Your IT organization may run lean while hiding opportunities to free up resources, reduce complexity and streamline business processes and data. How? If you are efficiently running more applications than the business needs. With ever-faster application deployment and easy-to-open SaaS spigots, many applications see your business as the Hotel California. They can check in anytime they like but they never seem to leave.
This leads to a lot of waste. Servers provisioned to support these applications sit running; consuming power and requiring maintenance, but generating no business value. License costs pile up for non-existent or reassigned users. Support teams scratch their heads trying to figure out the occasional (and often cryptic) request for help. Demand for more storage continues unabated. And the list goes on.
IT asset management tools, configuration management databases (CMDBs), data center orchestration suites, server log files, IP addresses, network traffic analyzers, etc. can all give you a good idea of what applications are running on the network or in your data centers. What this data can't tell you is how much those applications cost, if there are duplicates, and what, if any, business value is being produced.
This was a problem faced by health insurance giant Kaiser Permanente. IT's run costs were growing about one and half percent per year. By implementing technology business management (TBM), the discipline that uses accounting and cost transparency to link all of the costs associated with a given technology to those that consume it, IT was able to show the business which applications were providing value and which ones weren't. Sometimes just seeing the application cost alongside data about how often it was used and by whom was enough for the business to decide to retire it.
“With TBM and the focus on the application services, our conversations with the business have totally changed," said Adi Israel, Kaiser's TBM consultant. "We can say ‘This is what you're using. This is what it costs us to provide what you're using. These are opportunities to be able to change what it costs.’"
And it's working. For the first time, the business can connect the dots between demand and what it costs IT to meet that demand. These insights are helping to uncover significant savings by consolidating overlapping applications, retiring little used applications, and even something as simple as changing the support hours for certain applications to reduce overhead and improve productivity.
“They can see the server and storage names and locations and know exactly what to shut down to make the cost zero out completely,” Israel said. “What we’re hearing from our business partners is that, for the first time, they can see what their applications really cost, and connect the dots between application development and support to the infrastructure services they consume."
Now, when IT finds a "guest" that has overstayed its welcome they have the bills to prove it.
Find out more about how Kaiser Permanente rationalized applications in this case study.