This is my second blog in a series on the subject of “Informatica & Applications”. You can read my previous blog here:
It’s strange how IT has become so complex. When we started out so many years ago computing was the answer to everything. It was going to make us more productive and was going to allow us to spend so much more time with our loved ones. Do you remember that time when people said “we’ll have a paperless office, and we’ll be finished by 5pm.”?
Instead our world has become more complicated, not less. We have built more applications than we would ever have dreamed of and, of course being human, we can never say no – particularly when the person from IT comes along and asks if they can decommission an old application!
- Time progresses and we merge with other companies … and then come more applications, often duplicate applications doing the same thing, but delivering different data.
- Time progresses and we build great new innovative products … and then come more applications to sell them.
- Time progresses and we find ourselves slowing down and becoming inefficient.
We discover that our customer data exists many times in many applications and so we hack together applications with a bit of hand coding here, and a bit of hand coding there and feel this will solve our challenges. We dare not touch anything because we’ve lost sight of how it’s all connected and we now have so many proprietary extensions we feel trapped with an application, but you don’t have to be.
How did we get here?
Undoing decades of application development, especially hand coded development, is hard. However, it has to be done if we are ever going to get out of the vicious cycle of application maintenance and start innovating again. It must start with a clear look at what is critical, what is not critical and what is simply unused. Lean data management is an excellent way to review the data management practices around operational applications and determine which applications should be retired, and what the data retention policies should be for all other applications. Data integration combined with meta data repositories is another excellent approach that facilitates industrial-strength integration with lineage built-in. These are just two techniques for looking across a morass of operational applications and starting the process of cutting costs and reducing complexity.
A recent study from Ovum found that 95% of Sr. Application Managers surveyed feel that improving data management across the enterprise would make a significant dent in application maintenance costs. How have you approached simplifying your application environment? Have you retired old applications, or replaced hand-coded integration with industrial strength data integration tools? I would be delighted to hear from you.
It is time to act and spring clean your application environment. If you have not done so, I encourage you to sign-up for our live webcast tomorrow (21st September) that is being hosted by InformationWeek on this very subject. Click here for more details.