Rationalizing an Application Portfolio for the Cloud

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Neeraj Mishra’s recent post to the Modernization Mindshare Blog discussed setting up Application Portfolio Rationalization (APR) initiatives for success. Neeraj emphasized that the outcome of APR initiatives are critical to making budgeting and funding decisions for projects that enable business growth.

One of these types of projects is Cloud Migration. Whenever I talk to clients about moving their applications to the cloud, APR usually is discussed as an important step in the process of planning a cloud migration. While many organizations may desire an initial “lift-and-shift” approach to putting their applications into an IaaS environment, they do not want to absorb the costs of moving applications that can be retired or consolidated. Organizations also are beginning to see the value of exploring SaaS and PaaS options as well. With SaaS and PaaS, businesses can modernize their applications while moving them into a Cloud solution.

An APR initiative that seeks to identify consolidation opportunities and can rationalize a portfolio of hundreds (or thousands) of applications for different target Cloud models typically requires a lengthy project. If you’ve ever survived an APR project not run by NTT DATA, you know the drill: interviews, analysis, more interviews, more analysis, etc. At a certain point, I’ve asked myself if the juice is worth the squeeze. Can the cost of rationalizing a portfolio of applications ever be recovered with the savings an organization sees through a Cloud Computing transition?

Luckily, I work for an organization (NTT Group) that spends $3.5 billion per year in R&D. For the past two years, our research arm, NTT i3 (Innovation Institute, Inc.) have been working with my colleagues at NTT DATA on designing and developing an evolutionary web-based tool called NTT m2cloud (stands for migrate-to-cloud) that optimizes the process of analyzing and rationalizing applications for migration to Cloud Computing models.

By analyzing the Business Value and the Technical Complexity of each application, NTT m2cloud can determine which Cloud Computing model is the best for that application – creating a recommendation for IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, or a suggestion that the application is not suitable for the cloud and requires re-development or re-architecture. With its awareness of Business Value Chains, NTT m2cloud also can identify consolidation and retirement opportunities.

With recent powerful features that have been added last month, NTT m2cloud can now link applications to infrastructure assets, building dependency models that allow the tool to calculate the net financial impact of moving an application to the cloud by computing the costs of the infrastructure components (servers, storage, switches, data centers, etc.) that the application relies on. NTT m2cloud can determine that, if all applications that depend on an infrastructure component are retired or moved to the cloud, then that infrastructure component can be retired.

Infrastructure components and applications are supported by personnel – ranging from managed services offered by outside vendors to internal human capital. These quantifiable support costs can also be built into NTT m2cloud’s dependency hierarchy. This facilitates the development of a business case for moving an application portfolio to the cloud that incorporates all cost impacts.

Because NTT m2cloud has a survey engine for customer SMEs to directly input application metrics and attributes into, the amount of time required for interviews is significantly reduced. With NTT m2cloud’s analysis engine, recommendations are created automatically and instantaneously based on the acquired application data.

The Cloud Advisory Services team has found that NTT m2cloud reduces the time it takes to perform an APR initiative for the cloud by 85%. In other words, NTT m2cloud can turn a 30-week Cloud APR project into a 4-week Cloud APR project. Using the NTT m2cloud tool to rationalize large sets of applications for the cloud, NTT DATA’s consultants can help organizations make quick and informed decisions on how to handle their applications when planning their Cloud migration projects.

- Jay Keyes, Vice President/Cloud Visionary, NTT DATA, Inc.

Post Date: 4/22/2014

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