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By Subraya Mallya - April 2007 | Topics - Application Management

Driven by Globalization and Innovation,  business models around the world have become extremely complex. At the same time various Regulatory mandates have added new dimensions of complexity. Companies that are at the leading edge of the business revolution, demand a myriad of business applications to meet their business, regulatory needs. In meeting  these demands, Enterprise Business Applications like ERP, CRM, SCM, HCM have grown into complex beasts needing a lot of care and feeding. IT Organizations in companies have been increasingly asked to do more with less. Best practices frameworks like COBIT, ITIL have been helping companies in meeting some of the challenges, the solutions that imbibe these best practices are still lagging the real needs of companies. I will make an attempt at outlining the challenges that companies are grappling with and attempt to define the ideal solution for them.

Focus
Many solution providers attempt to provide generic solutions that address needs of various applications like SAP, Oracle, Documentum (with all the consolidation in the industry, I think these are three big vendors left) the very fact that there is so much heterogenity in these applications renders any solution limited in their utility. In my years with dealing with customers of Oracle E-Business Suite, I had first hand experience in understanding the challenges they faced. I will use Oracle E-Business Suite as the basis and where applicable will compare the challenges faced by SAP and Documentum.

Application Management
Application Management over the years has graduated from being a tactical necessity to a strategic imperative. Considering the mission critical nature of the Business Applications, the application management is measured and its quality constantly improved upon to ensure business continuity. In that regard it has become a specialized systems management area. While the management systems were measured for standard IT metrics like system uptime, execution throughput etc, the application management systems would be measured by the business metrics like orders processed and other business tasks performed by business users.

Here are some of the key things to keep in mind about Application Management, contrasting that with Traditional Systems Management.

  1. Requires deep understanding of the inner working of the application, the process flows, setups.
  2. More Functional, Business Process view compared to IT Components.
  3. Top Down view when it comes to change management, risk management.
  4. Need to meet compliance and audit mandates

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