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A Comprehensive Guide to Application Portfolio Management With ServiceNow

Modern organizations aiming for digital transformation often adopt and implement a diverse range of applications to support different use cases. As a company’s software capabilities expand, it must include various applications within the tech stack to drive business transformation and cater to client demands. However, each new software deployment raises a host of questions:

  • Who is using the application? 
  • Is it aligned with our business goals? 
  • Is it relevant to the customer’s pain points? 

While adopting new software tools and applications brings unique benefits, the lack of standardized processes can lead to unhinged application sprawl, which hampers IT transparency.

Traditional efforts to tackle application sprawl involve creating cumbersome spreadsheets, which are prone to data duplication and quickly become outdated. Instead, companies need a more sophisticated solution that offers a 360-degree view of the complete software portfolio while ensuring all applications are aligned to the current and ongoing needs and functioning optimally.

Enter ServiceNow Application Portfolio Management (APM). A pivotal driver of digital transformation, APM empowers organizations with real-time insights into the entire IT stack. By providing visibility into usage, alignment with business objectives, and risk assessment, ServiceNow APM allows IT teams to optimize application performance, streamline resource allocation, and reduce the risk of outdated or redundant software applications.

In this blog, we’ll explore the features and benefits of ServiceNow APM and how it can help organizations optimize their tech stack. 

ServiceNow APM: Core Features and Top Business Benefits

Application Portfolio Management (APM) takes a holistic approach, treating all technology assets as part of a unified portfolio to eliminate unnecessary clutter (redundant applications). It focuses on developing and executing strategies to align assets with the business goals and managing them seamlessly throughout their lifecycle.

The key features of ServiceNow APM include:

APM Portal

Users gain access to real-time insights delivered via a centralized interface. With actionable data at hand, they can make informed business decisions.

Application Portfolio

Data-driven insights help IT teams evaluate the performance and relevance of enterprise apps and determine whether to invest in, maintain, or replace applications to optimize the application portfolio for maximum efficiency.

Capability Mapping

By aligning technology resources with value streams, capability mapping ensures that every investment contributes directly to business growth and success.

Technology Portfolio Management

IT teams can effectively monitor the versions and life cycles of business-critical applications to mitigate potential issues and ensure seamless operations.

Benefits of APM

APM thoroughly evaluates and monitors individual components of a company’s software ecosystem, offering a comprehensive view of each application and aligning them with the overarching enterprise strategy. Essentially, it helps IT teams to – 

Streamline IT infrastructure

By mapping applications to suitable business capabilities, APM identifies redundant or outdated software that no longer creates value for the company. Also, APM can efficiently categorize apps via performance indicators, enabling IT teams to eliminate redundancies and upgrade obsolete tools to maximize the value of their software investments.

Build data-oriented strategies

Besides providing a ground-level view of enterprise apps and technical dependencies, APM collects reliable data from disparate sources for informed decision-making. Business leaders can leverage real-time insights to understand the TCO of each application and the impact of IT investments, aligning every application with the organization’s broader strategic goals.

Eliminate potential risks

APM facilitates the development of effective end-of-life strategies for outdated applications, minimizing potential security vulnerabilities and operational risks so that potential weak links do not become liabilities in the future.

Improve internal processes

APM identifies technology gaps, redundancies, and outdated software, allowing teams to take the necessary steps to improve efficient business processes. It suggests actionable improvements to enhance process efficiency and productivity.

Streamline communication and collaboration 

By centralizing applications and tools, APM creates a single source of truth that stakeholders across the organization can access and use. Since all teams have clear visibility of app functionalities and IT investments, it prevents unnecessary IT expenditures and resource allocation to redundant applications.

