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Posted by Jost Hoppermann on January 16, 2013
One of our recent surveys on business applications shows that more than 60% of business and business technology (BT) decision-makers consider consolidating, rationalizing, and transforming their business applications a high or critical priority — business applications drive three of the top four software initiative priorities (see the figure below). If we include closely related analytics, business intelligence (BI), and decision support tools, we cover all four top priorities.
At the same time, business and BT execs responsible for a variety of different business and IT domains across multiple industries typically explain that customer experience has moved to center stage; digital value has increasing importance in an information society and an information economy; and better use of things like real estate, intellectual property, available inventory, skilled personnel, and digital assets has become mandatory to manage costs and create new revenue streams. Managing and reducing costs in a continuously changing business and IT environment remains a key driver for functional departments in many firms.
The same business executives see a need to deliver necessary high-quality business functionality faster in order to remain competitive and increase market share (or at least mindshare). They do not necessarily care about whether this functionality comes “out of the cloud,” off the shelf from an on-premises business application vendor, or from internal development resources. And more often than not, rapidly changing business cycles do not allow for any longer-term planning that would ease rapid delivery. Traditional incremental approaches to business applications won’t get the job done anymore. Business application packages like banking platforms, HR, and retail packages often have a useful life of more than a decade but are subject to obsolescence risks — especially if the applications become highly customized and are not upgraded regularly. Forrester regularly encounters firms that are finding that their traditional strategies for managing their portfolios of business applications no longer work due to pressure from accelerating business and technology change.
The key questions are how do you deliver business applications more successfully and how do you manage substantial investments in business applications while fostering business innovation in an increasingly complex world? Forrester has designed the Business Applications Playbook to help answer these key questions. Application Development and Delivery Professionals will find the playbook to be a practical guide to our research findings, forecasts, and recommendations, structured in modules around the various business application delivery phases. The business applications playbook starts with an executive overview. As with all Forrester playbooks, our practical business application analysis and guidance is broken down into four categories:
Beneath these core reports you will find a wealth of additional toolkit research, including Forrester Waves, case studies, vendor landscapes, vendor and market analyses, trends reports, and focused surveys that will help you plan business application change and guide your investment decisions. This research comes from the analysts of the application development & delivery team, as well as other role teams — and we are all here to ensure that your strategy is the best it can be.
Where should you start? I recommend looking at the future of business applications first. If you feel that your application landscape needs transformation, you should assess your transformation maturity using a soon-to-be-published report. Then choose the reports and other tools and materials from the four categories that best meet your needs. For a more hands-on approach to transformation success — with topics from preparing and planning transformation to vendor selection — use Forrester Consulting’s full-day and two-day workshops aligned with each phase of business application investment.
Independent of how you leverage the business applications playbook, just remember: Technology provides the seeds of innovation and even disruption, but the drive to innovate or to disrupt must come from what the business needs to accomplish to compete and win in a complex and changing environment.
As always, let me know what you think: JHoppermann@Forrester.com
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