Transparent IT portfolios help businesses succeed

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It seems like every three months there is a new mobile device that changes everything. New operating systems, from Windows 8, Blackberry 10, and Android’s Jellybean, come out once a year with updated interfaces and features. Even new programming languages are starting to pop-up. But now we’re finding that some of the stuff we built 5 years ago is still pretty good, and maybe just need a UI facelift, mobile app, or delivery method. But remember, it shouldn’t be about the fanciest, shiniest toy (even if they are nice to have). It should be about delivering relevant tools to the business, which can be accessed everywhere and can talk to everything.

Gone are the days when the VP of IT at a midmarket bank would tell his application owner to hire a consulting firm to build a new website for the Mortgage division that includes a simple mortgage calculator, a contact page, and little else. Today that same business unit is asking for a website, smartphone app, blog, data warehouse, and SEO solutions. Oh, and don’t forget about social networking tools! And to top it all off, all of these things must interface with current legacy systems.

All the app owner hears is design, API, WebService, infrastructure, QA, resources, maintenance, and above all else, COST, COST, and maybe a little more COST. Yet the Finance department is telling the VP to reduce, reuse, and outsource or offshore.

So now what? This is where Application Portfolio Management (APM) comes in. With relevant, objective facts, IT managers can develop the transparency needed to meet the requirements of the business while making smart resource investments in comparison to the cost of the application's maintenance and operations.

We are hosting a webinar this Thursday, April 11th with Phil Murphy, a highly regarded research executive at Forrester Research, to explain a tactical approach to APM that can bring the necessary transparency to your application portfolio so you can develop trust with business leaders and apply resources more strategically.

Perhaps you have tried APM initiatives before, and didn’t find enough value for the effort put in. But IT managers who are good practitioners of APM look at the business goals behind the needs of the organization and use the concept of portfolio management to their advantage. They gather information about each application -- which is not limited to lines of code or types of technologies -- and use that transparency to understand the cost of building and maintaining the application.

This transparency comes from the ability to identify and eliminate redundant applications or applications not structurally sound enough to support the needs of the business, by providing objective metrics on the stability, quality, and maintainability of the applications. As a result, you can compare those factors against business value to allocate resources accordingly, define strategic planning efforts, and diffuse the inherit conflict between business leaders and IT departments.

Does your organization have an initiative to inventory its entire application portfolio? Do you think it should? Then make sure to join our discussion with Forrester Research executive Phil Murphy this Thursday.

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