Cloud Computing Makes Application Rationalization Imperative

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How Redundant Applications Drive up the Cost of IT

IT costs are ballooning due to redundant application portfolios.

Fundamentally, most IT organizations are between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, business executives love to complain about the cost of IT, but in the very next breath, they want to launch yet another application for IT to manage. In fact, you could argue that all the interest in public cloud computing is being driven by business executives who don't want to acknowledge that just maybe they have too many applications. In their minds, cloud computing is all about being able to quickly deploy new applications with little regard to how they might be managed over the long term.

Of course, the IT community has been complicit in creating this problem. IT executives judged themselves by how large their IT infrastructure was, rather than how efficient it ran. But a new survey from the IT services firm Capgemini and Hewlett-Packard finds that IT organizations are starting to realize that the root cause of many of their problems are bloated application portfolios. Business leaders, naturally, think every application is mission-critical, which results in lots of applications duplicating business processes that generate massive amounts of redundant data, all of which require IT infrastructure to process and run.

The one good thing about the recent downturn, says Murat Aksu, global head of the HP Software Alliance at Capgemini, is that as companies streamlined their management teams, the sponsors of many of the applications that IT has been asked to support are no longer with the company. That now creates an opportunity for IT to have a conversation with business executives about rationalizing many of those applications, which is imperative now that the size of the IT staff is also smaller than it once was.

The biggest problem, the survey finds, is that rationalizing applications requires funding. While there are huge savings to be had, upgrades and replacement applications that eliminate the need for other applications require some initial funding no matter how much they will save later on.

Of course, Aksu notes that savvy IT leaders will leverage demands for cloud computing to their best advantage by using it to draw more attention to the need to rationalize the application portfolio before embracing the cloud. Otherwise, IT organizations are just going to wind up with more applications than ever to manage both inside and outside the data center, which is a recipe for disaster.