Summary:

Most of Ardoq’s users (over 75%) start with mapping out their application portfolio as the first step of building out their enterprise architecture.

The application portfolio becomes a great tool in change initiatives. Whether cutting costs, implementing new capabilities for the business or moving to cloud are on your roadmap, applications are likely a necessary part of the puzzle that you will need to have control and understanding of.

To help you get started we have combined our years of experience and customer feedback into a simple best practice module configured with speed and value in mind.

You can find a complete 9 step guide to implementing APM in your business here.

Questions to be answered:

  1. What are my applications and what do they cost?
  2. Which organizational needs do the applications fulfill, and who should I contact if I have any questions?
  3. In what applications should I increase the level of investment and what applications should I try to phase out?
  4. What capabilities are candidates for optimization, and what is the cost savings associated with that?
  5. How do I manage the impact, risk and stakeholders of doing the application rationalization?

Data required:

The information below is included in the Application Portfolio Management module, available in app from the best practice menu.

For this example, we will use our standard naming convention so that filtering and examples are consistent. You are able to use your own but for all the pre-configured assets, you will need to simply replace the guide with your own custom field configuration.

Component Types:

  1. Applications Workspace (Flexible): Application 
  2. Business Capabilities Workspace (Flexible): Business Capability
  3. Technical Capabilities Workspace (Flexible): Technical Capability
  4. People Workspace (Flexible): Person
  5. Departments Workspace (Flexible): Department
  6. External Organizations (Flexible): External Organization

Reference Types:

  1. Applications Workspace: Integrated with
  2. Business Capabilities Workspace: Realized by
  3. Technical Capability Workspace: Realized by
  4. People Workspace: Is expert in, Owns
  5. Departments Workspace: Owns
  6. External Organizations Workspace: Supplies, Provides

Component Fields:


Applications Workspace

  1. Service Level (List)
  2. Functional Fit (List) 
  3. Availability and Quality (List)
  4. Business Strategic Fit (List)
  5. Business Fit (Calculated Number)
  6. Technology Integrity (List)
  7. Maintainability and Agility (List)
  8. Technical Strategic Fit (List)
  9. Technical Fit (Calculated Number)
  10. Total Direct Cost (Number)
  11. Hosting Type (List)
  12. Review Date (Date)
  13. Lifecycle Phase (List)
  14. Live (Date Range)
  15. Strategic Rating (Calculated List)
  16. Integration Complexity (Calculated Number)

Business Capabilities Workspace

  1. Capability ID (Text)
  2. Component Level (Number)
  3. Component Order (List)
  4. Live (Date Range) 
  5. Lifecycle Phase (List)
  6. Complexity (Calculated Number)
  7. Market Differentiation (Number)
  8. Maturity (Number)
  9. Total Allocated Cost (Calculated Field)
  10. Total Direct Cost (Number)

Technical Capabilities Workspace

  1. Capability ID (Text)
  2. Component Level (Number)
  3. Component Order (List)
  4. Live (Date Range) 
  5. Lifecycle Phase (List)
  6. Total Direct Cost (Number)

People Workspace

  1. Contact Email

Departments Workspace

  1. Live (Date Range Field)
  2. LifeCycle Phase (List)
  3. Total Direct Cost (Number)

External Organizations Workspace

  1. Live (Date Range)
  2. Lifecycle Phase (List)
  3. Total Direct Cost (Number)

For a complete introduction to the definitions of the components, references and fields in this use case, please see this article on the APM meta model.

Answering your key questions:

What are my applications and what do they cost?

The first question obviously requires some data entry before we can even get started. As part of the out of the box module, we have included standardized excel templates, surveys and integrations to help you get your data into Ardoq.

The goal here may be to get an overview of your portfolio, but remember that you do not need 100% of your portfolio to start getting value.

Value can be quickly realized if the important parts of your portfolio are captured and overview grows organically as needs arise. A typical case would be when there is a project around moving to the cloud or switching a key system out.

So, where can you start to get data in? You have a few options:

  1. Manually collaborate in ardoq
  2. Import using our excel importer and pre-configured template
  3. Connect Ardoq with your Configuration Management Database (CMDB)

Sometimes we need to first be in alignment on what an application is before even starting. This is often true for teams which have tried and stumbled with APM before. Here is an article outlining a framework for defining an Application, hope it helps.

Collaborate in Ardoq

The first and most obvious step to answering this question is to simply map your Applications in Ardoq and use our visualizations to dynamically produce your portfolio. To build out your Application Portfolio you have a few options.

We recommend you use the out of the box Application workspace as your starting point.

The flexibility enables you to model applications which might have modules, separate instances, or services which you would like to identify as unique. An example could be:

 

We recommend using the grid editor as it is the most efficient in getting data in via the app UI.

If you are looking to collaborate with the wider organization, we have a pre-configured survey which you can find under the Survey menu.

Getting in Cost Data

Getting cost data may be a critical data point to empower better business decisions.

Getting that data can be challenging, and if you are unable to get quality or accurate data for your applications, even adding ballpark estimates on cost can start to paint a better picture for discussions.

This is also a great way to bring the business to the table and get higher engagement if they see that you will be able to help with their budget and cost saving initiatives.

Import via Excel

If you already have your Application Portfolio mapped in an excel sheet, you can use our excel importer to quickly get your data into Ardoq. We have also provided a pre-configured excel template with import mapping to easy the process even further.

You can find the APM Excel Template here.

Connect Ardoq to your CMDB

Ardoq comes out of the box with a two way ServiceNow integration and if you have a different CMDB or similar tool that would have good data on your applications, you can use our API to import or sync your Application Portfolio.

