Constantly expanding ICT application environments within companies call for even greater HR and technology expenditure in operations, service, maintenance and user support, says Collin Govender, VP of Systems Integration at T-Systems in South Africa.

In fact, some major corporations utilise/use thousands of applications which require significant administrative and management support effort. In South Africa, for example, business growth which is largely based on globalisation and mergers and acquisitions, have led to disparate and duplication of application environments.

The overwhelming volume of applications that needs to be changed, supported and integrated, in turn means that companies have very little capacity to do what is crucial – modernise their ICT solutions to maintain a competitive and agile technology advantage.

Furthermore, experts believe that one in five of these applications are redundant. This means that organisations are duplicating and managing functionality that is in essence providing the same business functionality as opposed to optimising applications for new and improved processes.

In light of the above, it is imperative for organisations to get their application environments under control.

Fortunately there is a solution – application management and modernisation (AMM). AMM offers a very real solution to the above conundrum as it provides organisations with the means to optimise their application landscape and minimise expenditure and risk whilst enabling the business to focus on core business issues.

In essence, AMM unlocks the value of your application landscape from a business perspective. It takes charge of applications by implementing standardised processes and policies for optimising your business environment from a technology perspective.

This in turn leads to quality of operations and support while simultaneously cutting costs as a result of standardised application management processes.

So how does it work?

The delivery of AMM is based on IT standards, processes and frameworks such as IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), the de facto international standard for service management and aligned with other standards such as CoBIT.

This forms the foundation for the planning, delivery and support of IT services, and features a variety of standardised service modules for optimised service delivery. The current version is ITIL V3 which – according to Gartner – more closely links best practices and business benefits.

Practically, AMM offers a complete suite of services encompassing:
* Analysis;
* Planning;
* Transition;
* On-going operations; and
* Modernisation.

Within the scope of application management, the outsourced ICT service provider assumes responsibility for an organisation’s business applications for an agreed period.

This covers even extremely complex applications – from ERP systems to standard-based systems to customer-specific applications. AMM includes support, maintenance and optimisation of these applications across their entire lifecycle.

It should be noted that there is no quick-fix for organisations’ application environments; typically an AMM project can take between two to five years to realise all the benefits.

However, within a year, most organisations will see an improved and stabilised application landscape that will start delivering real business value from a financial as well as service stability perspective.

You stand to gain …
Apart from dealing with the sheer number of applications which in some cases offer no real value, organisations also benefit from a myriad of other advantages that includes cost savings.
In fact, analysts estimate that application management allows companies to reduce their application management costs by up to 30%.

The quick snapshot of AMM benefits include:
* Savings through industrialisation;
* Improved quality of service (QoS);
* Greater flexibility and improved availability;
* Greater transparency and predictability; and
* More efficient use of available resources.

From a business growth perspective, organisations stand to gain higher productivity thanks to better quality of service for user support and identification, minimisation and resolution of incidents.

Importantly, with AMM, companies can rest assured that their services are defined within a governance structure which mitigates and minimises potential risk and is aligned with industry regulations and best practices.

Ultimately, when you look at AMM, it offers a very real solution to application management headaches. It streamlines management and ensures that all systems are updated and aligned (with current requirements); realising an application landscape that supports both today and future business requirements.