Log Management- Planning Ahead Saves Time and Resources

Busy person“I am too busy to plan!”

It seems like most IT professionals today are so busy keeping up with day-to-day tasks, not to mention myriad unexpected issues that arise; that project planning and time management often take a back seat., Besides, “planning” sounds like such an “open-ended” thing that is frequently deemed a waste of time and lost in the shuffle.

 

In fact, a little proactive planning could save a lot of time and stress in the future. And it does not have to take up a lot of time, e.g. like planning how to better deal with production issues. Continue reading

Modernization with TIC Software

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Founded in 1983, TIC Software has been designing, developing and distributing IT solutions to address the technical challenges of modernizing legacy applications for over three decades and counting! We’re proud of our history – helping our clients maintain the highest standards with innovative solutions that keep their business IT infrastructure running smoothly.

Our products and services provide our customers with solutions that optimize: data flow and reporting, gateway and communication development, business intelligence and, of course, legacy application development. We’ve been modernizing legacy applications for a variety of companies in myriad industries such as financial services, healthcare and wholesale distribution. We work with technology partners to leverage the most up-to-date IT innovations – to best serve our clients – many of whom have been with us since day one! Continue reading

Proactive Measure to Alert Application Issues

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Drivers rely on their dashboard gauges, warning lights and alarms to keep them apprised of any potential issues – so shouldn’t the same theory apply for monitoring
your important business applications? Being forewarned at the first sign of trouble puts one in the best position to address the problem before further issues arise.
Like this guy who neglected to monitor his dashboard:

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It’s important to not only be warned of an application error – but also to be informed as soon as possible so corrective action may be taken in as timely a manner as possible. Paying attention to important information that the applications are writing to the logs is critical. Continue reading

Application Rationalization

Application Rationalization 101

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Application Rationalization is a managed process that reviews and evaluates applications in the IT Application Portfolio on a rational basis, to determine which should be preserved and enhanced, redeveloped and re-platformed, replaced with alternative solutions, or simply retired.

The goal of application rationalization is two fold.

  1. To Identify candidate applications for modernization action that might include enhancing, transforming or migrating to newer technology platforms, replacing with new solutions available as COTS or Cloud offerings, or simply retiring with no replacement.
  2. To initiate action based on the rationalization plan, and begin the modernization effort.

What follows is a brief discussion of application rationalization, beginning with scoping, and following through to taking action on the rationalization plan.

Scoping

To begin the rationalization process, you and TIC Software develop an action plan to decide on the scope of the application rationalization effort, considering such drivers as:
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  • Which business unit generates the highest IT costs?
  • What class of technology generates highest support costs, (e.g. NonStop)?
  • Which Line of Business (LOB) was most recently acquired and is now least integrated with the balance of the portfolio?

Then, we capture the following information, used to scope the Application Rationalization effort:

  • A count of applications to be reviewed,
  • The quantity and availability of supporting application documentation and support records
  • The report and presentation process that will follow from the rationalization effort (high-level, high-impact supported by detail roll-up

We will be grading applications on their cost, and the value they deliver, both now and in the future. Therefore we will need your agreement on how forward-looking we should be.

Rationalizing

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The key drivers for the rationalization are typically

  • Enabling a “do more with less” attitude by identifying IT portfolio bloat and reducing it, thereby freeing funds
  • Bring transparency to IT by portraying IT spend in a meaningful (e.g. business and value-oriented) way, and
  • Establishing business ownership of IT assets (applications, data) through the Application Rationalization effort

To understand cost and value, we will gather and evaluate information within the scope of the effort. Here are some examples of what we would examine…

  • Where is your organization or individual business unit, if that is our scope going as a business
  • What are the desired principles of IT’s operation to support client’s business direction
  • What is the history and projection of annual support, license, and enhancement costs (people and technology) by application, considering direct costs first, and indirect from client’s rational basis of overhead allocation
  • What do Business and Technical Stakeholders think about the application suites under review, compiled through interviews and completed surveys

Understanding

whereis-resized-600The Application Rationalization process gives insight into the value that applications deliver and the costs and risks associated with that delivery. Delivered value can be understood as profits derived from business functions directly supported by application suites under review. However, there is a deeper meaning to delivered value, having to do with key strategic alignments, discussed following.

Alignment between Business Processes and Applications

Proper alignment means that the time and effort you spend running your business is devoted to productive work, not work-around. Misalignment means extra work such:

  • Is each business process is supported by multiple applications? This gives insight into redundant user interfaces among applications, identifies the use of application integration, and also identifies the number of applications that must be modified when the business process changes.
  • Are business activities are supported by a single application?
  • Are critical business processes/activities supported by different applications than the noncritical business processes/activities? This helps to identify less critical applications that might be replaced or retired
  • Does each application’s functionality support at least one business process activity? Applications that play no role in supporting the business should disappear

Alignment between Business Processes and their Data

Business and Data alignment means that business people have the information they need – accurate information, with the right level of detail, and on time. Misalignments make it difficult to get information that is relevant for the business.

