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A stressed out, harried IT department is a sign that your organization has bitten off more than it can chew. There’s no need to have circumstances lead to the point where your IT professionals are pulling out their hair in frustration and growing ragged from lack of sleep because of the burden that comes from launching one big bang project after the other.

Instead, gradual, incremental changes to your mission-critical software assets will be much more effective and will help your organization stay on track. Many larger organizations have recognized this not only as a possible way to gain a long-term competitive advantage but also a way to significantly cut cost and resources. 

In this 3-part series, we are exploring vital stepping stones that pave the way to achieving this. Last week, we talked about software asset lifecycle management, and today we will look into application normalization. In a few days, we will take a closer look at software cataloging. With that in mind, you may be wondering how important application normalization is to your Windows 10 and Evergreen IT projects.

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Windows 10 is often the first step for many enterprises in the direction of managing their IT landscape as a liquid project instead of rolling out yet another big bang initiative. Evergreen IT is the dream of running a smooth, constantly maintained IT operation without any big upgrade or migration humps. Read on for more information about the importance of application normalization, especially when it comes to Windows 10 and Evergreen IT efforts.

Application Normalization & Windows 10

Say you are a company with thousands of employees, and many of them, if not all have desktop admin rights, leaving them free to install a broad range of applications that would make your skin crawl. There could be tens of thousands of various software titles running on these machines. Now you are tasked with analyzing the estate to create a master applications list for readying for migration. It is a well-worn path trodden by many an application management resource or consultant.  But why reinvent the wheel again with Windows 10?

Application normalization is crucial for your Windows 10 project. Simple as that!

But it is not always easy to achieve. When many of the applications are off-the-shelf, normalization is typically easier because the vendor naming is 'mostly' consistent even though many name and vendor discrepancies can still crop up.

Software engineered in-house may have less stringent naming protocols, meaning that you’ll often need to do a manual trawl in case your normalization software’s fuzzy logic doesn’t catch every duplicate title.

Each company will have different circumstances, so it’s not going to be easy to predict whether automated application normalization will meet your needs or if you have to do it manually because of too many naming similarities that the software cannot detect 100 percent of the time.

Windows 10 as software-as-a-service means it will be incrementally improved, providing a more stable platform for your users. Layering on equivalent application updates as a service means staying up to date with application naming, done on an automated basis, ensures that your users will continue to have access to their most often used applications and that one team isn’t using an outdated version and trying to remain compatible with other groups in your organization.

With the right backing data. It also sees to it that you know when a particular application’s limited warranty is about to expire, so you can take full advantage of the software support terms you’ve arranged.

Evergreen IT Projects & Application Normalization

Automating processes as much as possible is vital for ensuring your IT staff can get all its work done on time and meet management’s goals for smoother IT operations.

You may have been dreaming of Evergreen IT, where the entire software infrastructure in the enterprise is kept up-to-date in all its components. This includes applications that are outsourced, such as software in the cloud. It can be challenging to maintain lower costs and minimal IT overhead when managing assets that are partially in-house and partially in the form of SaaS, after all.

Security is a primary consideration when contemplating Evergreen IT. With your software always being updated on as automatic a basis as possible, you will reduce the exposure to risk that your organization faces. Reduced security vulnerabilities should become the norm as you keep the upgrade path clear. Part of the problem is that if an application is not named correctly, your system will have a harder time pinpointing the software and deploying the latest version.

Naturally, you will want your end user software inventory to make sense and be logically named. Application software normalization is crucial for streamlining operations in your IT department when it comes to Windows 10 projects as well as supporting your goal of building Evergreen IT.

Without implementing application normalization in a consistent fashion, you are almost inevitably destined for multiple project efforts to cleanse and reduce security risk on your desktop estate. Trawling thousands of applications line by line is not efficient and does not enable better processes and procedures to be implemented down the line. You need a repository to store this information, and you need the rules to make it sustainable.

Thinking about Evergreen IT for your organization? Let's talk about it. 

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Barry Angell

Written by Barry Angell

Barry is a co-founder of Juriba, where he is focused on using his experience in IT migration to help drive product strategy, pre-sales and service delivery. He is an experienced End User Services executive that has helped manage thousands of users, computers, applications and mailboxes to their next IT platform. He has saved millions of dollars for internal departments and customers alike through product, project, process and service delivery efficiency.

Topics: IT Strategy Windows 10/Desktop Migration Application Management Evergreen IT