Application inventory helps businesses track and monitor applications within their organization, creating opportunities to increase value and optimize costs.
As businesses grow, transform, and adapt to changes and challenges, so do their application inventories. With the rapidly accelerating pace of technology, many enterprises will amass hundreds of applications in their portfolios over time.
Changes that affect app inventories are business growth, mergers & acquisitions, business and IT transformation, and implementing new processes.
These applications may create a complex and burdensome enterprise architecture without sufficient IT application portfolio management. Monitoring applications is key to maintaining the quality of a business's IT infrastructure and IT cost optimization programs.
An application inventory is the complete list of applications or software assets owned by the company or institution. This includes all SaaS and On-Prem software.
All businesses, regardless of size, use applications. As businesses expand and adapt to new technologies, many inventories can drastically grow and become complex.
Application inventory can be developed into application landscape and visual diagrams. Usually created within APM tools, it helps architects see how applications integrate with each other, which business capabilities they belong to, etc.
By using application portfolio management (APM) or SaaS management tools, businesses can keep a lean and effective portfolio.
There are several terms for an application inventory. These include app inventory, application portfolio, software inventory, IT inventory, etc. The three most used terms are application inventory, application landscape, and application portfolio.
It’s hugely beneficial for any growing or established organization to build and monitor an application inventory. App inventory benefits are:
There are two ways to build an application inventory. The one you will use depends on the size of your organization.
Let's see how smaller companies can keep track of their software.
Tracking applications using spreadsheets is only recommended for businesses with a small number of employees, departments, and applications. This is because compiling an application inventory using spreadsheets involves a lot of manual work.
Populating a spreadsheet template will involve many requests, working with stakeholders and department heads, and compiling information from a variety of sources.
The more complex the organizational structure, the more time-consuming this process will be. With a higher error chance, business decisions can be based on wrong data.
A few general steps to track application inventory using spreadsheets are:
If all of this seems too much to handle, let's see how to build an application portfolio automatically.
Application Portfolio Management (AMP) tools solve a lot of the problems spreadsheets create. These specialized tools track and monitor all applications within an organization’s portfolio.
Beyond AMP, SaaS management and software asset management tools can be used to track and manage specific software.
Automated application inventory means less manual work and can easily create a complete inventory. This will be the foundation for creating an application landscape that connects applications to business capabilities and business processes.
APM supports the informational needs of diverse stakeholders (CIOs, CTOs, IT managers, enterprise architects, cloud architects, and more).
LeanIX offers two application inventory software solutions to build an application inventory – LeanIX Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) and LeanIX SaaS Management Platform (SMP).
Using either application portfolio management or SaaS management, these disciplines allow you to automatically gather and monitor applications within an organization.
When compiling an application inventory, there are several vital pieces of information to include. Besides the name and general description of what each app does, the value of application inventory can be realized when you have the following information:
Once and if all of these attributes have been added, IT and business leaders can make smart business decisions, supported by future technology.📚 Related: What are mission-critical applications?
Tracking application information is the first step towards a leaner IT landscape. Our EAM tool provides users with an application portfolio management module.
By using the application portfolio management tool, architects can:
At the same time, LeanIX offers a SaaS Management platform that is used to:
Tracking an application inventory is the first step toward creating a cost-effective and lean IT landscape.
Application portfolio management tools are designed to optimize software inventories and run application rationalization initiatives. This can only be accomplished by creating a complete and transparent application inventory.
With inventory in hand, you're now able to perform an application portfolio assessment based on your goal.
Scope and inventory the application portfolio, assessing each by functional fit, technical fit, and lifecycle
Identify opportunities for investment or the decommissioning of redundancies, and deciding on a desired future state technology architecture
Plan and implement the roadmap for success, including key financial metrics and governance.
How do you inventory software and applications?
There are two ways to create an inventory of an organization’s applications and software. You can either use spreadsheets or manually enter all application data. You can use software, such as an application portfolio management tool, to automate the process.
What does app inventory mean?
An app inventory is a complete list of all the assets and software used within an organization.
Why have an application inventory?
Organizations should keep track of their applications to allow easy replacements, cloud migrations, and to reduce unnecessary costs on low business-value applications. It lays the groundwork for a more agile IT landscape and allows better IT cost optimization and application rationalization initiatives.
What should be in a software inventory?
A software inventory should include all the software used by an organization, as well as, any application attributes, IT or stakeholders require.
How do you maintain software inventory?
You can maintain a software inventory by manually updating your spreadsheets or by using automated application portfolio management or SaaS management tools.
Why is software inventory important?
Software inventory is important because, over time, inventories become complex, out-of-date, provide low business value, which will affect business's future. It is the first step towards building an actionable application landscape that attempts to solve these problems.
What is software and hardware inventory?
Software inventory keeps track of all the software a company uses, including SaaS tools. Hardware inventory will keep track of what hardware is being used by a business; this includes monitors, printers, servers, etc.