Building Value with Application Modernization and Rationalization

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Applications make our lives easier. They inform us, connect us, and help us make our business practices more efficient.

Or do they?


The average employee uses nine apps for their daily work. More if they work in IT; and more still for those in administration. These apps are there to boost productivity. But they often do the opposite, draining time and pulling focus as workers toggle between them. And this can lead to a loss of up to 32 days of productive work per employee every year.


For businesses to be efficient and innovative, application modernization and rationalization is crucial. We’re going to look at what it is, and how you can do it effectively.

What is Application Rationalization?


Application rationalization is the process of identifying applications across your organization to determine which ones you should keep, replace, retire or combine. It’s often undertaken by businesses preparing to migrate to the cloud while looking to reduce technical debt and operational costs.

Your application rationalization strategy should begin with an inventory. You need to know the function of each app, whether they’re business-critical or for internal use only, and if they have any dependencies.


Why Application Rationalization is Important to Your Modernization Strategy


Simply put, application sprawl creates more work. The more applications in use, the more IT teams have to manage and update. Even the unused apps demand attention, as without security updates they’re an easy way in for threat actors. As such, application rationalization and modernization are key to reducing workloads and boosting productivity. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the benefits:

  • Reduced storage space. Retiring unnecessary applications reduces the amount of data storage you pay for.
  • Lower operational overhead. Maintaining and enhancing apps that aren’t crucial wastes time and money. Using an off-the-shelf or hosted solution could allow you to redirect resources elsewhere.
  • Added value. Moving costs away from apps that are purely operational allows you to invest in those that add value to your business.
  • Exposed gaps and duplicates. An app rationalization uncovers technical and methodological gaps in the lifecycle management process. It also enables you to identify duplicate tools and platforms and retire redundant applications.
  • Easier cloud migration. Some of your apps might be dependent on legacy software. Others might be dependent on an on-premise database, which causes latency issues when loaded into the cloud. Identifying those that aren’t cloud compatible enables a smoother migration and ensures those you do migrate run well.

How to Implement Application Rationalization in Your Business


The more mature your business, the more application suites you’ll likely have in play. How long it takes you to rationalize your apps and modernize your portfolio will depend on how well you’ve managed them up until now. That said, every business should do the following:

  • Retire duplicate applications, apps that won’t work in the cloud, and those that you can replace for increased efficiency.
  • Retain business-critical applications that are dependent on your legacy systems in their current environment.
  • Rehost. Often referred to as “lift and shift”, rehosting your applications is when you move them to the cloud as is. This is appropriate for apps that don’t need any modifications to work.
  • Replatform. This is for legacy apps that will work better in the cloud but need minor changes to take full advantage of the new environment.
  • Refactor. Change the architecture of apps to better suit the new environment. Unlike re-platforming, this can be an extensive process.
  • Reimagine. Identify your future business goals and determine the apps you’ll need to achieve them. Application rationalization is an opportunity to modernize and make meaningful changes across your business.

And once your cloud migration is complete, keep your application rationalization going. Track metrics such as return on investment, CPU usage, and error rates. This will help you spot which applications remain productive and cost-efficient - and which don’t. And it will ensure that your app portfolio continues to support and drive your business goals. If you’d like to learn more about application modernization and rationalization, just reach out.

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