Blog Posts tagged with Futurestate IT AppRx

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Working smarter, not harder

We’ve all heard that old chestnut being thrown around. What does it really mean? To me, it means achieving better results while using simpler or more efficient methods.

 A customer of ours has multiple Windows 7 migration projects underway and they began their pre-migration application testing using a manual process. They had a large group of resources sitting in the lab trying to install some of their applications on Windows 7. The results would then be documented and placed in a spreadsheet for future reference, and a new app would be tested and so on. At the end of their testing, they had a list of applications that would install on the new OS, and list that would not. This process took a few manual resources and  a significant number of weeks to complete for  just a couple of hundred apps. Apps that passed the install test were sent to UAT and apps that did not were given back to the app owners for further testing to determine what the issue was.

We could have told them the same thing in just a few days without tying up those resources in the lab. There are some activities that can take place before you begin your app testing that can shrink that burden down. Reducing your application portfolio through rationalization will help make life easier for your testers. Once you’ve done that, we can show you the vendor support information for your apps using AppRx and you’ll know right away which apps can go to UAT, and which will require further analysis or action. For those applications that need deeper testing, simply group them up and analyze them in the same place.

 We don’t remove the manual testers from the equation completely; instead we help them focus their efforts where they can deliver the most value. This significantly shortens the deployment time of your migration, and lowers your project costs. That’s working smarter, not harder.


Original post on http://futurestateit.com/2012/08/16/working-smarter-not-harder/ 

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Everyone knows Windows XP support ends in a year. So what?

Next week you will see a ton of articles and blogs about the demise of Windows XP in April of 2014. As you are already well aware, there is only 1 year left of support for that operating system, and you are probably doing something about it in your organization already. There is no reason to continue to tell you the ramifications, either. Since you know you are going to need to do something or have most likely started, you are probably looking for ways to make the transition to your new platform(s) easier.

One of the ways to simplify your migration is to reduce the scope of apps you need to move by undertaking a rationalization initiative. If you are using a tool like SCCM to manage your inventory and you generate a report of the applications that you have out there, you will be in possession of a very large list of items. A lot of those items will be drivers and patches and other stuff you probably won’t care about, but you will be surprised at the number of real apps that you have in that list, including multiple versions of the same products, and stuff you didn’t know was out there and really shouldn’t be.

Identifying the real information in your portfolio and gathering some intelligence on that data will help you make the best decisions for you portfolio. After rationalization, we have seen portfolio reductions of over 20% quite regularly, which results in a reduction in project time and cost, and less work for you.

Original post on http://futurestateit.com/2013/04/02/everyone-knows-windows-xp-support-ends-in-a-year-so-what/ 

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Cleaning Up

When you are thinking about your Windows migration project, you may have identified some dependencies, along with a bunch of nice-to-haves that you would like to have in place as well. This may include a migration to System Center 2012, or a cleanup and upgrade of your AD environment etc. Along with cleaning up your application portfolio through a rationalization effort, these projects will provide you some great benefits now, and in the long term. By rolling out effective tools and using them to their full potential, you will reduce the time you spend on basic day-to-day tasks. Similarly, by reducing the amount of applications that you need to manage, you reduce your workload and costs as well.

I often speak with customers about the need to evaluate their portfolios and decide which applications to migrate and which to discard. A great analogy for this is that a migration should be approached in the same way that you would handle moving house; it’s a great opportunity to get rid of the excess junk that you have been storing. Tools that are not used, or that do not have the desired functionality should be reassessed and possible upgraded or discarded as well.

Original blog posted on http://futurestateit.com/2013/04/19/cleaning-up/ 

Interested in rationalization http://futurestateit.com/portfolio-rationalization/ 

Learn more: 




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Are you aware of your application security vulnerabilities?

A few years ago I brought my car in for service at the dealership. While I was there, the service advisor told me that there was an outstanding recall on the car. It was discovered that the lock mechanism was easily defeated using a flathead screwdriver, making the car an easy target for thieves. As the car owner, nobody bothered to let me know that there was a recall on the car until I got to the dealership, but it seemed that the word was out on the street a long time ago. Manufacturers are not obligated to let you know about recalls if the issue does not pertain to a safety issue.

We’ve seen a lot of activity in the news recently about how application security vulnerabilities that suddenly come to light can cause concern among corporate security groups and application owners alike. This issue isn’t confined to Java updates alone, as vulnerabilities are discovered almost as quickly as updates are released in some cases. There are plenty of application vulnerabilities that you are probably not aware of, which may effect the applications that you are running in your environment right now. The intelligence to know when vulnerabilities are detected and when fixes are released is already available to you. Using an alert system that quickly makes you aware of potential application security issues should be a part of your day-to-day operational tasks. That way, at least you are aware of these issues, even if you choose not to do anything about it. After all, knowing is half the battle.

AppRx offers security alerts as part of ongoing portfolio management. If you’re interested in learning more about the security alerting feature book a demo http://futurestateit.com/demo/

Original post appeared on: http://futurestateit.com/2013/04/30/are-you-aware-of-your-application-security-vulnerabilities/ 

Great discussion on app security in AR&PM Linkedin Group http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4620272&trk=hb_side_g 

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Futurestate IT has launched a free online calculator to quantify the operational savings of application rationalization

Futurestate IT has launched a free online calculator to quantify the operational savings of application rationalization.

