Strategies for Businesses to Avoid Drowning in Application Sprawl

Strategies for Businesses to Avoid Drowning in Application Sprawl

As the rate of innovation accelerates, new applications, capabilities, and solutions emerge that have enormous potential for the future of business. Businesses keeping up with this pace is understandable and encouraged. However, doing so without allowing application sprawl to stifle the company’s progress is crucial.

This is an exciting time for enterprises with a continuous improvement mindset, as quick improvements and the flexibility of micro services enable highly efficient and customized IT systems. When a business need is identified, leaders can quickly discover a highly specialized solution and bring it to market. Application sprawl occurs when new technologies are adopted without old ones being phased out. And, like quicksand, application sprawl can prevent business from progressing.

It’s normal to want to move on to the next innovative technology, especially if it promises to boost revenue or productivity. Continuous retirement is a vital counterweight to continuous improvement, which is an ideal business model centered on fostering this innovation. The dangers to innovation, productivity, and security in the workplace are much too great to ignore.

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A constant cycle of abandonment is usually a sign of a forward-thinking company, but it must be tempered with effective management, and the retirement of obsolete technologies, or IT leaders would quickly feel overwhelmed by apps. It’s critical to remove any out dated solutions businesses no longer require whenever they install a new one. Failure to do so will overwhelm IT, raise organizational strife, decrease the ability to react to changing business needs, and expose the company to security risks.

The burden on IT teams

IT teams now have more to manage due to the rapid growth of applications. Because of the increased workload, team members are forced to prioritize the most important concerns first, leaving less time for planning and innovation. When the IT workforce becomes overwhelmed by their surroundings, they will naturally refrain from introducing anything new, putting a halt to innovation.

Increased conflict

When other departments begin to feel like that the IT team is not addressing their needs, the problem of overworked IT becomes much worse. Many people now have the opportunity to buy and deploy the solution they want without having to inform IT, which is becoming increasingly prevalent. Departments that work in silos may have comparable needs, but may use separate, even overlapping solutions to meet them.

As the issue worsens, it may cause confusion among basic business workforce, who may not always know which applications are the most up-to-date or correct to utilize. Instead, they spend time juggling multiple applications, obstructing efficiency and production. This gets worse as tenured employees leave and applications go unnoticed by the IT department.

A roadblock to development

It’s worth noting that technological sprawl isn’t only confined to applications; it also extends to features within applications. When apps and even features are not removed, the technology spreads extensively over time, causing IT headaches as they must handle things like dependencies on outdated technology.  This binds them to the technology rather than allowing them to progress; failure to discard holds the company back from modernization initiatives such as cloud migration.

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Threats to security

When a program isn’t in use, it’s no longer a priority for monitoring or updates. This is especially true if an app was previously unknown to the IT department, despite the fact that it is still linked to other business apps, data, and internal IT systems. Back doors and forgotten programs that haven’t been managed with the appropriate and most up-to-date security measures are now a prime avenue for hackers to gain access to an IT stack.

Businesses must balance the adoption of new technology with the retirement of old ones to be innovative and protect against data leaks or breaches. However, retiring an application needs time and effort, and there is a danger of downtime, data loss, or other apps being impacted. Many companies are unwilling to delay their time to market by performing this type of clean-up work, therefore it is neglected.

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Prangya Pandab is an Associate Editor with OnDot Media. She is a seasoned journalist with almost seven years of experience in the business news sector. Before joining ODM, she was a journalist with CNBC-TV18 for four years. She also had a brief stint with an infrastructure finance company working for their communications and branding vertical.