Being an Effective VP of Applications

applicationDepending upon where you work, you either own development and the PMO or development, the PMO, and the operation of live applications. Regardless of your portfolio, you surely are finding that the quality of the applications delivered needs to be more actively managed. Increasingly success here involves applying agile design processes and a Dev/Ops mentality. However, it often also involves the quality of application design, data migration, and system retirement. Are these taking place in a systematic manner is become more and a more relevant question to ask.

Here industry standards like PmBok and more specifically COBIT 5 suggest that effective IT organizations actively managing the following items:

  • IT agility
  • IT responsiveness to new requirements
  • Reuse of architecture components
  • Use of architecture standards and baselines
  • Assurance projects meet target quality goals and objectives
  • Assurance programs/projects are delivered on time

Now, I am sure that some reading this post will now be saying but I am not responsible for all of these things. However, I want to suggest that running these activities discretely in an initiative, program, or project basis does not provide the consistency that you or the business need. In today’s world, managing applications and their migration and retirement as a program rather than in case by case project basis can offer significant business and development advantages. To do this successfully, requires that concrete and consistent strategies for application migration, application retirement, and application integration be put in place.

stepWhy business advantage is established when systematic methods and procedures are put in place? Taking this step ensures that cost is taken out from retired applications as data is migrated and new applications are put in place. If we are clear headed about it, today’s enterprises end up spending too much time and money from not implementing an overarching application consolidation and migration program. Surely this will require a new discussion with the business and if you have one, with your chief data officer. But the consequences for taking this step can be significant.

An IT Executive told me several years ago that his firm’s inability to have these type of business conversations meant that they never took anything out of their environment. I asked him how this could be the case. He said that they had just implemented a brand new version of a business critical application and it had been running successfully for 9 months but the business asked them nevertheless to they keep prior application versions running in case there was data that they needed later from one of the previous version. For too long, all of us in IT have allowed applications to continue well beyond their lives. And this turns out to limit the ability to invest in changing the business and to create an architecture that provides greater IT agility and reuse as the life of business strategies has become shorter and shorter. I hope it is clear that you have an important role to play in changing this.

What has been missing is the capability to continually be modernizing, rationalizing, or consolidating applications. Let’s face as a VP of Applications you manage a factory of continuous IT change. Simply put, whether your application portfolio is custom built, legacy mainframe, on premise, or in the cloud, if you’re implementing, updating, migrating, retiring, or consolidating your application portfolio, you need to manage this change. By taking a holistic view, you can put in place the people, processes, and applications needed to drive a consistency of migration and ensure that as new applications and services are released so that the quantity of applications are reduced rather than grown in the process.

Recommended actions

As I said at throughout this piece, it is time that IT organizations manage change more holistically. I believe taking this step is possible with a more consistent set of processes and thinking of change as something that you are in business to continually do.

Further Reading

Solution Page: Application Consolidation and Migration

Lowering Your Risk With Application Data Migration

Related materials

7 reasons why business strategists—and even CEOs—need to know their chief enterprise architect

Enterprise Architects Need to Instill Data-Ready Thinking

Good Corporate Governance Is Built Upon Good Information and Data Governance

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Good Corporate Governance Is Built Upon Good Information and Data Governance

Using COBIT 5 to Deliver Information and Data Governance

Twitter: @MylesSuer