IT Departments Failing To Address Applications Black Hole

IT managers are facing an increasing level of complexity when it comes to managing their applications estate. Independent research by Fujitsu has revealed that many IT departments are failing to get to grips with this issue, running either inadequate or ad hoc audits of applications and furthermore not acting on their findings in an appropriate and timely way.

Key findings:

Organisations find it hard to measure and manage their applications estate:

  • 42% said it would be difficult or very difficult to make a decision over decommissioning their applications; only 4% said it would be very easy
  • Only 47% of organisations audit their applications estate, this figure drops to just 41% when applied to large businesses

Mergers and acquisitions are adding to complexity:

  • More than half (57%) of all organisations surveyed had undergone some form of merger over the past two years
  • Over half (56%) found it hard to get hold of information to evaluate the combined applications estate
  • Interestingly, 78% of respondents said they knew about the state of most or all applications and systems used across the organisation, but post-merger only 12% said they had an accurate understanding of which applications were used within each organisation

Removing or decommissioning applications is not easy, even when the evidence for doing so is clear:

  • Only 1 in 3 of respondents find this easy to do
  • Organisations are reticent to act on the results of an audit – just 15% said they would immediately remove applications which are identified as redundant
  • 20-25% rarely or never remove redundant application even after identifying that it is no longer in use

John Hanley, managing director, Applications Division Fujitsu UK & Ireland, said: “The majority of organisations do conduct some form of applications audit at least once a year and where M&A has occurred there is certainly an understanding that there will be applications duplication. But what is worrying is that most organisations are unable to accurately decide which applications to retire and which to keep. Even when information is clear, it is often not actioned.”

Hanley concluded: “There is no doubt that applications rationalisation is an area which can deliver cost savings and help organisations to reduce their IT spend – essential in the current economy. Simply not knowing the state of your applications portfolio is clearly not a viable option. The need for clear auditing and real understanding of the applications estate is essential.”

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Christian Harris is editor and publisher of BCW. Christian has over 20 years' publishing experience and in that time has contributed to most major IT magazines and Web sites in the UK. He launched BCW in 2009 as he felt there was a need for honest and personal commentary on a wide range of business computing issues. Christian has a BA (Hons) in Publishing from the London College of Communication.