Why applications should never be an afterthought in business evolution

Applications are at the centre of all business operations

They are key to end-user experience and customer satisfaction. Yet, when it comes to digital acceleration plans or any kind of business transformation, they are often one of the last areas considered.

Neglecting applications in this way negatively impacts many business change – so why does it continue to happen? At the heart of the issue is the fact that many senior decision-makers see applications as deeply-technical and complex and, as such, more of an IT challenge within a project rather than part of the core business approach. They therefore look at them as something that can be left to be addressed at a later stage of the process.

Why is this a problem? Core to the reason is that applications are at the heart of every business and, as such, should be the jewel in the crown, not only from an IT point of view but also from a business operations perspective. It does not matter if the business infrastructure is hybrid, cloud, on premise, or locally-delivered, applications are, or at least should be king and the way that their lifecycle is managed will be crucial to the end result the business achieves.

In reality, they are often neglected and this brings significant risks.

Part of the challenge organisation’s face, is that many already have a bloated application estate with little governance or control around who can install, use, or even own each application. Often, they will be running the same applications in multiple versions further pushing up support and maintenance costs. On top of this, there are also likely to be multiple different ways those applications are delivered to users. That in turn leads to additional risks around security, compliance, and governance.

This last point is key to understand how we can change the perception of applications because it is not the IT or the technology department that should own the application. The business needs to own it because it helps to fulfil functionality and give features and benefits to users that help them service customers. Added to that, if the business rather than IT has control over the entire application estate, that estate will be much more strongly governed. By extension, the business will not only be able to deliver a better user experience but also reduce support costs by ensuring that it removes duplication.

Moreover, if programmes to drive the digitalisation of businesses are to be successful, then applications need to be brought to the forefront of the process. Take the ‘Windows 10 End of Life’ process, which comes into effect in October 2025, there is a 3-year timeframe to understand application estates, compatibility position, hardware compliance, application ownership within a business, application rationalisation possibilities, evergreen orchestration and management – and the list goes on.

All this could be a significant overhead for any business if the approach has not been properly planned or thought-through.

Yet many businesses do still neglect it. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. To avoid repeatedly falling short of expectations, organisations urgently need to ‘change up’ their approach.

That does not necessarily mean more work. In fact, the ‘to do’ list can be made less daunting by looking at applications at the start of the journey. The materialisation of risk the business would otherwise run into can be minimised by getting a more comprehensive understanding of the applications landscape from the words go.

This must include a detailed awareness of what applications the business has today; who uses and owns them within the organisation; whether all the applications are needed. More importantly, the process of migrating from Windows 10 to Windows 11 can be de-risked because the business will have much greater control over what is being deployed and how it is managed moving forward.

A positive road forward

So, looking to the future, it is crucial that applications are seen as a genuine business asset right from the outset. Too many businesses are focused on whether they are delivering via cloud or on-premises, and what infrastructure they will need to support that programme of change.

These are important considerations but far too many organisations fail to bring applications into the equation until they are at least halfway through such projects. And that delay in turn, leads to a corresponding delay in getting value from the change programme. It may even result in that project being considered a failure rather than a success. But that’s something that every organisation can avoid by making sure applications are a key part of any business approach right from the start. The takeaway from all this is to treat applications as a valued business asset and be prepared.

About the Author

Andrew Carr joined Camwood on 21st March 2022 as the new Managing Director, he has an array of skills that he has honed over his tenure in the technology channel. Andrew is the custodian of the business and its Chief Evangelist, ensuring that Camwood can drive growth and embrace opportunities presented to us in the market.

©Putilov Denis