We perform a technology and business process review to answer questions such as…

  • Is every data attributes used by at least by one business process?
  • Are all data entities meaningful to their business users?
  • Is the organization using standard, off the shelf applications for generating ad-hoc reports, inquiries, and graphs, or are custom-written applications doing this work?
  • How well is data lineage (origin, and update path) of data entities tracked?
  • Are business people responsible for overseeing the quality and relevance of data content?
  • Does the organization use an Information Architecture with published principles and rules? If so, which data entities are in compliance, and which are not?

Alignment between Applications and Data

Application and Data alignment means that IT experts expend coding effort coding business functions and logic, rather than on data repair, conflation, and extra transformation. We perform a technology and business process review to answer questions such as…

  • Is data entity managed by only one application? This means that entities are identified, created and reused by a single application, simplifying information management
  • Are data entities created with null values present, or with plugged values, when real values are not available?
  • Are there vocabulary and semantics organization standards so data from one business entity can be easily shared with others?
  • Do standards exist for data interchange formats across the organization? Are they used, or ignored?

Acting

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Our application rationalization offering brings focus on the business value delivered by client application suites vs. the cost and risk associated with that value delivery.

No matter how complete the go-forward plan, or how compelling the analysis for modernization, retirement, or replacement of applications, clients will only derive real benefit by putting the rationalization plan into action. Successful implementation of a rationalization plan will require buy-in from all in-scope business and technology stakeholders. Therefore, selecting the right initial application suite, engaging stakeholders, and selecting the right modernization partner, are all crucial to success.


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To learn more about TIC, Application Rationalization, Modernization with BluAge, and what it means for your NonStop environment, schedule a conversation by emailing us to TIC Sales .

Feedback please

Do you find this tutorial blog helpful? Let us know what you think, and how we can make it even better. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to our blogs (top right-hand corner of this page) to get automatic email notification when a new blog is available.

stu_selip-resized-600Stuart Selip owns and operates Principal Consulting, LLC, an IT Strategy consulting firm that is a business partner of TIC Software. Prior, as the Chief Executive Officer of Luxoft’s Consulting Strategies unit, he managed delivery of IT Strategy consulting to Fortune 500/Global 2000 firms in the Financial Services, Insurance, and Media industries.

Take AIM – Assess. Innovate. Modernize.

people_thumbs_up Happy New Year!

2013-target-resized-600 May 2013 be a successful year to all of you. New Year always presents new opportunities, inspirations and resolutions. What are some of yours? I’d like to suggest that you consider taking up “AIM” initiatives – Assess. Innovate. Modernize.

Assess.

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Too often, we get caught up in our day-to-day grind during the year that we had no time to pause and to inventory where we are. Yet, taking time to review and assess is critical to improvement in the new year.
For examples:

  • You have lots and lots of COBOL programs, but…
    Do you know what are in your application assets?
  • You know it is important to protect your “crown jewel platform”, but…
    How secure is your NonStop environment?
  • You have a whole team of operators, tech support, system managers, but…
    How efficient is your operation environment?

Now is a good time to reflect on where we are and to set some goals for improvement.

Innovate.

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Get out of your status quo comfort zone and think outside the box! Commit some time to learn more about some of the newer technology such as

  • Mobile Apps
    Think about your users with iPad and Smartphones
  • Cloud Computing
    What SaaS can you leverage?

Now, you may think: “But what does a legacy machine like NonStop have to do with these new technologies?” Think again! In fact, integrating new technologies with Nonstop could present some exciting opportunities and ROI for your organization.

Modernize.

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While you look for new technologies to jump into, don’t forget all the valuable application assets you already have on your NonStop system. Make 2013 be the year to start your modernization initiative to make these NonStop assets even more valuable. Commit to starting one (or more) of these following projects:

  • Buid a better GUI with Java or .NET
  • Improve your database and application connectivity
  • Adopt modern development methodology and tools

Need help getting started? Look for more discussions on these topics in our upcoming blogs, with tutorials, examples and success stories. We hope that you will follow these discussions, and we would love to hear about your experience as well.

Feedback please

Do you find this tutorial blog helpful? Let us know what you think, and how we can make it even better. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to our blogs (top right-hand corner of this page) to get automatic email notification when a new blog is available.

Phil LyPhil Ly is the president and founder of TIC Software, a New York-based company specializing in software and services that integrate NonStop with the latest technologies, including Web Services, .NET and Java. Prior to founding TIC in 1983, Phil worked for Tandem Computer in technical support and software development.