Gartner Research

Application Rationalization: Burning Fat and Building Muscle

Published: 07 August 2006

ID: G00203228

Analyst(s): Lyn Robison


Application rationalization is a methodology for strengthening an enterprise software portfolio. It is an analytical approach to decisions about deploying, upgrading, and retiring enterprise applications. Enterprises can use it to liberate information technology (IT) resources from legacy applications and create an effective IT roadmap and project pipeline. The methodology also prepares the application portfolio for valuable IT initiatives, such as identity management (IdM), service-oriented architecture (SOA), and business process modeling (BPM). In this Application Platform Strategies overview, Analyst Lyn Robison explains how to reap the rewards of application rationalization.

Table Of Contents



  • Legacy Applications Are Stifling Innovation in IT
  • Maintenance Costs Become Titanic
  • Less Is More
  • Make the Most of Your Assets
  • Antidisestablishmentarianism
  • Risks
  • Recommendations
    • Recruit Upper Management Support
    • Manage the Effort as a Project
    • Gather an Appropriate Team
    • Use a Deliberate Methodology and Keep the Process Transparent
    • Establish Objective Evaluation Criteria
    • Remember That Process Is More Important Than Tools
    • Reiterate on a Regular Schedule
    • Leverage the Results

The Details

  • Overview of Application Rationalization
    • What Is Application Rationalization?
    • How Application Rationalization Works
    • Who Should Lead the Application Rationalization Effort?
    • The Rationale for Rationalization: Selling It to Management
    • The Inputs
    • The Outputs
  • Steps for Performing Application Rationalization
    • Build the Team
    • Avoid Analysis Paralysis
    • Define What Constitutes an “Application”
    • Establish the Evaluation Criteria
    • Collect the Data
    • Perform the Analysis
    • Plot the Results on the Star Chart
    • Get Input from the Stakeholders
  • Improving IT Effectiveness
    • Infiltrating the IT Planning and Budget Processes
    • Guiding the Creation of the IT Roadmap and Project Pipeline
    • Baseline for Vital IT Initiatives



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