The Client Challenge
A diversified worldwide media and entertainment company attempted to conduct an application rationalization of its enterprise software portfolio. The goal was to gather information from each business segment and recommend actions that would strengthen the enterprise portfolio as a whole. Executive leadership was not satisfied with the output of a previous application rationalization effort led by another consulting firm. Most of the segment CIOs simply did not believe the picture painted by the consulting firm accurately reflected the current state of their portfolios.
North Highland assembled a team of experienced consultants to assess the situation, work with the business segments, and recommend a course of action. The team identified specific ways to improve the previous study, including:
• Adding financial data for each application both within and across software portfolios.
• Simplifying and automating the algorithm driving the application rationalization, while ensuring the model was flexible enough to generate relevant recommendations for very diverse business segments.
• Building a simple tool to generate the analysis. Previously, the client was attempting to manage data through an off-the-shelf tool which intended to make data management easier, but was actually getting in the way of the analysis.
North Highland devised a strategy to address these obstacles and ultimately deliver a set of recommendations. The new approach included:
• Reducing the number of required fields by 50% in order to simplify the data collection process. This change increased engagement from the application owners; with so much to do in their regular day jobs, they were finding little time to devote to this “special project.”
• Emphasizing a customer service-oriented approach to data collection. The team made it a priority to educate stakeholders on the project processes and goals through weekly check-in meetings, one-on-one working sessions, and ad hoc requests for assistance.
• Using MS Excel and Tableau as low-cost alternatives for data analysis and visualization in lieu of the legacy decision analysis platform. North Highland also designed a long-term solution for application portfolio management on an enterprise-wide platform.
“Not only is it great [that the CIO] gets it, it’s even better that our readout aligned with the existing plan and overall strategy.”
– Director, Business Applications Technology Architecture
North Highland successfully delivered the project on-time and on-budget. The resulting deliverables included an accurate, data-driven application rationalization summary “readout” that was well-received by executive leadership and project stakeholders.
North Highland proved to be a valuable trusted advisor to a highly complex client by developing a realistic methodology for application data collection, analysis, and visualization. By providing a unique blend of strategy consulting and program management, North Highland enabled the client to understand their current portfolio of applications and set them up to broaden the effort across the enterprise.
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