Retiring Applications in the Factory of the Future

Discover how IBM InfoSphere Optim data lifecycle management effectively automates application retirement

Application sprawl has become a common problem among businesses for a variety of reasons. The explosion of data, for example, has not only contributed to large volumes of stored information, but it has created increasingly data-intensive applications. In addition, there are a number of business reasons that make tracking how much software an organization has and how many resources it uses a challenging process. In the case of a merger, for example, one organization's applications are often managed as the primary software while another organization's programs are kept in a nonproduction environment for reporting purposes. While this kind of management addresses compliance concerns, it can also create inefficiencies in infrastructure management.

Between the number of different applications in the IT environment and the amount of data that has the potential for generating future insight, justifying investment in an application retirement project can be challenging for business decision makers. However, new demands are placing pressure on IT to do more with fewer financial resources than ever before. Eliminating the unnecessary costs associated with application sprawl helps leave additional room in the budget for innovation and other business improvements.

Even when applications are replaced, legacy software is often left to consume resources, which can have a snowball effect. Organizations that find they are running low on infrastructure resources procure hardware, which can result in increased management costs. Meanwhile, the expanded infrastructure leaves room for an increase in redundant applications and data. As a result of these challenges, thinking of application retirement in terms of a comprehensive strategy is critical. This strategy starts with a thorough investigation of existing programs.

Industry analyst research has also pointed out that simply identifying existing software is not enough. Instead, organizations should dig deeper by analyzing the cost of their programs and connect applications to the business value they provide. An effective application retirement strategy requires this level of visibility to ensure that mission-critical data and software are saved, but allotting a sufficient amount of time to the discovery process can also yield other benefits. For example, audits can be much less painful for organizations that have a map of where their data is and how their applications relate to one another.


Selecting the right technology

The application retirement process can be a resource-intensive endeavor when organizations do not have the appropriate tools in place. The good news is that once companies have an effective data governance and application retirement solution, they can streamline operations by adopting the retirement factory model. This approach places value on automation and the use of pre-built templates to eliminate as many manual processes as possible while still allowing for human insight and intervention where appropriate.

IBM® InfoSphere® Optim™ data lifecycle management includes a wide range of functionality that is well suited for a factory-based approach in addition to other benefits. In particular, Optim provides a key advantage with support for a wide range of software. This support helps simplify incorporating Optim into existing IT environments. It also includes custom applications and prepackaged solutions such as Oracle E-Business Suite, Siebel, PeopleSoft, and JD Edwards.

Optim supports automation for a wide range of tasks, including those associated with archival job scheduling, discovery, and ongoing data lifecycle management. The data archiving functionality saves mission-critical information so companies can maintain compliance, and query workload support allows organizations to easily use archived data in the future. In this way, line-of-business users gain the efficiency of the factory retirement model without running the risk of losing information required for compliance or data that would be useful for analytics tools in the future. Because Optim offers a suite of data lifecycle management applications, it is well positioned to be incorporated into a comprehensive strategy for keeping track of and retiring applications.


Launching a data governance initiative

Although stalling application retirement initiatives may be tempting because of the fear or apprehension that these projects will not be cost-effective, controlling application sprawl through the retirement factory model is likely to help save resources in the long run. Inefficient hardware utilization means the business spends more on infrastructure management than it needs to, and the lack of visibility over how data moves through the enterprise IT ecosystem can put organizations at elevated risk of security breaches and compliance fines.

Because not all sprawl issues stem from applications, software management contributes significantly to the total cost of ownership (TCO) of technology. But achieving efficiency gains requires a solid foundation from which to launch a comprehensive data governance initiative. In some cases, this initiative will mean investing in advanced technology, while other organizations may simply need to adopt new practices to use their existing solutions more productively. Regardless of the necessary changes, an effective approach can accurately follow data throughout its entire lifecycle and facilitate application retirement through automation.