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April 1, 2009

Compuware fast-tracks application optimisation

Software speeds investment decisions on business apps

By CBR Staff Writer

Compuware Corp has produced software that steers investment decisions about the enterprise application portfolio and speeds the assessment of which business programmes should be enhanced, which migrated and which retired.

The company said that IT departments recognise that application portfolio management (APM) could help them reduce the cost of maintaining their business suites, but feel challenged in identifying inventory, collecting the right metrics and applying the resulting analysis toward decision making.

APM Accelerators just released for its Changepoint IT portfolio management system is intended to defuse this, and are being marketed as a fast-track to application portfolio management.

Changepoint’s APM Accelerators will enable IT shops to get started quickly, using pre-defined metrics and industry best-practices to understand inventory, collect accurate data and assess portfolio roadmap, the company claimed.

Tukun Chatterjee, Changepoint sales director told us that APM is all about extracting efficiencies and clawing back some of the IT budget that goes into keeping that lights on. It draws on some of the same best practices and techniques that have been developed for use in the project portfolio management office, and applies them to the production estate and applications rather than to projects.

At the top line, an APM system like Chanepoint provides insight into the application inventory. But these systems do more than simply track assets. By analysing the draws on resource made by applications, APM software helps IT shops understand the overhead of each. “It’s useful for optimising licensing costs, for understanding how applications are using network bandwidth and hardware resources, and which are driving most service calls at the helpdesk,” Chatterjee said.

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Compuware has developed a system of metrics that come with the Changepoint’s APM Accelerators that can be compiled into a dashboard which rates an application’s business value against its IT ranking and change scores to determine which applications should be enhanced, which maintained, and which retired.

Metrics focused on strategic alignment, technology compliance, the financial perspective and the vendor perspective assess application health, the Chicago-based vendor said. “Metrics can be user entered, calculated, populated by Changepoint or external systems, or driven by Changepoint’s integrated survey engine.”

The metrics are used to develop scoreboards and what Compuware refers to as TIME views (based on Gartner’s TIME application triage framework of Tolerate, Invest, Migrate and Eliminate) and says they are perfect for application assessment and roadmap building. 

“The system identifies which applications in the estate fall into which category” Chatterjee explained, so software development resources can be optimised and investments can be prioritised on specific applications, much in the same way as project resources would be optimised by the PPM office.

Sizeable returns can be realised by cycling through such as process, especially the first time. Compuware maintains it should not be considered a one-time event, and recommends that the procedure is carried out at least once every six months. 

The company said it sells Changepoint mostly to large enterprises, but Chatterjee told us that the large service providers were now waking up to the potential of APM-led consulting.

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