When Do You Consolidate Apps?

20 05 2010

In the InformationWeek article, “The Sprawl Stops Here!,” Michael Biddick makes important points in the benefits of application consolidation. The article starts out with the statement, “Application consolidation should never go out of style.” The debate between growth and trimming maintenance and support costs seems to be an argument that will continue to polarize IT executives.  Moreover, the article states, “in terms of business justification, the case for consolidating apps is one of the easiest to make but the hardest to implement.”

Why? Most people don’t like change. Many people, may in fact, have a vested interest in an application, whether homegrown, customized or proprietary. The article states, “custom products cost more to maintain than commercial alternatives, if they exist.” To successfully consolidate application across the enterprise, all affected departments need to be on board. This often becomes challenging, especially in time of mergers & acquisitions, when tensions are high and most staff members are thinking about redundant positions or departments.  Also, preferred applications or custom-built applications will be met with much opposition due to the resources and time put into developing the app. The question becomes: “Is there business value in the app?”

Consolidation drivers are clear: reduce cost and complexity. Biddick writes, “The more complex the software and systems involved, the greater the return for consolidation.”

Applications that are interoperable can bring further consolidation. What if you were able to consolidate your file transfer along with your job scheduling processes? The result would be increased visibility enterprise-wide, better communications between departments, less complexity, and ultimately affecting the bottom line.

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