Guest blog by Paul Holland, VP of Operations, Advanced
Your application portfolio represents a large investment for your business. It is a major asset and critical to the day-to-day operations of any organisation, but there is also the significant cost for maintenance and support of these applications. It is widely reported and accepted that over 70 percent of IT budgets are spent on maintenance and support of existing applications.
Organisations constantly need to do more with less. Head counts are reducing, the time to deliver development work is being cut back, but workload is still increasing. Along with this, organisations are losing key tribal knowledge as the developers who built these applications are retiring. New developers do not have these ready skills and the learning curve for the new recruits is steep. Best practices, along with software tools, are required to reduce the cost of application maintenance and improve the productivity of these processes.
Application maintenance requires a number of disciplines to effectively manage and maintain a portfolio of custom application software. Having information compiled and correlated in a single referenceable repository will help everybody who needs to synthesize information from disparate sources. There are three key ways Application Analysis tools can help:
Automated System Documentation
Today, information about IT artefacts and their relationships is held in a variety of isolated silos; source code, database and file definitions, documentation, models, operational information etc. – and all this information exists in different formats and locations. Rarely is there a single, comprehensive source of application documentation. Semantic connections that exist between artefacts across different silos remain hidden and invisible, making it a time-consuming and manual task to find those links.
This is where Application Analysis tools can help. These tools can extract relevant information about software artefacts from their respective silos, and discover the semantic relationships that exist between them. They then store all this information in a single online repository. This enables users to gain 360 degree visibility into their application portfolio landscape. IT teams can then see a connected view of related artefacts and the automated documentation, and this can be refreshed on a regular and automated basis, keeping the information current and relevant.
Analysis and Design
Analysis is required to transform business change requests into design specifications. Understanding application structure, relationship views, dependencies, structure diagrams and data access views, are all things Application Analysis tools can help with. These tools show direct and indirect relationships to software components, dependency and inheritance diagrams, call trees and database objects- providing useful information to those who manage and maintain applications. These features allow users to be more efficient by easily finding the information required for the task at hand.
Impact Analysis provides the insight required to understand the impact of proposed system changes throughout the application portfolio. Complete and accurate impact analysis of these changes is the prerequisite to improved software design and more accurate estimates for development timeframes. There are varying degrees of impact analysis – direct and indirect relationship impact and detailed data flow analysis. First level impact analysis shows a complete trail from data fields and database objects to programs, screens, jobs and other components that use the data objects. Detailed impact analysis allows the impact of changes at field and variable level to be traced through the application portfolio.
On average, customers who use our Application Analysis tool, Application Analyser, have seen a 15 per cent saving on their maintenance costs. Customers have also seen a 60 per cent reduction in the time it takes for new resources to be on-boarded and a 40 per cent increase in developer productivity.
To learn more about how Application Analyser can help reduce costs and improve productivity, join our webinar on 5 June 2019. During the webinar you will see a live demonstration of the tool, with a focus on application insight, understanding and typical day-to-day development and maintenance tasks. Register your place now.