Manage your enterprise applications via automated workflows and gain complete visibility into internal operations with ServiceNow APM services. Learn more

How to Build a Successful Application Portfolio Management Strategy

Organizations can develop an actionable APM strategy in four phases:

1. Building an inventory 

Begin your APM journey with a comprehensive understanding of all tech assets within the IT stack. This task involves navigating shadow IT acquisitions, abandoned technologies, specialized apps (used by one or two stakeholders), and end-of-life apps. While the initial inventory process may be manual (involving lengthy discussions with multiple teams/stakeholders) and challenging due to incomplete data and inaccuracies, it sets the foundation for informed decision-making. 

Establish a central repository integrated with the enterprise technology infrastructure to improve the quality of your app inventory. This centralization automates some aspects of data management, increases visibility, and paves the way for discovering hidden IT assets.

2. Analyze existing assets

Continued investment in automated inventory maintenance and integration with enterprise infrastructure is crucial for creating an actionable APM strategy. 

It’s important to understand that APM requires more than data—it demands an enterprise-wide understanding. Mapping digital assets to the right business capabilities gives a holistic view of how internal processes function and which applications facilitate these capabilities. With this understanding, IT leaders can actively manage their digital asset portfolio, identifying and addressing current support gaps while improving their future investment strategies. It is an iterative process that creates the foundation for continual improvement, providing deeper insights into how technology drives business value. 

While some organizations may consider themselves successful at this stage, it merely marks the beginning of the APM journey, with much more to explore and optimize.

3. Actively manage the application portfolio

Optimizing performance requires aggressive management of technology assets. Identifying the assets most critical to business success and optimizing them requires a well-planned roadmap to – 

  • Eliminate outdated, duplicate, and unnecessary applications, prioritizing those that pose serious risks impacting data security and overall performance. 
  • Manage the core assets actively, laying down detailed plans for their lifecycle management and future replacement (if needed).  
  • Review peripheral assets for consolidation or integration with other core applications or rationalize them to simplify the overall application portfolio. 
  • Anticipate future business needs requiring technology support and accommodate new digital assets within the current portfolio while promising minimal disruption and maximum value. 

Initially focused on investment planning aligned with business needs, the roadmap evolves to drive strategic IT investments. Leveraging APM takes this optimization one step further, ensuring all applications drive value for the organization.

4. IT and business integration

After completing the above context-setting stages, businesses can leverage APM’s immediate benefit areas, such as Digital Product Management (DPM). DPM focuses on replacing temporary projects with permanent product teams that drive continuous value delivery. 

APM also facilitates effective digital transformation by fostering new ways of thinking and working by harnessing emerging digital, social, and mobile technologies. This helps implement new business models, encouraging the optimal use of technology to improve the experience of employees, vendors, customers, and other stakeholders.

By aligning the tech stack with business operations and initiatives, APM offers complete transparency to IT teams and business leaders. A fully integrated APM system drives collaborative strategy definition, planning, and execution. This integration necessitates the integration of all enterprise applications with automated management based on a unified data platform.

Ensure ServiceNow APM Success with the Right IT Services Provider

Managing your application portfolio in-house and optimally leveraging all capabilities of ServiceNow APM demands the guidance and expertise of a reliable IT service provider like Neev Systems

Since modern tech stacks are highly diversified and complex, our experts can help design the right strategies to unlock the full potential of ServiceNow APM for your business needs. As a certified ServiceNow partner, our end-to-end services can help you reap the benefits of agile methodologies, empower service agents with the right data, and facilitate intelligent case management, streamlined workflows, and automation.

Recently, we developed a complete ITBM Solution for Lenovo customers who often face challenges with project and process management while optimizing IT costs. Our ServiceNow APM implementation strategy allows Lenovo customers to adopt a scalable approach to managing projects and resources across the enterprise. They get: 

  • Better visibility of financial and budget related data on yearly and quarterly basis
  • Easy to use interface for project managers, planners, stakeholders
  • Reduced maintenance effort across the system
  • Improved efficiency with streamlined workflows and centralized project management
  • 360-degree transparency to effectively manage resource constraints of various departments based on work done.
  • If you wish to learn more about our ServiceNow APM implementation solutions, get in touch with our experts today!
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