A common folly (or marketing ploy) seen with application rationalization is the idea that it can be accomplished in x number of weeks. Orbus iServer, is one vendor that makes such a claim, suggesting rationalization can be done in four weeks.
In addressing these kinds of statements, I always start with simplifying what is application rationalization.
Application rationalization is a decision-making framework using cost, value, or other indictors to help determine the strategic direction of your applications.
When you put it that way, it seems quite easy and doesn’t sound overly time consuming. All you need is applications, a few inputs, and a toolset or framework, and you get your output in the form of an action item for an application.
In reality, this gets convoluted and you need to ask:
These are the kinds of things that take your optimistic four weeks and turn it into a head-scratching, never-ending data collection initiative. Your existing maturity in terms of application portfolio management and similar competencies like enterprise architecture, project portfolio management, or product management will greatly impact how quickly you can achieve success with application rationalization.
Where iServer does get it right is acknowledging that there are correct steps to and a correct order. Its “application rationalization in four weeks”does emphasize a methodical approach and sequence that ensure goals are defined and necessary inputs are captured. I would just prefer to call this application rationalization in four … well … five steps.
iServer’ s methodology:
What’s important here is the emphasis on centralizing, assessing, and augmenting data. They don’t sugar coat the necessity of getting the right information and using it in the right way. Moreover, the process doesn’t end with generating a disposition for your apps. There is clearly a bigger end game here of producing a roadmap, which is that quintessential artifact of a good application portfolio management practice. Being able to communicate and validate the direction of your portfolio to your stakeholders is a substantial factor in increasing the business satisfaction from the application delivery.
Lastly, rationalization should not be looked at as a one-and-done initiative. Rationalization is about continuously governing your portfolio and keeping the business up to date on the best possible recommendations for their applications. To suggest four weeks and you’re done implies you won’t continue to reap the benefits from being that strategic partner and innovator in your organization.
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