With minimal visibility into the applications, the technology organisation is not able to make precise, fact-based decisions for maintaining a properly aligned portfolio. For example, it can't identify what applications need to be kept, which ones are redundant and which ones can be retired. Some companies may have an inventory of applications, but they generally do not have a complete view of the portfolio or a mechanism to conduct regular updates.
With this lack of understanding the best a technology manager can do is treat every application equally, servicing and supporting them at the same level regardless of their cost or value. The results are a never-ending cycle of:
- Increased cost - The sheer level of work and costs required to keep the application portfolio up and running causes a drag on the company's financial performance. It also dramatically reduces technology's flexibility and their ability to innovate.
- Increased complexity and risk - The probability of technical issues or problems rises as the number and complexity of applications continues to grow.
- Limited ability to drive business growth - As long as the technology organisation spends 70% of its resources maintaining the status quo, it can't engage in strategic business initiatives or play its proper (and vitally necessary) role in facilitating success.
Visibility is critical to give technology staff a clear view into the application landscape. This line of sight helps staff understand how individual applications fit into the overall structure of the portfolio, as well as gauge the overall health and business value of each application.