Futurestate IT’s SaaS solution, called AppRx, enables organizations to identify redundant, unsupported and unused applications in their portfolio in order to determine candidates for rationalization. With Futurestate IT’s new Application Rationalization Savings Calculator, organizations can now quantify the operational cost savings of rationalizing these applications from the portfolio.

Application portfolios have suffered from a lack of attention by many organizations since as far back as Y2K, leading to bloated portfolios. Portfolio bloat drives huge operational costs, impedes migration to new technology platforms like Windows 7/8, causes downtime and hinders business productivity. According to a survey by Harris Interactive, 82% of organizations polled said that monetary losses due to sprawled, unused, unresponsive or crashed applications cost their business anywhere from $10k – $20 million per year.

Competing priorities are one of the biggest hurdles for tackling application bloat

Despite growing awareness of the importance of tackling application bloat, more than half of respondents in a recent Futurestate IT survey only rationalize their applications on an ad hoc basis. The main reason cited for this was ‘competing priorities’. This is understandable as IT is constantly under pressure from the Business to deliver new functionality, often at the expense of rationalizing legacy applications. Application rationalization, however, can deliver great benefit to both IT and the Business – the challenge is to quantify it.

Futurestate IT enables companies to build a compelling business case for application rationalization

Building a business case for application rationalization is critical for tackling application bloat. Both IT and the Business need to work together to understand the size of the problem as well as the cost savings that can be achieved.

Futurestate IT’s AppRx solution enables organizations to 1) size the application bloat problem by identifying redundant, unsupported, incompatible and unused applications that are candidates for rationalization and 2) determine the potential operational cost savings using Futurestate IT’s newly released Application Rationalization Savings calculator.

Sizing Application Bloat

The key to tackling application bloat is to gather an inventory of all the applications and rationalize them to determine which ones can be trimmed from the portfolio by retiring, replacing, consolidating or upgrading them.

Typically, organizations have taken a manual approach to inventory and rationalize applications using spreadsheets, conducting interviews, researching and calling vendors, etc. – whether conducted in-house or outsourced to a third party. Not only does this approach drive costs and project timelines, the data is static and rapidly becomes stale and useless as application lifecycles and usage change.

Futurestate IT’s AppRx solution dramatically reduces the time and effort to measure application bloat and identify applications for rationalization. It does so by providing automated analysis of an application inventory to determine if there are redundant, unsupported, incompatible or unused applications in the portfolio. AppRx also provides ongoing analysis of a portfolio to identify opportunities for rationalization as new applications are introduced into the portfolio and existing applications start to age-out as new versions are released.

Quantify the Cost Savings

It can be very challenging to determine the cost savings that may be attained by rationalizing applications from a bloated portfolio. Some application types (managed, unmanaged, custom, etc.) may generate more savings than others. Application usage will also affect costs/savings. The more users, the greater the license costs and, potentially, support tickets. Additionally, older applications may drive higher costs as compatibility and functional issues arise.

One approach, however, is to establish a benchmark cost savings for rationalizing applications as a starting point. This benchmark can then be honed based on individual application attributes.

Rationalization Business Case: Company with 5000 employees

For a company with 5000 employees AppRx can be used to size the bloat within a portfolio and quantify the cost savings.

Application Bloat – 20% of apps are redundant, unsupported, unused
A company with 5000 employees would likely have about 500 applications based on a Gartner metric of 1 application: 10 employees. (Gartner: Understand the Real Cost of Migrating to Windows 7, 2010).

Running these 500 applications through AppRx could identify an opportunity to rationalize approximately 20% of applications from the portfolio or, up to 100 applications.

Quantify the Savings – $840,000 +
Using Futurestate IT’s Application Rationalization Savings calculator, the Year 1 operational cost savings resulting from rationalizing 100 applications would be approximately $840,000.

The Year 2+ cost savings would include the year over year operational costs that each application would have generated were they not rationalized from the portfolio – approximately $8400/application. Additionally, each year, more applications would be rationalized from the portfolio as they become redundant, out of date or unused, generating further savings. Add to this resource cost / opportunity cost savings which are not factored into the equation above.

In addition to operational cost savings, application rationalization fosters IT agility. A well-rationalized portfolio will ensure applications are current and supported and, as such, able to readily adapt to new platforms and changes in the IT environment. Keeping applications up to date will also reduce risk of downtime due to old, unsecure, unsupported applications crashing.

About Futurestate IT 
Futurestate IT offers AppRx, the leading SaaS-based Application Rationalization solution for enterprises worldwide to reduce application management cost and mitigate overall portfolio risk. Available via the web, AppRx provides automated rationalization of an organization’s portfolio and identifies applications that should be retired, consolidated or modernized in order to eliminate redundancy and improve portfolio health.
For organizations moving to Windows 7 or 8, AppRx can dramatically reduce the number of applications in the portfolio; driving down overall migration cost, effort and timelines.
AppRx also enables organizations to monitor their portfolio on an ongoing basis to continuously rationalize applications and reduce operational cost and risk. As a SaaS-based solution, customers can be up and running in minutes and do not require any hardware or software installation, maintenance or support.
Futurestate IT is a Microsoft partner. For more information, visit http://www.futurestateit.com.
Subscribe to the Futurestate IT newsletter to stay informed of useful tips relevant to the application management process.
Futurestate IT and AppRx are trademarks of Futurestate IT Inc.

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