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Application Management

An application is defined here as the software program(s) that perform those specific functions that directly support the execution of business processes and/or procedures.

Applications, along with data and infrastructure components such as hardware, the operating system and middleware, make up the technology components that are part of an IT service. The application itself is only one component, albeit an important one of the service. Therefore it is important that the application delivered matches the agreed requirements of the business. However, too many organizations spend too much time focusing on the functional requirements of the new service and application, and insufficient time is spent designing the management and operational requirements (non-functional requirements) of the service. This means that when the service becomes operational, it meets all of the functionality required, but totally fails to meet the expectation of the business and the customers in terms of its quality and performance, and therefore becomes unusable.

Two alternative approaches are necessary to fully implement Application Management. One approach employs an extended Service Development Lifecycle (SDLC) to support the development of an IT service. SDLC is a systematic approach to problem solving and is composed of the following steps:

  • Feasibility study
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Testing
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation
  • Maintenance.

The other approach takes a global view of all services to ensure the ongoing maintainability and manageability of the applications:

  • All applications are described in a consistent manner, via an Application Portfolio that is managed and maintained to enable alignment with dynamic business needs.
  • Consistency of approach to development is enforced through a limited number of application frameworks and design patterns and through a ‘re-use’ first philosophy.
  • Common software components, usually to meet management and operational requirements, are created or acquired at an ‘organizational’ level and used by individual systems as they are designed and built.

The Application Portfolio

This is simply a full record of all applications within the organization and is dynamic in its content.

Application name IT operations owner New development cost
Application identifier IT development owner Annual operational costs
Application description Support contacts Annual support cost
Business process supported Database technologies Annual maintenance costs
IT services supported Dependent applications Outsourced components
Executive sponsor IT systems supported Outsource partners
Geographies supported User interfaces Production metrics
Business criticality IT Architecture, including Network topology OLA link
SLA link Application technologies used Support metrics
Business owner Number of users  

Table 5.5 Application Portfolio attributes example

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