Application Management

Application Management

Application Management is accountable for managing applications throughout their lifecycle. The Application Management function is performed by any department, group or team involved in managing and supporting operational applications. Application Management also plays an important role in the design, testing, and improvement of applications that form part IT services. As such, it may be involved in development projects, but is not usually the same as the Applications Developments teams.

Application Management Role

Application Management is to applications what Technical Management is to the IT Infrastructure. Application Management plays a role in all applications, whether purchased or developed in-house. One of the key decisions that they contribute to is the decision of whether to buy an application or build it (This is discussed in detail in the Service Design publication). Once that decision is made, Application Management will play a dual role:

  • It is the custodian of technical knowledge and expertise related to managing applications. In this role Application Management, working together with Technical Management ensures that the knowledge required to design, test, manage and improve IT services is identified, developed and refined.
  • It provides the actual resources to support the ITSM Lifecycle. In this role, Application Management ensures that resources are effectively trained and deployed to design, build, transition, operate, and improve the technology required to deliver and support IT services.

By performing these two roles, Application Management can ensure that the organization has access to the right type a level of human resources to manage application and thus to meet business objectives. This starts in Service Strategy and is expanded in Service Design, tested in Service Transition and refined in Continual Service Improvement. Part of this role is to ensure a balance between the skill level and the cost of these resources. In addition to these two high-level roles, Application Management also performs the following two specific roles:

  • Providing guidance to IT operations about how best to carry out the ongoing operational management of applications. This role is partly carried out during the Service Design Process but is also a part of everyday communication with IT Operations Management as they seek to achieve stability and optimum performance.
  • The integration of the Application Management Lifecycle into the ITSM Lifecycle.

Application Management Objectives

The objectives of Application Management are not to support the organisations business processes by helping to identify functional and manageability requirements for application software, and then to assist in the design and deployment of those applications and the ongoing support and improvement of those applications.

The objectives are achieved through:

  • Applications that are well designed, resilient and cost-effective.
  • Ensuring that the required functionality is available to achieve the required business outcome.
  • The organisation of adequate technical skills to maintain operational applications in optimum condition.
  • Swift use of technical skills to speedily diagnose and resolve any technical that do occur.

Application Management Principles

One of the key decision in Application Management is whether to buy an application that supports the required functionality, or whether to build the application specifically for the organisation requirements. These decisions are often made by a Chief Technical Officer or steering Committee, but they are dependent on information from many sources. These are discussed in details in Service Design but are summarized here from an Application Management function perspective.

Application Management will assist in this decision during Service Design as follows:

  • Application sizing and workload forecasts
  • Specification of manageability requirements
  • Identification of ongoing operational costs
  • Data access requirements for reporting or integration into other applications
  • Investigating to what extent the required functionality can be met by existing tools – and how much customization will be required to achieve this.
  • Estimating the cost of customization
  • Identifying what skills will be required to support the solution (e.g. if an application is purchased, will it require a new set of employees, or can existing employees be trained to support it?)
  • Administration requirement
  • Security requirements

If the decision is to build the application, a further conclusion needs to be made on whether the development will be outsourced or built using employees. This is detailed in the Service Strategy and Service Design publications, but there are some significant considerations affecting Service Operation.

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Eddie Potts

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