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Application Portfolio
Rationalization (APR)

Dealing with technical debt in your application suite? APR evaluates and modernizes your applications to align with business / mission goals, reduce costs, and enhance operational efficiency.

Organizations are constantly facing application challenges — redundant features, obsolescence, and rising maintenance costs contribute to accumulation of technical debt. To accelerate important business/mission outcomes, and provide better, more secure User Experiences (UX), organizations need higher-value application and technology investments – helping improve frictionless business and operations, reduce risk and cut technical debt.

…to reduce technical debt and, at the same time, help align technology investments with business/mission priorities.

The Need for Application Portfolio Rationalization (APR)

Recognize any of these common IT challenges?

  • High volume of technical debt in IT operations?
  • Redundant applications increasing complexity and technical debt in the IT portfolio?
  • High maintenance costs of legacy business-critical applications?
  • Lack of application performance visibility, hindering decision-making?
  • Obsolete, inflexible IT infrastructure hindering adoption of new and emerging technologies?
  • Difficulty prioritizing IT portfolio investments for maximum business impact?
  • Slow, inflexible IT response to rapidly changing business priorities?
  • Difficulty retiring / replacing outdated systems?
  • “Shadow IT” purchases causing increased technical debt and data breach risk exposure?
  • Unknown or unacceptable IT security risk posture?

Time to Reassess?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, it indicates the need for an Application Portfolio Rationalization effort – to reduce technical debt and, at the same time, help align technology investments with business/mission priorities.

Why Application Portfolio Rationalization (APR) Matters More Than Ever

  • Mounting Complexity and Costs: APR reduces IT complexity, helping to reduce costs and simplifying application services for key personas, such as developers and end users.  Using LSA’s UX-centric approach, APR simplifies application services for key personas and reduces costs at the same time.
  • Alignment with Business Objectives: APR aligns business objectives with high-level “business capabilities” needed to deliver on those objectives, then analyzes current and future-state options to improve capabilities needed to deliver higher-value outcomes.
  • Strengthening Compliance & Security Posture: By identifying obsolete and vulnerable application & technology components, APR helps to increase compliance and reduce the risk of security breaches.
  • Frictionless Business & Operations: Addressing IT inefficiencies, APR (especially when paired with LSA Business Process Improvement services) improves key productivity and performance measures.
  • Embracing Cloud Opportunities: APR opens the door to cloud technology benefits, such as low-cost, high-flexibility auto-scaling and service reliability.

How it's Delivered

By integrating our approach and tools across LSA Digital Formulas, we enable optimized IT performance, efficient resource use, and agile adaptation to technology, guiding informed decisions and goal achievement.

APR Objectives, Scope & Outcomes

Application Portfolio Rationalization services can range from an inventory / “health” report on the current application/tech portfolio, extend to roadmaps that recommend Re-purchase alternatives (e.g., cloud Software-as-a-Service) or extend roadmaps that include complete Re-architecture (e.g., cloud re-platforming).

Application Assessment

Applications are assessed against capabilities (“what they do for the business”) for their value and technical condition, answering key questions – e.g., business criticality, security, scalability, cost-effectiveness, and integration capabilities. Applications are slotted as Tolerate, Invest, Migrate, or Eliminate, as a starting point for further opportunities analysis, recommendations and road-mapping.

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Optional - Analysis of Alternatives (AoA)

Explore potential application and technology replacements (typically cloud – SaaS/PaaS), providing potential roadmap options.

Optional - Re-architecture

Finding high business value, but poor tech condition applications, planning and prioritizing re-design to improve key attributes (e.g., security, reliability, integration) over time.

Optional - Infrastructure Assessment

Analyze and makes recommendations to improve underlying infrastructure (network, storage, compute) to provide modern, lower-cost (typically cloud/IaaS) infrastructure services for more effective application services.

From baseline assessments to comprehensive re-architecting, APR aligns technology with business goals, turning IT challenges into drivers of growth and innovation.

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Case Study Summary: Agility-Enhanced Portfolio & Program Management

Problem:A DoD client had a complex, legacy portfolio and program management application. Their environment included a mix of homegrown and off-the-shelf solutions, many with overlapping functionalities, high maintenance costs, high complexity, and poor User Experience. The client wanted better overall business agility and lean portfolio investment practices, which required simpler, modernized and flexible application services, in addition to LSA’s digital Agility-at-Scale and Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) people-and-process enablement services.

Our Solution Focused On:

  • Application Assessment: Conducted an in-depth review of the application landscape, evaluating cost, redundancy, outdated features, usage, and health for alignment with operational goals.
  • Re-architecture & Analysis of Alternatives: Developed a high-level application architecture with phased implementation steps (Crawl, Walk, Run), including risk and integration planning.  Leveraging LSA’s UX Analysis to focus on capability needs of key users, Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) revealed Gartner/Forrester market-leading SaaS/PaaS options that became part of the solution roadmap.

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This approach showed how Application Portfolio Rationalization (APR), together with Lean Scaled Architects' agility-at-scale and Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) services recommended a realistic plan to improve the organization’s agility practices, aligned to incremental improvements of key IT systems to deliver key benefits – lower legacy/custom application maintenance costs, lower complexity, and improved User Experience.


Keith Mangold, Application Portfolio Rationalization Expert
Keith Mangold, Application Portfolio Rationalization Expert

Discover how LSA's Application Portfolio Rationalization can elevate your technology landscape for enduring value beyond just the major overhaul!