IT Focus Area: cloud
October 18, 2019
How to Tidy Your Apps and Make Your Employees Happy
Giving your employees the tools they need to excel at their jobs seems like a fairly simple concept, right? In theory, it is a rather straightforward notion, but the real-world roadmap to getting there is more tedious than most organizations expect.
According to a recent survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 3 million people have voluntarily left their jobs since 2017. Many organizations are finding that it’s harder to retain employees than to acquire them. However, there are ways companies can create successful strategies for recruiting and retaining top talent—and effective, optimized business technology is among them.
Millennials especially are used to the speed, convenience and instant access of modern, web-based applications. You won’t have much success putting them in a work environment of legacy, monolithic technologies. If your organization’s business systems are cumbersome, complicated, and not focused on user workflow, you may have some frustrated employees on your hands (if they even stick around).
In a recent survey of 2,000 millennials, 70% claimed that they strongly prefer fast, in-office technology; without it, 20% of those said they would quit. Not only is it difficult to get work done in an inefficient environment, but those inefficiencies can also be quite costly. Deciding you’re ready to declutter your application environment is the first step toward a brighter future for you and your employees.
Start by assessing your application portfolio
When you embark on your decluttering mission, you need to understand what applications you have and the roles they play. You need to understand application workflows, which applications work together, and how they are being used by different groups within your organization. If your employees are relying on multiple tools for the same job, that’s a problem.
When you look closely at your application portfolio, you might not like what you see. You may find there are four different tools doing the same thing, or you may uncover licensing implications. Seeing the total picture can help you streamline, save and identify areas where you can improve the employee experience.
Know what’s running in your data center
Once you know what your application portfolio looks like, you can take appropriate action. The goal of application rationalization is to improve efficiency and reduce complexity by assessing which applications should be kept, replaced, retired or consolidated. This data may also be used to identify which apps you should transform, and it can help you decide how you want to do that. You may decide to migrate some apps to private or public cloud and keep other apps in your data center exactly as they are.
Migrating apps to the cloud
A cloud migration strategy helps you determine which apps should be migrated to cloud and how, and which apps you should maintain on-premises. Before moving forward on an application rationalization or cloud migration project, you may want to consider working with an experienced third-party consultant. The right partner will provide expertise across multiple companies and industries, helping you analyze and identify what applications to move, explaining why it’s important to move them, and identifying where they should go for the greatest possible performance.
An experienced third party can also help you decommission or remove apps that no longer serve your business, and they will provide rationale for how all of these decisions help serve your company’s culture, business practices and management processes.
As you streamline and optimize your app environment—migrating appropriate apps to both private and public cloud—you will want to be especially careful to consider the complexities involved in migrating large quantities of data stored in applications that have interdependencies related to systems and workflow. In other words, find out which apps are talking to each other. Here’s why: if you move one app, but don’t have a full understanding about what other apps that one is talking to, you could discover that there were 10 others dependent upon that one migrated application—and all of their performance is impacted.
App rationalization is critical after M&A
If your organization has recently experienced growth through a merger or acquisition (M&A), reconciling your application portfolio and ensuring that everyone is encountering a positive work experience can be even more challenging.
Here’s an example of an M&A scenario from a technology perspective. Let’s say Company A has 35 tools they are using to manage their environment. After they are acquired by Company B, none of the tools from Company A are deployed across the entire environment. It is soon discovered that there are two tools doing the exact same things but in different areas of the newly merged organization. In fact, there’s a 30% overlap within the two environments. And then they discover that 40% of their tasks aren’t even covered because of failed integration tactics.
A situation like this can make for a colossal and costly mess, and it will not instill employee confidence. Here, an app rationalization project can really pay for itself.
Important considerations before moving apps to the cloud
Cloud will ultimately make it easier to manage your applications, however, getting there may be challenging. Consider the following for a successful migration:
- Know what your application portfolio looks like
- Decide what you want to keep, merge, get rid of or transform/optimize
- Determine what goes to private cloud, to public cloud, or stays in the data center
- Ensure people have what they need for high performance and easy access
The takeaway: put your users first
Today more than ever, user-centric design is key. As you optimize and modernize your application environment, it is critical to ensure that you’re supporting the needs of your users.
Think about what applications your employees are interfacing with most. What supporting applications are making their jobs easier? Keeping your workforce happy can contribute to employee longevity, and that’s a win-win for everyone.