Susan Cram’s article on the evolution of systems points to the “clean as you go” approach as the only workable way to reduce the application clutter built up over time. I agree with her observations as surrounding the legacy systems doesn’t do anything to reduce the cost burden. Also, the greenfield approach almost always creates a program too large and complex to complete.
The next question is how to approach the cleanup – or application rationalization as we call it. Should you let each new application project drive the order of the cleanup or should it be more top-down or systematic? Here’s how we identified candidates for clean-up for one of our clients in the consumer products business:
- Reviewed the business cases for the recent systems projects to identify the applications that were supposed to be replaced. Checked their status. (It’s my bet that you still have some of these around)
- Collected usage data for all of the major systems on shared infrastructure. Saw how many people are logging into them and how often.
- Looked at the help desk tickets and the requested bug fixes and enhancements for the top 50 applications. These are indicators as to what is not meeting users’ needs.
Hopefully, this will get you on your way to developing some priorities for your application clean-up.
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