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:
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.
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.
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.