IT management, APM, Enterprise

What You Need to Know About Application Portfolio Management

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In today’s era where customer demands are constantly evolving, software applications make it easy for organizations to keep up with their expectations. According to Statista, 218 billion apps were downloaded in 2020 alone! But as more and more applications become a part of the business, and additional features and improvements are introduced, managing the entire application portfolio and the associated complex architecture becomes increasingly difficult. Efficient and continuous application portfolio management (APM) is the only way for organizations to govern and optimize the inventory of software applications and ensure they continue to meet unique business objectives.

As the Application Landscape Gets Complex, App Portfolio Management Streamlines Decision-Making

Business applications have become a critical link to meet customer objectives in an innovative and timely manner. However, the pace of digital disruption and transformation compels organizations to make quick and effective decisions on technology investments. In the event of limited visibility into the application landscape and poor business alignment, such decisions can increase risk to the business.

Application Portfolio Management helps create a real-time and comprehensive overview of an organization’s IT application landscape, allowing companies to evaluate IT costs, standardize software across the enterprise, while promoting agility and innovation. It allows businesses to have end-to-end visibility into their application portfolio, especially as mergers and acquisitions, organizational changes, and market trends transform the application landscape.

With Application Portfolio Management businesses can:

  • Build a comprehensive inventory of the business applications in use while always having oversight of application status
  • Rationalize the application portfolio, enable centralized control, reduce waste due to duplication, and limit application sprawl
  • Make data‑driven technology decisions on whether to modernize, sustain, replace, or retire key business applications
  • Conduct capability‑based planning to better align technology investments with overall business goals and strategies
  • Reduce complexity of the application landscape, eliminate redundant and obsolete applications, and improve risk management
  • Improve application oversight and illustrate business benefits of every application in the ecosystem

Successful Application Portfolio Management Requires organizations to embrace best practices

As organizations grow, new trends appear, and new needs emerge, many IT departments and individuals end up purchasing apps to solve urgent problems. Although such an approach can help overcome short-term challenges, the implications it has on long-term stability is extremely far-reaching. Organizations that constantly pile up apps – with little or no oversight – often end up having the same apps purchased multiple times, apps that are paid for but never installed, and even installed but never used.

To ensure your app landscape is simple, clean, and minimalistic, you need to be thoroughly aware of the different nuances of Application Portfolio Management. Here are some best practices to embrace:

1. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all Application Portfolio Management strategy

Different organizations operating in different industries and serving different customers are sure to have a completely unique and exclusive application landscape. Since no two organizations will have the same app portfolio, there is also no one-size-fits-all Application Portfolio Management strategy that will deliver successful outcomes. If you want to successfully manage your application portfolio, you need to carefully study your app landscape and build a strategy that takes into account your business goals, IT budget, app ecosystem, and customer needs.

2. Using automated Application Portfolio Management tools can help drive significant results

Given how complex and sprawling the application landscape can be, using automated Application Portfolio Management tools are a great way to drive the best results. Built with modern machine learning technology, these tools can constantly analyze the application portfolio and generate reports about the health and relevance of each application. By providing KPIs across application age, frequency of use, cost of maintenance, as well as interrelationships with other applications, managers can make better decisions on whether to maintain, update, replace, or retire certain applications.

3. Complex applications need complex tools

Most complex applications today do not operate in a silo; they are closely linked with other applications in an intricate web. Such complex apps need more than just app-specific Application Portfolio Management tools; they need network-based APM tools that tap into existing networks to monitor traffic as it flows across the enterprise. By analyzing application response times and identifying performance errors, it enables organizations to get a better understanding of how an application performs in the bigger scheme or things and take steps to further improve its performance.

In today’s era where organizations have a mixed portfolio of on-premises and cloud-based applications, Application Portfolio Management helps monitor and manage this growing portfolio via clear, actionable metrics. By documenting applications that have been deployed or are going to be deployed in the future, it helps organizations have a clear, real-time view of their app landscape while allowing them to make the right tech decisions. Invest in the right Application Portfolio Management tools today and keep your app portfolio streamlined and optimized over time.

Blog courtesy of Synoptek, a global systems integrator and MSP. Read more blogs from Synoptek here.