The key to IT modernization is the same as it’s always been

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To set the best course for IT modernization, you have to know exactly where you are now.

This truth hasn’t changed since I worked with fast-moving, highly cost-conscious telecoms enterprises in the late 2000s. They wanted continuous IT improvement. They still do, and now so does everyone else.

It was obvious then, more than 10 years ago, that a continuous IT improvement loop had to be driven by facts – a really clear picture of the existing app landscape and the business implications of any changes. What wasn’t obvious to anyone at the time was how to achieve this.

Modelling IT ecosystems

In 2010, I and three Capgemini colleagues started combining and systematizing everything we knew about how IT impacts business outcomes. The approach we created involved assembling a highly accurate digital twin of an enterprises’ IT ecosystem, then mirroring this data in a financial model. By changing the makeup of this portfolio twin, we could show what the business impact would be.

We called our approach economic Application Portfolio Management (eAPM). Two things quickly became obvious. The first was that our modelling worked even better than we had hoped – the outcomes of transformation projects matched our business case predictions very closely. The second was that potential clients immediately grasped the value of what eAPM had to offer. It was largely thanks to this second factor that we were able to justify investing in its development – a precious rarity in the IT industry.

This investment included building an AI-powered SaaS solution to support the approach. Called eAPM Studio, this software is the visible face of eAPM. It creates compelling visualizations of IT ecosystems making their strengths, weaknesses, and benchmarked performance immediately obvious. It’s a highly effective way of communicating eAPM analysis findings throughout an organization.

The infrastructure angle

Originally, eAPM modelled application portfolios only. Three years ago we started on the monumental task of incorporating infrastructure portfolios too. It was a challenge at least equal to creating eAPM in the first place, but it was worth it. Today eAPM provides a genuinely 360-degree view of an organization’s IT landscape. There is nothing else on the market that offers a comparable degree of clarity and insight.

And the more we use eAPM, the better it gets. We have now used it on over 500 client portfolios covering more than 160,000 apps. This means we know exactly what a healthy landscape looks like, and what a not-so-healthy landscape looks like. The constantly evolving benchmarks we establish from this data give clients an immediate insight into how well their digital transformation journeys are progressing. It’s a strength widely recognized by the enterprises we work with, and by leading analysts.

Modernization is a continuous process

We don’t sell eAPM as software. From the beginning, the purpose of eAPM was to establish an approach we could use to give our clients guaranteed roadmaps for IT improvement. It remains a means to an end – a way of establishing detailed, fact-based transformation pathways that we can help our clients achieve. Often, these clients come back to eAPM again and again, to find new paths as circumstances and business goals evolve. With one global energy and utilities provider, we have run eAPM seven times so far, helping them find transformative business cases.

It’s been an inspiring journey so far, but we’re not resting here. The drive for IT “modernization,” or whatever the next buzzword is, won’t go away. And the answer will always be the same – more, and more accurate, analysis and insight. The data model underlying eAPM is very powerful and has proved capable of modelling the most complex organizational structures. We are already working on ways to make our analyses ever more valuable.

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