Gartner suggests that between 2016 and 2020, IT organisations will decommission more than three times the number of applications they have decommissioned since 2000....but why is there a need, and how can it be addressed?

Let's start with "Application Portfolio Management" (APM), a very good idea; you know you should be doing it if only the day job didn't keep get in the way. Spinning plates, implementing new services, dealing with the challenges of acquisitions and mergers, or simple keeping on top of your email inbox are all hygiene factors why it is all to often pushed to the bottom of the ever expanding "to-do" list.

But as bimodal IT becomes increasingly common along with greater adoption of cloud-based solutions or leveraging business process outsourcing, the IT complexity will not diminish. Yes, it will change, but if you do not have a tight grip on APM and ultimately drive application decommissioning, the problem will not solve its self.

To be clear, it's is not about the number of applications, it’s about duplication of service, cost versus revenue inefficiencies, functional gaps, etc. By examining the portfolio from multiple perspectives, you can identify where potential opportunities exist and also build the rationale for the business case to take action.

While the economic and practical drivers for application decommissioning may be clear, it is important to arrive at an approach that meets the IT requirements along with those of the business. Examples of why choosing the correct approach to APM and application decommissioning include;

•Digital Transformation - you have started a Digital Transformation journey and have large quantities of data locked up in legacy systems that must be retained for reporting purposes

•Cost Optimisation - you are looking to reduce the cost of managing non-critical data assets

•Application Rationalisation - you who have accumulated a variety of disparate systems over time

•Data Compliance - you are work in a regulated industry that requires preserve of application data beyond its economic life

•Cloud Migration - you who cannot migrate certain data assets to the Cloud because of compatibility and accessibility concerns

•Accessible Archiving - you have to maintain online history within the production systems to support compliance and customer experience.

So we have discussed there is a need, as well as some strong considerations that will impact the approach we take. It's starting to sound like its in the 'too difficult bucket', but it doesn't have to be. Hitachi Consulting's approach to application decommissioning is designed to be simple, we look at all aspects of APM from business process to physical IT and make strategic recommendations on how to address the challenge with tangible outcomes and business benefits. Through the increasing number of Data Protection regulations, such as GDPR, the days of adopting a traditional approach of "Archive - Compress - Store" of legacy data and applications will not be appropriate.

At Hitachi, we can provide a cost-effective tool to unlock data from legacy, archived or end-of-life application data files. The resulting applications can then be hosted in the Cloud, for better management of client-accessible data storage assets, and decoupling from associated legacy costs.

Reducing complexity is one of the top agenda items for forward-thinking Chief Information Officers. Complexity alone is not necessarily bad, but too much IT complexity inhibits long-term growth. My recommendation is to keep IT nimble, consider your APM strategy, and decommission legacy applications in a way that is right for your business.