Application transformation: Keep your portfolio healthy

Don’t think of application rationalization and transformation as a onetime investment. It’s more of a lifecycle that you need to commit to keeping in shape. You need to have a consistent, transparent and reliable way to evaluate the new demand against your current application portfolio.  This is the intersection of enterprise architecture and portfolio management.  

I’m sure you’ve experienced typical routine of setting new year’s resolutions, making changes for the better in your life. (exercise more, eat right, lose weight… and so on)   But, after losing the weight, it often seems to come back.   There’s evidence of this at health clubs.  There’s a surge of new faces in January and February but by March, they are largely gone.   Why?   Some probably lost focus and have other priorities and others reach their goals and are now maintaining.  (If you really want to read more about the psychology of goals, check out How to Commit to a Goal.)

There’s a parallel theme with your application portfolio.  You’re spending too much time, effort and money keeping fragile and brittle applications running.  The business wants speed, innovation and savings from you– but your legacy applications have a technical debt that makes it almost impossible for you to truly innovate.  You know you’ve got a problem with the health of your application portfolio.

This is why many organizations are working on application transformation and rationalization. 

But, don’t think that application rationalization and transformation as a onetime investment.  It’s not.  Before you finish your first transformation project, there will be new strategic demand from all corners of the business.  You need to have a consistent, transparent and reliable way to evaluate the new demand against your current application portfolio.  This is the intersection of enterprise architecture and portfolio management

Without a mechanism to have visibility and track all these proposals and associated projects, you run the risk that over time your application portfolio will slowly start adding a few pounds here and there. Before long, you’ll be back to where you started. 

What does long term application portfolio success depend on?

  1. Leverage enterprise architecture (EA) discipline to help evaluate the tradeoffs and make consistent and economic platform/technology choices.
  2. Track, manage and monitor investment proposals and projects through project and portfolio management (PPM) discipline to help ensure that the proposals and projects are consistent with the overall platform and technology direction.
  3. Assess your current application portfolio against your standards, prioritize the opportunities, and transform those that are the most critical.
  4. Repeat

I don’t want to trivialize any of these steps. Every one is hard work.

The point is that you shouldn’t consider Application Transformation a onetime effort, but rather consider it an ongoing effort to get healthy and STAY healthy.  As your application portfolio becomes healthier, you need to ensure that you have the control mechanisms of enterprise architecture and portfolio management to protect the improvements and investments you’ve already made.

Of course, if you’re interested in HP PPM, you can follow us at the HP PPM Blog  or even follow us @HPPPM on Twitter

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Article source: HP PPM Blog

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