How to Improve Application Support and Maintenance

App expert Vijay B. Iyer talks about reducing the cost of application support and maintenance, the problem of prioritization, and why CIOs need to restructure their IT department.

What should CIOs be doing better in terms of application development and support?

CIOs have to adopt an alternative operating model that looks at proactive obsolescence. This model works at eliminating incidents rather than just resolving incidents, and it creates incremental business value every day rather than a focus on only further reducing IT costs. This model can also monitor business process KPIs, and align IT SLAs to business process SLAs. To change the core model, it is imperative to do all of these things together.

Regardless of whether ASM is performed in-house, outsourced, or a combination of both, one of the biggest hurdles to reducing ASM costs is a reluctance to disrupt the status quo? How can CIOs who are handling ASM in-house better change the prevailing order?

When evaluating ASM, CIOs need to ask three questions: How many incidents has the team eliminated in a month? How many value ideas were generated and implemented in a month? How many business process KPIs are being monitored by the team? All this cannot be done without investing in tools that provide pictorial visibility into the IT applications landscape, including application to business process mapping, application to application interfaces, application to infrastructure dependencies, and application health parameters like functional quality, technical quality and management quality.

What about CIOs who partly or wholly outsource ASM. What status quo-disrupting moves do they need to make? What end point should they be trying to reach?

The end point needs to have three things, the first of which is the smooth operation of the IT applications environment, which means that the core IT SLAs should be green. Second, organizations need to institutionalize the creation of grass-roots improvement ideas by everyone every day. Third, every element of an IT application needs to be linked to the business processes to identify business process impacts and enable process cycle-time reduction through IT. All this cannot be done without investing in tools that provide pictorial visibility into the IT applications landscape, as I mentioned earlier.

Any last thoughts or advice for our readers?

A major shift in the technology landscape is happening now with organizations moving from on-premise to hybrid cloud applications, or from in-house data centers to compute on demand, in addition to the organizations' huge demand for mobile-enabled applications and analytical applications. As a result, CIOs must quickly re-structure their organization to ensure that these demands are being met. Therefore, it is important to look at changing the core model for ASM to a new alternative model to get all the benefits of value, velocity, and visibility, and to develop an internal core team who understands the business and business users better than any external service provider can, in order for the CIO to be able to focus on transformational initiatives.

About the Author

Jack Rosenberger is the managing editor of CIO Insight. You can follow him on Twitter via @CIOInsight. To read his previous CIO Insight article, "Protecting Your Brand in Cyberspace," click here.

This article was originally published on 04-24-2014
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