Software migration projects, such as operating system upgrades, are often called "IT transformation projects" because they provide a unique opportunity to "transform" or streamline much more than just your computers. Before embarking on the project, all large organizations need to ask themselves if they want to leverage this opportunity to improve their end-user IT landscape, or if they just wish to do a "lift and shift" and simply bring all applications and hardware to the new platform.
After Windows 7 was rolled out, most organizations would have been in a relatively clean state in understanding their applications. However, many do not maintain that clean state, and from the last migration project to this one, may have added hundreds, if not thousands of applications in various versions. Without proper organization and continual maintenance, this creates an enormous mess for both your project and your organization. You are at risk for paying too much for outdated applications, or exposing your business to unnecessary security threats by running unsafe programs, or failing a FAST or BSA audit due to incorrectly licensed software.
Why Should Your Desktop Transformation Project Include Software Lifecycle Management?
While Dashworks is not a license management tool per se (it holds license information but does not actively manage the license (yet)), it can help you significantly reduce the number of applications and application versions you have floating around by providing a platform on which you can categorize, rationalize, and normalize them as part of the IT transformation project.
Creating a centralized inventory of all your applications and using a central source of truth to place software assets into a better lifecycle process will help you reduce asset count and associated licensing costs. Importantly, it will also accelerate your desktop migration project since you won't have as many applications to package, and can easily visualize the path from the current state environment to the target state.
Tooling Required To Gather Data
You must first ask yourself: from where you will collect the software/application inventory and what type of inventory you want to consume? Where you store this information and tie it to user departments is important in the success of your application efforts. Possible sources of information can be your:
- Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)
- LANDesk, Flexera or equivalent hardware and software inventory
- Lakeside, Liquidware or Centrix software for application usage information and other analytics
- Applications running on servers such as Access databases or Excel plug-ins
- Web applications inventory from companies such as Browsium and Centrix
Make Inventory Actionable
Accurately understanding the extent of your inventory is great, but this understanding needs to become actionable. You can make sense of the thousands of data rows by normalizing and rationalizing them. For example, your inventory will show your employees using applications such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, but making them actionable will summarize them under the Office Suite. It will look at different versions of the same business application (e.g., Adobe and Terminal Emulator) and middleware (e.g., Java Runtime).
Add Value To The Rationalization Process
Now that you know which programs you need, you can add value by using tools such as Dashworks to categorize and retire applications, define forward paths for the ones you keep, and create rules for replacing apps serving the same purpose for a standard software license. This central view will also enable you to see your applications either globally or for specific groups or departments and therefore allow your IT project team to rationalize your app count to a smaller estate.
Improve End-User Perception
End user satisfaction is essential to the overall success of your project. By using the self-service capabilities of your migration project management tool, you can not only engage your users early on, but also have them make decisions about their software based on information only they possess.
One of our customers, a major investment bank, used the Dashworks Self-Service IT Migration Portal to migrate 45,000 users to Windows 7. After global application categorization and rationalization, they presented each user with their remaining current list of business applications. Each user averaged 12 applications, which totalled over half a million application provisions. Through the portal, users then made a yes or no decision on whether each application was required post-migration. Amazingly, on average, users retired three applications, leaving 135,000 fewer application provisions than would have otherwise been delivered, a 25% reduction! If the average for each piece of software was just $20, savings amounted to $2.7 million.
Dashworks Self-Service portal also helps your IT migration by preventing necessary programs from being rationalized. Your data might indicate that a particular financial application should be rationalized because it has not been used in 78 days. You may not know that this software is only used every 90 days and is crucial for a particular user. It also helps improve the perception of your project by engaging the end user in the process.
An IT project management software tool like Dashworks allows you to minimize application count and real estate and true-up license count; reduce risk association of software audit; and reduce the number of apps to package and support. It enables you to add a layer of crucial context around the applications that you would have missed with spreadsheets.