What is wrong with application rationalization?

Lots of organizations I speak with are undertaking rationalization and simplification of application portfolios - some successfully, some less so.  I think that the key difference between successful and less successful rationalization is the order in which organizations go about it.  Organizations that rationalize their applications successfully start with (1) business drivers that define the need for change, then (2) they define the characteristics of the application portfolio that will enable those business changes. They then (3) outline a program of phased activities that will deliver the portfolio changes and finally (4) undertake a series of projects that make the functional, technical or process changes.  Less successful programs take a different sequence - it typically goes in a 4-2-1-3 sequence, starting with projects, then portfolio changes, which deliver some business change that are wrapped up in a program.  

 
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