Mulesoft recently published their 8th annual “Connectivity Benchmark Report”. The report reveals that organisations with at least 1,000 employees now have an average of 1,061 applications in operation.
A mind-boggling number considering the number of resources required to run and maintain a single application.
Why are we running so many applications?
There is obviously not (yet) a single application that can support the full set of company requirements in their entirety. So, businesses will need to run several different applications to manage the wide variety of processes company-wide.
But as companies grow, expand and develop, so will the number of applications that they use. Large companies normally have multiple strategic programmes and projects running at any one point in time and each of these are often tied to software applications that are driving the new improvements and initiatives.
For each new process or initiative that requires some degree of support from software, a company will naturally ask itself, whether this can be achieved with existing applications, or whether a new application should be onboarded. While many would prefer to expand existing applications in theory, this is not always so easy.
Prioritising stakeholder needs
There can be many dependencies and considerations for the existing functionality of an application and there could even be conflicting interests between the current stakeholders of the existing application and the stakeholders of the new initiative. The new project would likely need to “get in line” to get their wishes fulfilled in the existing application, which probably has a priority list of its own.
So, introducing a new application in the organisation instead of expanding an existing application could often seem like the fastest and easiest solution.
And who doesn’t like fast and easy solutions? Especially since the organisation already runs so many other applications, it wouldn’t hurt to introduce just one more, would it?
Adding to that logic, who cares if there’s an overlap of data in our new application compared to other existing applications. It’s used for different purposes anyway and maintained by different people, so what’s the problem?
The IT impact of mergers & acquisitions
Another source of new applications to the IT landscape comes when the company merges or acquires other companies. Aligning the IT landscape of two different companies is a massive task and will likely add to the growing number of applications that it’s managing.
So, over time, a typical scenario would be for a company to have a line of applications stacked up, and slowly, but surely increase the overhead spent on software licences, hosting, solution maintenance, support, double data maintenance, etc.
According to the report from Mulesoft only 29% of the applications in the surveyed companies had any kind of integration to other systems.
In other words, a lot of the data in an organisation lives in silos and data is therefore duplicated and maintained in every application wherever the same entity appears.
So, a normal large operation could be running maybe 1000+ applications with most of them running without integration to other systems, it’s not hard to imagine that there is a large potential to consolidate applications to reduce direct and hidden costs in the organisation.
But the misery of having too many redundant applications doesn’t even stop there. Managing company data in silos running in applications – each optimised for a specific scope and purpose – has another major drawback.
Organisations also lose out on the data insights that can be gained by having all information about products, customers and other master data domains gathered together in a single location.
IT infrastructure consolidation with STEP from Stibo Systems
Companies that find themselves in a position with multiple applications and too many silos of data in the organisation should take a look at Master Data Management (MDM). The core principle of MDM is to establish a single record of all data objects in the organisation and then to share this information with relevant applications.
There are several MDM software tools available, but we prefer STEP from Stibo Systems. Companies implementing Stibo STEP will often find that they can decommission several legacy applications in their IT landscape as part of the consolidation of master data on a single platform.
This is because STEP provides a centralised platform for managing all master data, which often enables the company using STEP to retire multiple legacy applications that were previously used to manage data across different departments and data domains.
STEP is a very open and scalable platform and comes with a broad set of API’s as well as standard connectors to other popular enterprise software applications.
Legacy applications can be costly to maintain, and they often require significant resources to keep them up and running. Sooner or later, they will also become desupported which could introduce an operational risk for the organisation.
By consolidating master data onto a single platform like STEP, companies can streamline their operations, reduce costs, and improve data quality and accuracy.
In addition to reducing the number of legacy applications needed, implementing STEP can also help to reduce data duplication and inconsistencies.
With a single source of truth for master data, businesses can ensure that all departments and systems are using the same data, which can help to improve overall business efficiency and decision-making.
Overall, implementing a Stibo STEP MDM system can help businesses to modernise their data management practices and eliminate the inefficiencies associated with legacy systems.
Unit of Measure is 100% STEP focused - a Stibo Systems Partner
With more than 20 years of experience in implementing STEP for businesses across the globe our single focus is on making STEP the key to your success.
Book a free consultation with us and let’s together explore how we can help you consolidate your IT landscape with STEP.