CIOs must battle ‘software sprawl’ to produce a more agile business

My IDC report, “Managing the Application Portfolio for Digital Transformation” ($$$$), explores how CIOs are streamlining their application software portfolios — for both on-premise and cloud-based software — as part of their journey to the digital enterprise. Leading-edge CIOs know that application rationalization and modernization needs to be a sustained capability, not just a one-time effort.

But enforcing software standards won’t win any popularity contests, and CIOs will need to deal with pockets of resistance where user groups have a tight grip on nonstandard applications. But relentless CIOs are taming their application sprawl to produce more agile businesses and free up resources for innovation.

The report identifies several best practices for getting control over the portfolio:

  • Start with a business-backed governance process (for political cover)
  • Manage the application portfolio in the context of digital transformation and business agility
  • Deal with pockets of resistance (or your efforts will be doomed by in-fighting)
  • Manage cloud-based applications to avoid “cloud sprawl”

The report features insights from Peter Weis, CIO at Matson Inc. (a $2 billion shipping company); David Jarvis, former CIO of Honeywell Aerospace; Carlos Garcia, CIO at Alvarez & Marsal (a global consulting firm); and Philip Stevens, CIO of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (an $8.3 billion retail operation).

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