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Application Rationalization's Hidden Dimension: People

Posted by Neil Sheppard on July 10, 2023

Application Rationalizations Hidden Dimension People

Application rationalization is key for staying flexible and cost-effective in the modern market. Yet, don't forget the hidden dimension: the talent you need to support your new IT landscape.

Application rationalization is about optimizing the value you're getting from your investment in software applications. It's vital for IT leaders to maintain efficiency and hit their targets for 2023.

Yet, is there an element you're missing? Rationalization will have an impact on your team's efficiency and motivation, not to mention, it might involve some talent restructuring.

To confidently make decisions that could impact your team, you need the right information. The LeanIX EAM is designed to give you the right intelligence to make the right choices.


Let's look more closely at what application rationalization is, how it impacts your team, and most importantly, how you can use our EAM to succeed in adopting a culture of continuous application rationalization.

What Is Application Rationalization?

Application rationalization is the process of optimizing your organization's application portfolio to ensure you're getting the most out of your investment. Firstly, this will mean eliminating apps you don't need, but then you can use those savings to invest more in important tools.

You may find you can save money by canceling your licenses for an older video conferencing application when your team has moved to Zoom, for example. Yet, you may also find investing in premium Zoom licenses could expand your team's collaboration abilities, leading to improved revenue.

To optimize your costs, application rationalization needs to be a constant process of continuous transformation. Only through repeated optimization can your IT landscape maintain its efficiency during economic turmoil.

Why Does Application Rationalization Matter?

Application rationalization is key to maintaining agility in a changing world. As the market pivots, you need to be able to optimize and re-optimize your application portfolio.

Our IT Cost Optimization survey found that 26% of wasted IT budget is spent on poor application portfolio management; more than technical debt at 24%. Still, only 15% of respondents engage in application rationalization on a regular basis.

READ: Application Rationalization Key To 2023 IT Cost Optimization

With the pressure on IT leaders to 'do more with less' as recession looms and budgets tighten, application rationalization is the opportunity that's being missed. Yet, is there another factor to rationalization that even those taking advantage of it aren't considering?

Are You Forgetting About Your People?

Application rationalization is a necessary exercise, but it also has a profound impact on your team. Every time you change the toolset your colleagues use, you're temporarily increasing their workload.

That's why change management is vital. To avoid frustration and a reduction in productivity among your team members, you need to ensure you:

  • communicate the reasons why you're changing the application toolset
  • sell the benefits of new applications
  • share the data on why legacy applications are being retired
  • make allowances in your roadmap to help maintain productivity
  • consult with users on their feelings regarding your rationalization initiative
  • offer comprehensive training on the use of new applications

Yet, this isn't the end of the people issues involved in application rationalization. You also need to consider how you organize your talent.

The Talent Aspect Of Application Rationalization

Application rationalization changes the mapping of your business capabilities. Whereas you may have had two tools to manage two business capabilities, you may now have a tool that deals with both, and a third tool for something you never did before.

For example, perhaps your startup firm began with Slack, and Zoom for communication. As you grow, you might transition to Office 365, which has Teams handle calls and instant messages in one place, and add Yammer as a new internal social media platform.

When you do that, will your current team trained on Slack and Zoom know how to use Teams? More importantly, will your IT team understand how to manage Microsoft products?

Training will resolve the issue above, but that brings us to the question of Yammer. Training will be no substitute for having someone with experience of running Yammer and encouraging its use throughout an organization.

As you restructure your application portfolio, you may also need to restructure your team to work around it. That will mean retraining the employees who were experts in tools you have retired, and likely hiring experts in your new tools to start them off.

How To Create a Talent Model To Support Your Application Portfolio

Once upon a time, application rationalization meant mapping our physical business capabilities and adding the right software where needed. Nowadays, all our business capabilities are digital capabilities.

That means any change to our application portfolio requires a change to our business. So, how do you ensure that the two support each other?

Modern application rationalization follows a three-step process:

1 Business Capabilities

First, begin by mapping out your business capabilities with our free template:

Business Capability Map Example

2 Software Capabilities

As a next step, you can map those capabilities to the software applications that support them. Repeat this process for the target state of your application portfolio.

3 Talent Capabilities

Now, start mapping those capabilities and applications to the people that use, run, and maintain them. This will allow you to build a map of how your team relates to your application portfolio now, and how team structure will need to track to your changed portfolio.

From there, you can start to build a people roadmap to go along with your application rationalization roadmap. Where you can see a role will become redundant, plan how you can retrain that person and fill a new role in the new landscape.

Doing this will take the best advantage of your resources, both software and human. You'll also be ensuring your staff are supported and comfortable with change as no-one will be left behind.

How The LeanIX EAM Can Support You

Recurring application rationalization cycles are vital for IT leaders to meet their targets for 2023. Yet, implementing this is far easier with a software application specifically designed for it.

The LeanIX EAM gives you a real-time overview of your IT landscape and business capabilities to transform productivity and accelerate your business transformation. It also automates data-gathering user information with surveys of your team.

Armed with this data, you'll be fully prepared to build your application rationalization roadmap within our EAM. You can then leverage user data from the EAM to track your roadmap to your staffing needs.

To find out more about what the LeanIX EAM can do for you, see our product page:

LEANIX EAM: Manage the transformation and risk of your IT landscape

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