As the variety of software applications continue to proliferate, businesses find themselves becoming increasingly over-saturated with excessive applications. According to a recent survey report conducted by HP and Capgemini, a global IT consultancy, nearly 60% of participants claimed “they support ‘more’ or ‘far more’ applications than necessary to run the business.”
Retiring applications is often not in an IT department or CIO’s field of vision The HP and Capgemini report highlights several reasons why companies remain “cluttered with obsolete IT systems and applications:”
- Cost and lack of immediate ROI: IT funding and budgets are normally based upon new projects or maintaining existing ones, not for decommissioning legacy systems. Often it’s not a priority and corporate executives choose to focus efforts in other areas.
- Companies often end up with different systems that duplicate functions as a result of merger and acquisition activity.
- There is a lack of qualified developers and engineers to decommission some systems. Particularly for custom systems, often the people who were involved with the development are likely no longer around. Bringing in outside IT talent, albeit on a temporary basis, may be necessary.
The report suggests several strategies for maintaining a healthy portfolio of applications:
- Ensure good alignment between the business strategy, application development and maintenance activities.
- Preparing key stakeholders for change is integral to being able to retire applications.
- When an application is no longer supporting a current business process, retire it and archive the data. The survey found that most companies have formal data retention policies and procedures but only follow them 50 percent of the time.
- Outsourcing application development and/or maintenance can be a successful strategy for maintaining a trim IT portfolio, but only when business alignment and life-cycle guidelines are followed.
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