Application Management: Manage Your Business Chains
For a long time organizations have been outsourcing their application management. Initially, outsourcing happened only with servers and databases with focus on availability, response time and cost reduction. Later, applications were also outsourced, mainly those that were technology-oriented: some SAP applications or the Oracle custom-made applications. By having introduced process models like ITIL and CMMI Services, managing infrastructures and applications has been professionalized. Focus was on IT-KPI’s like response time on incidents and availability of individual servers and applications.
A typical issue was the mismatch between infrastructure and application availability. When an incident popped up, costly time was lost to find out whether the incident was caused by a database or a server or whether it was a failure in one of the applications. It was even more striking when infrastructure management and application management were divided among several different suppliers following a multi-vendor policy. In this situation, it was not unimaginable that one party was finger-pointing to the other party. While finger-pointing, the consumer is still waiting to be served due to lack of control and lack of responsibility for the performance of the entire business chain. As consequence of a poor quality of service, consumers are running away, business loses revenue and business is unsatisfied with the IT-suppliers, despite all the ‘green’ Service Level Agreements on individual IT-components.
In the mean time, we have seen that IT decision power has shifted from IT to the business. As a consequence, the primary focus in application management is now on business processes and business chains. Today’s outsourcing demand is moving towards management of all those applications that support an end-to-end business chain. Clients are looking for a Service Integrator who will and can take responsibility for the availability and performance of an entire business chain.
Therefore, application management is now organized and executed along business chains. Focusing on the business level, Business Process Chain Management is the management of a collection of interconnected business processes involved in the service provision required by the consumer in an application and infrastructure environment. Above the typical ITIL processes, additional delivery processes are added to manage and monitor business chains. Chain management, business process monitoring, business process improvement, chain testing and chain configuration and release management are carried out to guarantee the business continuity of an end-to-end business chain. Reactive incident-driven processing is replaced by pro-active, preventive acting. Green, IT-driven Service Level Agreements are replaced by business KPI’s.
Application Management really matters a good deal to the business.