You can read more about using our API in this blog article.

Visualizing your Portfolio and Costs

Once you start to get data into Ardoq, you can watch your application map dynamically update in any of our out of the box visualizations. Two views which are especially useful in looking at cost is the Table View and the Pages View.

While the Table View is very similar at first glance to an excel sheet, the view also includes references from people, integrations, and capabilities. Having this dynamically updated enriches your overview dramatically.


The Pages View brings a similar overview but also includes better support for descriptions.

Once you find the view or views best suited to getting an overview of your applications, you will likely want to add a perspective to manage what you see and how it is formatted. Simple filters to only include your applications for example, can help you start telling the story of what you have and how it is connected, performing, costing etc.

Quick filter applied to only show the Applications Workspace. 

*Remember that you can also use conditional formatting to heatmap your cost data across all views. This is especially useful in the Component Matrix and the Dependency Views.

Which organizational needs do the applications fulfill, and who should I contact if I have any questions?

Once you have answered the first question, the next logical questions to answer are more geared at evaluating your Applications. Two common attributes used to evaluate Applications are their relationships to Technical Capabilities and People.

In Ardoq we have included these as references across workspaces. Using the UI, grid editor, or surveys, populate and maintain these references with the help of the domain experts across your organization.  Refer to the meta model above for directional information between components.

In order to get the best overview of this questions we recommend using the Component Matrix with the view modifiers set as:

  • Row Grouping = Incoming Reference: Is Realized By (Technical Capabilities)
  • Column Grouping = Incoming Reference: Is Expert In


In what applications should I increase the level of investment and what applications should I try to phase out?

Understanding investment and cost savings opportunities is obviously multi-dimensional and not to be taken lightly.

In order to not only identify the opportunities for change, but also to build the buy in to implement these changes, you should work as closely to the business and technical stakeholders as possible.

This is why we have based the primary data collection for the evaluation of applications to be done with collaborative surveys designed uniquely to each stakeholder group. You can find these surveys in the Survey Overview found on the left bar. They are named accordingly:

  • Application Portfolio Management Business Fit Survey
  • Application Portfolio Management Technical Fit Survey

Distributing these surveys will allow you to collect the data necessary to score your applications and place them into the Bubble Chart utilizing the calculated fields Business and Technical Fit as the X and Y axis. Size of the bubbles can be set to a cost field.

Bubble Chart using Fit Fields, Cost and Conditional Formatting to create heatmap. Overlaid on the TIME Matrix background.

Screenshot of the formatting rules to create heatmap on strategic fit.

The TIME matrix (from Gartner for APM) is a great way to place your applications into an overview to quickly identify which applications are candidates for investment or cost savings.

Once you have been able to place your applications into the TIME matrix, you will need to better understand the ecosystem these applications operate within for you to properly prioritize. One aspect you have to consider is time.

This is where the Lifecycle Phase and Live date range fields come into play. Using these fields to create a lightweight lifecycle management overview allows you to identify the applications which are better suited to be phased out or invested in.

For looking at cost saving opportunities, filtering the application portfolio by their strategic fit fields = eliminate, and looking at the timeline view will give you a lifecycle overview of applications to consider.

The  same can be done for those applications with other strategic fit ratings.

In order to gain the contextual understanding of the applications you are considering for investment or removal, you can drill down to the application in question and look at more relationship oriented views like the Block Diagram, Component Matrix, or Dependency Map. That will give you a greater understanding into the ecosystem impact and therefore prioritization criteria.

Only looking at “Eliminate” applications grouped by their capabilities and experts.


What capabilities are candidates for optimization, and what is the cost savings associated with that?

Dependency Map showing Capabilities with Applications that may qualify for rationalization. Heatmapped by Strategic Rating.

To identify applications which may be candidates for optimization or cost savings, you need to have a capability perspective on your applications. Using the Dependency Map and showing only applications realizing your technical or business capabilities will give you a capability map that groups up all your applications.

This can be further enriched by adding conditional formatting by strategic rating or other fields you deem relevant.

Identifying applications that realize only one capability, marked as “Eliminate” and having alternative applications in your portfolio which potentially cover that same capability, is a quick way to create a hit list of the low hanging fruit.

If you are working from a capability perspective, for example when you know you need to improve your ability to deliver on the capability, you may want to zoom in on that perspective as a starting point. Adding a filter to only look at applications related to that capability and then viewing them on a Bubble Chart enables you to identify how you can potentially optimize.

In this example we have set the X axis to Integration Complexity (Calculated Field) and Total Direct Cost as the Y Axis. Applications with few integrations and low performance are opportunities to easily replace or remove.

How do I manage the impact, risk and stakeholders of doing the application rationalization?

Block diagram from a Capability context with applications grouped by Strategic Rating.

Naturally, we need to do additional analysis before shutting off applications. In this overview we focus on what applications they are connected to and who to involve.

Looking at the integrations, capability realization and people which will be impacted helps us paint a better picture of impact.

In the case above we see that the applications do not have other capabilities that they realize, some are candidates for elimination while other are opportunities for further investment and only two people are impacted directly.

This overview allows us to build a better roadmap to rationalization as we may already have applications in our portfolio to replace those we wish to eliminate and we only have one owner and one expert to collaborate with.

We can use this as the baseline for creating a to-be roadmap and create a path for moving/removing integrations, data and expert training.

Another perspective on this same question can be taken from the context of a single Application that we wish to change.

By selecting that Application and narrowing our view (1 degree of incoming and outgoing relationships) we can get a quick overview of the most immediately impacted components in our architecture which we should consider.

Increasing the degrees or following specific value streams will enable us to traverse our architecture to get a complete overview.


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