Enabling the business to more effectively respond to industry disruption has undoubtedly been the biggest driver of application transformation over the past several years. But as we recently noted, cost reduction is growing in importance as a motivation for transformation, particularly for organizations with large, global application portfolios. In some cases the goals is pure cost take-out, in others the savings are being used to drive portfolio modernization initiatives.
When taking a look at cost reduction opportunities it’s important to consider two different factors – magnitude and timing. Given the ways portfolios have (or haven’t) been governed and managed in most enterprises, cost reduction opportunities are often abundant.
Which leads us to the ugly truth about many of the typical areas of cost reduction in the application portfolio.
Application rationalization, re-platforming and modernization each can offer compelling ROIs and cost savings opportunities. But it frequently takes at least 12-18 months for the benefits to start to materially impact IT budgets at the bottom line.
Take application rationalization as an example. While most enterprises have several redundant applications providing the same functionality, picking a ‘winner’ requires detailed functional mapping and analysis that can take months. Internal politics can extend this even further, and then the actual consolidation and decommissioning effort adds even more time. For IT departments trying to reduce costs for 2016 or even 2017 this just isn’t fast enough.
We’re finding that application archival is actually the most powerful short-term cost reduction opportunity for CIOs looking to rapidly take cost out of the portfolio. Why?
Many applications are kept alive in enterprise environments for only one reason – the business needs to access data in these legacy systems. Functionality may have already been replaced in newer 2rd or 3rd platform versions of the application, but users still need read-only access to historical data. In many regulated industries like health care, financial services and energy archival of this data is a requirement.
That’s where application archival offers an interesting solution. By archiving and providing read-only access to the data associated with target applications, organizations can still decommission servers and infrastructure associated with the application while also reducing operational spend and avoiding ongoing license and maintenance fees. The challenge? Enable users to continue to view the legacy data in a way that reflects the business context and logic while ensuring data compliance remains in tact.
For a client in the healthcare industry EMC Global Services recently was able to identify over $30 million in cost savings opportunities through archival and retirement of only 100 applications. Our client was able to start capturing benefits from the program in less than 6 months, and achieved payback on the full program in less than a year.
EMC Global Services offers you the ability to quickly archive and view both structured and unstructured data through use of our InfoArchive solution. Our approach enables users to continue to have read-only access to legacy data using a browser-based viewer that reflects the business logic and structures of the data. Users get continued access to data, while IT gets to shut down the application.
Application archival and retirement offers CIOs, like you, a powerful lever to drive quick win cost reductions, which often helps fund broader innovation and transformation initiatives. Contact us to learn more about how EMC’s Application Archiving and Retirement services on the InfoArchive platform can help you achieve your cost reduction goals for 2016 and beyond.