Optimal Framework for Selecting New Enterprise Applications

Apr 8th 2013 | Posted by WGroup

To meet changing customer demands and evolving business requirements, organizations regularly evaluate and deploy new applications. The accelerating shift in application ownership from IT to the business units coupled with M&A activity has created a new environment where multiple applications may be supporting similar functional requirements. In order to decrease unnecessary costs in software licenses, support staff, MIPS, and server cycles, we suggest following these seven steps when considering new applications.

  1. Analyze your current Application Portfolio. By understanding what is currently in your organization’s portfolio, you may find opportunities to optimize usage of existing applications and software packages.  Utilizing existing applications in new ways may be more cost effective than deploying new applications – especially with respect to database, license, and support costs.    
  2. Develop a business case. Gain support from all stakeholders.  A well thought out business case includes solution solving alternatives with cost-benefit analysis as well as a risk and sensitivity analysis.
  3. Develop decision criteria for application selection.  Coming to agreement early in the project helps to keep emotion out of the selection process.  Project members are more likely to make decisions based on facts like TCO, strategic fit with objectives and alignment to functional requirements. 
  4. Identify key features and necessary functionality.  Consider all stakeholders to determine what features and functionality are most important to the business.  It may be helpful to prioritize requirements and prepare a gap analysis against your current application portfolio.   
  5. Perform a market analysis to determine available options in this solution space.  Research all avenues to understand your options. Make sure you focus on overall value in this market analysis, not just cost alone.
  6. Evaluate options and weigh against the previously developed decision criteria.  Consider how each solution will: support both routine and strategic business requirements, accelerate deployment, maintain compliance with complex and ever-changing regulations, and operate within an enterprise-wide IT architecture that is sustainable. Evaluate which solution will provide the most value in the short and long term.
  7. Implement the chosen solution and define long term governance. Having a well-defined project structure can make or break a successful implementation. Establishing a well thought-out governance process will help to ensure the business achieves the optimal value of the selected solution for many years to come.   

Read more about a recent application assessment WGroup conducted at a leading Fortune 50 retailer - Click Here 

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