.  Understanding what apps you have, what they do, how often they’re used and how critical they are provides the foundations for building strong application estate intelligence. It’s not uncommon for Camwood to dramatically rationalise app estates, in some cases by around 50-60%, once a client gets an accurate picture of what’s actually  there and overlays it what the business really needs.  Not a bad effort when you think about the cost savings on that alone. Cue smiley face. The benefits should continue to be reaped long after the initial piece of work is complete. Maintaining a well governed application estate on a continual basis through the (pardon the pun) application of best practice processes and proactive thinking will help to ensure your app strategy remains agile, your users stay productive and the bottom line healthy.  Check out our latest video to get more insight into our application intelligence thinking and how we’re helping customers move to a chaos-free world.

Windows 7 Migration – Full speed ahead?

Microsoft Windows 7 is still hot. On the consumer side, it quickly became one of the highest grossing pre-orders in Amazon’s history (beating the seventh Harry Potter book). After 36 hours, 64-bit versions of Windows 7 Professional had sold out in Japan. For enterprises, the reception has been nearly as positive, with most large companies expressing a probable intention to start migrating within the next year or two. Full speed ahead? The only problem: big companies have thousands of applications and tens of thousands of users all over the world. Moving all these apps and users to a new platform is, to say the least, a non-trivial task. We have created an eBook specifically designed to help the people charged with migrating some of the biggest, most complex application estates in the world to Windows 7 – people like you. It summarises eleven of the most common migration mistakes we’ve seen in our ten years as the UK’s leading specialists in application logistics. Some of the mistakes may seem obvious to you and others may raise an eyebrow, but all of them are incredibly common in even the best-run IT departments. After all, major migrations don’t come along every year, so few enterprises have developed the systems and processes to master them. The stakes are high. Get your migration right and you’ll reach Windows 7 quickly at a reasonable budget and without major disruption to users or your business. Get it wrong and your entire enterprise will screech to a halt, your support desks will light up like a Christmas tree and your boss will call you in for a quiet word. To find out what the most common mistakes are and how to avoid them, download our “Eleven Mistakes In Windows 7 Migrations” eBook… We hope it helps you get it right, and we also hope you’ll get in touch to find out how we can help you achieve what we call an Enlightened Migration™.