A good way to reduce unnecessary IT costs and free up funds for new digital transformation initiatives is to rationalize your application estate. By understanding the relevance of applications to your business today, their usage, and associated costs, you can make strategic decisions about support going forward, including what to consolidate or remove.
As your company grows, the number of applications and application versions you support grows too. Getting clear visibility into all the applications in use across the organization, understanding actual usage, and consolidating multiple applications that provide the same functionality becomes a project in itself.
A 2022 PwC pulse survey revealed 60% of executives believed digital transformation is the most critical growth driver this year and 56% believe that increasing agility is very important for operating in a turbulent business environment. One quick win to free up costs for new programs while enabling greater agility is to eliminate applications that are no longer relevant to your organization’s needs today or are essentially duplicates.
The benefits of application rationalization
By investigating and rationalizing your application estate, you can:
- Realize cost savings from consolidating multiple applications that perform the same functionality.
- Reduce technical debt created by those short-term fix applications that are now only draining resources.
- Right size software licenses with an accurate view of users. You could be overpaying if you don’t know what you have.
- Reduce the number of applications managed as part of endpoint operations and in turn spend less time, less money, and less effort on programs such as asset management and Windows servicing.
- Reduce costly issues created by security risks. The first step in mitigating these risks is to have clear visibility into applications and versions of each in use.
- Lower complexity, functional redundancy and associated costs. Over time your company may have seen rapid growth or been through an M&A, resulting in your systems and applications becoming fragmented. Consolidate them to make it easier for teams to collaborate and become more productive.
Steps to consider for application rationalization
1. Inventory apps and costs. Pull data from your CMDB, system management, asset management, and/or purchasing database to get lists of applications, number of licenses purchased, and license cost.
2. Aggregate this information in one central place. Bear in mind, this isn’t a static list – your data could look very different in just a few months.
3. Survey department heads, application owners, and users to gain insights about actual usage – who is using, how essential is it to their work, and how many licenses do they actually need.
4. Understand application usage with software metering to drive reclaiming unused licenses.
5. Rank your applications using a score-based system, taking information from user surveys and criteria such as usage thresholds or number of machines installed to, to identify candidates for removal or consolidation.
6. Compile a report based on your findings. Communicate with stakeholders and application owners to gain buy-in.
7. Ask application owners to decide which application / version to keep when rationalizing versions of the same app or similar apps into one app.
8. Distribute a roadmap for change to end users explaining where they can find out more or get support if you are ending support for an application they use.
9. Continue monitoring usage. Shadow IT will continue if left unchecked and you’ll likely see more unsanctioned applications implemented at the edge as teams digitalize operations.
Completed manually, this is going to take a lot of time and effort. In that time usage patterns will change, and more applications will be added. There is a high chance your data will also contain errors.
Use intelligent automation to simplify application rationalization
Leveraging the digital platform conductor (DPC) capabilities of ReadyWorks you can cut the time and effort of application rationalization and seamlessly integrate the process into your asset lifecycle management program. ReadyWorks allows you to:
- Connect to all your tools to automatically aggregate and analyze your application estate.
- Automate surveys to application owners using the ReadyWorks self-service portal. As they answer questions in the portal, your centralized dashboard view is updated.
- Keep stakeholders updated by easily sharing dashboard views relevant to them.
- Identify thresholds for application scoring such as the number of machines apps are installed on to automate the process and simplify decision making.
- Automate communications to cut the time spent on surveying app owners and communicating roadmaps with end users.
“Elekta uses ReadyWorks for application rationalization reducing list of apps from 50,000 to 1,300. Read the customer success story ⟶”