Application rationalization:
Start with the basics

What is application rationalization?

Applications are the “arms” of your IT division, reaching into all corners of your company to provide every staff member the information and means to fulfill daily responsibilities and make informed business decisions. You want to ensure the value of every application—for staff and for the company as a whole. You accomplish this by implementing an application rationalization framework - a core exercise in application portfolio management. It involves:
  • Retiring unused applications
  • Eliminating applications with redundant functionality
  • Validating the value of application investment
  • Standardizing on common application platforms
  • Creating synergy within the application ecosystem
  • Targeting business goals with the application portfolio
By doing so, you ensure scale, vitality, and adaptability of your IT landscape.
Think of the value behind that when your business relies on tens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of different applications. And the value behind the cost and effort you save on all needing to be monitored, refreshed, supported and more.
The value is clear: this is how your applications—and their users—benefit from portfolio management-based application rationalization.
Check out this fact sheet on application portfolio management (APM) to find out more on the benefits of application rationalization with Alfabet and Alfabet FastLane.

But I don’t use a lot of applications—do I still need to rationalize my current portfolio?

Chances are you’ll still need some system in place to organize applications in a way that’s cost-effective for you. It’s all about scale—if you can rationalize your application portfolio by 10%, 30% or 50%, that’s going to have a positive effect on your bottom line—no matter how many applications you have.

Other pitfalls in place without application rationalization include:

  • Slower IT reaction times
  • Less budget for innovation
  • Higher IT vulnerability and risk potential
  • Lack of strategic direction for the application portfolio
  • Missed business opportunities
Chances are you might be one of those enterprises boasting high volumes of revenue, managing an average of maybe 1K applications? In fact, the top 10%, the largest corporations, face management and monitoring of more than 3K platforms.
Imagine the wins in just doing the basics.
Read what benefits your peers have derived from application rationalization with Alfabet in this research paper from the Aité Group.

So how will I specifically benefit from application rationalization?

That’s also pretty basic:

Reduced IT costs – licenses, software seats, maintenance, integration, training, vendor management – it all adds up.

Reduced IT complexity – less integrations, less dependencies, less change impact – less things to worry about when you need to decide on an application fast.

Reduced IT risk – fewer vulnerable elements, fewer back doors for threats to break into, fewer knock-on effects if the technology or application is compromised.

All from simply managing the applications you use on a daily basis—continuously. This isn’t a one-shot pop. If you want to make room for continuous innovation, you need to make application rationalization a forever-flowing program.

Sounds easy—maybe I can just do it myself

You certainly can—with plenty of challenges to face.

As easy as application rationalization may be on the surface (defining a couple of KPIs and eliminating the poor performers), the fact is this: you don’t know what you don’t know.

When you start examining an application you’ve chosen to bid farewell to, you may be surprised to find a network of dependencies you had no idea about—applications that depend on it for an upstream or downstream flow of data, little-known but critical business processes that depend on that application, or business organizations that have no ability—for whatever reason—to use alternatives.

Integrated IT portfolio management (ITPM) centralizes everything you need to rationalize the application portfolio for all the right reasons and with full awareness of relationship repercussions.

All you need is the data. The right ITPM platform will make it work for you.

Find out in this fact sheet how Alfabet and Alfabet FastLane give application managers the insights they need to smartly rationalize the application portfolio.

With those basics in place ...

You will be able to:
  • Compile a list of your top applications
  • Identify what the company values in its applications
  • Define an application portfolio strategy
  • Know the application lifecycle, usage, cost, criticality, risk profile and more
  • Create and document the application rationalization framework for consolidation
  • Road-map all steps within your new architecture
  • Work with everyone that has a stake in the matter
  • Build a continuous and self-sufficient process
Remember: your business will continue to evolve. So will your applications.
Protect them. Review them constantly. And optimize them—always.