While most people are reasonably familiar with the term PPM (Project Portfolio Management), fewer have heard about its poorer cousin, APM (Application Portfolio Management). The main reason is that PPM is about shiny new initiatives, which everyone wants to be associated with, whereas APM is about managing production applications and understanding their cost base. Or, put more crudely, nobody ever got promoted by keeping the lights on – even though it accounts for 80% of the IT budget.
In simple terms, APM is a framework for inventorying and managing a portfolio of applications from a value perspective (ie costs vs benefits) as opposed to a pure cost perspective (ie what it costs to run them). The objective of APM is to justify ongoing operational and investment funding of applications from cradle to grave. In the absence of APM – unfortunately the norm – applications fall into a black hole after project delivery, and many years later you end up with a smogasbord of different systems built at different times, by different people, for different reasons, which essentially end up being funded by default year after year. Hence the CFO’s burning question to the CIO: “where does all the money go?” [Read more…]