Application portfolio management tools are a major part of maintaining systems and ensuring applications continue to meet the needs of end users.
Whether an organization has massive amounts of infrastructure or seemingly modest infrastructure, an effective IT department has to be able to address issues swiftly. In today’s modern era in which users are especially tech-savvy, and businesses rely on their systems entirely for profitability, keeping things running smoothly cannot be done with a reactive approach. The right application portfolio management tools address immediate concerns, yet also make it possible for IT departments to take a proactive approach.
Applications: While most people think of applications in terms of the type of app one might use on a phone, the term is actually quite broad and refers to any type of program aids in information that is used for a specific business purpose. Applications can display, create, manage, update, or calculate this information. Ergo, something as simple as Microsoft Excel could be considered an application.
Application Portfolio Management: Many of today’s corporations have been around for decades and their systems and software go back to their inception. Naturally, bits and pieces of them have been changed, added, and removed over the years. In addition to this, new business processes have resulted in the need for expanded technology, which often means adding in more applications. In some cases, departments have all used different technology and corporate mergers have brought even more variation into the mix. Instead of having a single, functional, albeit outdated box, these companies are now left with a tangle of systems and applications that don’t always “play nice” together, let alone integrate or support each other. Even in smaller or newer companies with more recent tech, including cloud apps, compatibility remains a concern; these components need to be managed and overseen. This is where application portfolio management comes in. Software can serve as a new backbone for all these different aspects, and alterations can be made, that make it possible to monitor the health of everything.
Application Portfolio Management Tools: There are literally hundreds of different types of tools that can be used to ensure applications stay healthy and run efficiently. Many technology companies have devised their own proprietary software to monitor the health of their programs. Using Microsoft as an example again, a user might see a pop up window when a program crashes, offering to debug the problem or search for a solution. This is a small-scale reactive approach to a problem, but it appears as a tool available to troubleshoot. Application portfolio management tools can be designed to be far more complex than this; offering insights on programs designed by multiple companies and using predictive analytics to catch an issue before it causes a crash.
Each company will need a solution tailored to its needs, but there are a few application portfolio management tools that are useful across the board.
Central Reporting: IT departments manage countless types of reports, from crash reports generated by systems, to end user reports about bugs, and internal documentation about who is making which changes. Ideally, one system overseeing all reporting should be used, as it streamlines the process and makes follow-up as well as accountability easier to manage.
Health: Monitoring the health of programs is essential in order to ensure crashes and downtime don’t occur. With health monitoring tools, applications can be monitored for age, bugs, size, performance, and more.
Analytics: There are many types of analytics that can be beneficial, beyond those related to health. For example, certain tools can help determine the costs of upgrades, assess risk, allocate resources, and help the IT team make smarter decisions.
Collaboration: Following email chains can be confusing and alternate chat programs aren’t always effective at bringing a team together. A well-built application portfolio management program will include some type of collaboration center, so the IT team can discuss issues and share data.
Prediction: It cannot be stressed enough that prediction is an essential component of running systems and programs efficiently. When predictive analytics and modeling are part of the management tools, issues can be avoided altogether, downtime can be eliminated or minimized, and the user experience is better.
Scalability: If the tools are part of a larger program or software program, it should be designed to grow with a company.
Interoperability: Analytics and predictions offer more value when they include data from all applications being used. For this reason, the tools chosen should be designed to work with all a company’s programs or be adapted to work with them.
Compliance: In any organization, there will be certain guidelines or laws that must be followed, particularly regarding the storage and sharing of data. This should be taken into consideration before adopting any new programs or tools, in order to ensure compliance.