The Gartner TIME model (Tolerate, Invest, Migrate, Eliminate) is a proven industry standard for planning and executing application rationalization.
It provides a strategic approach to maximize the business value of an application portfolio and evaluate each application fit within an organization.
The TIME model is a method for evaluating and categorizing applications based on their technical and functional fit within an organization.
The technical fit pertains to the quality of the application, its maintainability, and its compatibility with other systems.
The functional fit refers to how well the application aligns and supports business capabilities.
The Gartner TIME model is widely used in various scenarios, primarily revolving around IT portfolio management and strategic planning.
Here are some of the common use cases:
The core of the TIME model lies in its four quadrants, each representing a different strategy for managing applications.
Applications that fall under the Tolerate category have a high technical fit but a low functional fit. These may not be strategically valuable, but they are not a priority for change or removal due to their technical adequacy. They are often maintained in their current state, despite their limited contribution to business goals.
The decision to tolerate an application often comes down to the cost and effort associated with replacing or upgrading it. If these factors outweigh the benefits of change, the application is tolerated until a more opportune time for change arises.
Invest applications are those with high technical and functional fit. These applications are integral to the organization's operations and contribute significantly to achieving business objectives. They are typically high-quality applications that are used daily and support important business operations.
The decision to invest in an application is driven by its potential to deliver increased value to the business. This could be through improved efficiency, enhanced functionality, or the ability to support new business initiatives.
Investment might involve upgrading the application, expanding its use within the organization, or integrating it more closely with other systems.
Migrate applications are those with low technical fit but high functional fit. These applications perform important functions but are technically inadequate. They are typically replaced with more efficient, often cloud-based alternatives.
The decision to migrate an application is usually driven by the need to improve technical performance, reduce costs, or better align with the organization's IT strategy.
Migration can be a complex process, requiring careful planning and execution to ensure minimal disruption to business operations.
Applications that fall under the Eliminate category have low technical and functional fit. These applications, which perform poorly and are no longer aligned with business activities, are targeted for removal from the application portfolio.
The decision to eliminate an application is typically driven by the need to reduce costs, simplify the IT landscape, or mitigate risks associated with outdated software.
Elimination can also be a complex process, requiring careful planning to manage dependencies and ensure a smooth transition for users.
Implementing the Gartner® TIME model involves a systematic approach that begins with a thorough assessment of the application portfolio.
Here are the steps to follow:
The first step is to create an inventory of all the applications in use within the organization. This includes not only the applications that are officially sanctioned but also those that are used informally by different teams.
Assess each application for its technical fit and functional fit. The technical fit relates to the quality of the application, its maintainability, and its compatibility with other systems. The functional fit refers to how well the application aligns with business needs and supports business capabilities and processes.
Based on the assessment in the previous step, categorize each application into one of the four TIME quadrants: Tolerate, Invest, Migrate, or Eliminate. This categorization provides you with a clear roadmap for managing each application.
Application rationalization decision tree. Source: Guide to Application Rationalization
Besides the helpful decision tree above, try answering these questions for each application. Use Tolerate quadrant as the starting point:
For each quadrant, a specific action plan is developed to reach desired target portfolio state:
The action plans are then executed with careful monitoring to ensure the desired outcomes are achieved. This may involve project management, change management, and risk management activities.
The TIME model is not a one-time exercise but a continuous process. The application portfolio should be reviewed regularly, and the TIME categorizations updated as necessary to reflect changes in the applications or in the business needs and objectives.
Even though the Gartner® TIME model is a popular framework for application portfolio management, there are other methodologies that organizations can use as alternatives or complements.
Here are a few:
Each of these models has its strengths and weaknesses, and the choice of model depends on the specific needs and context of the organization.
The application portfolio assessment solution and application rationalization solution by LeanIX support the Gartner TIME model by providing a comprehensive tool for data gathering, analysis, and visualization.
It creates a 360° view of your application landscape, automates the process of acquiring data, and displays insights in an intuitive format.
LeanIX Application Landscape with TIME Model View
This can significantly reduce the time and effort required to implement the TIME model and increase the accuracy and reliability of the results.
📚 Related: Evaluate Data with LeanIX EAM
The Gartner® TIME model provides a strategic framework for application rationalization, enabling organizations to maximize the value of their application portfolio.
By categorizing applications into Tolerate, Invest, Migrate, and Eliminate, organizations can make informed decisions about maintaining, enhancing, replacing, or removing applications.
The LeanIX EAM further facilitates this process, providing a comprehensive tool for data gathering, analysis, and visualization.
Maximize the Value of Your Application Landscape
What are the 4 quadrants of Gartner?
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