SoftwareOne case study

Utility gains IT asset insights and builds enterprise architecture practice

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A utility company gained visibility into its IT applications using SoftwareOne’s Application Portfolio Management. This saved USD 2M in the first year and positioned the company to build an enterprise architecture (EA) practice.

A utility company that operates in power generation and power distribution wanted to gain a better understanding of all aspects of its business. It was looking to achieve cost savings, but it also wanted to gain clear insight into its IT environment to better understand what applications it was using, who owned them and whether they were necessary. Most significantly, the company wanted to use that information as a base to implement an enterprise architecture (EA) practice in the business. An EA practice helps the company create an IT infrastructure to align with business goals, gain insight and enable analysis to further define and refine goals, and that would help create a strategic vision for the future.

  • USD 2M savings

    in software licensing and maintenance costs

  • 17% reduction

    in applications

  • Full visibility

    into software consumption and costs

Utility company
Application Portfolio Management
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Established business seeks to optimize application use

The utility wanted to develop an EA practice so that it could make better, data-driven business decisions involving its IT environment. To do this, it needed to understand its existing environment so that it could analyze and optimize the number and use of applications.

It wanted greater visibility into its application portfolio, to know what apps it owned, what was on its servers and in its data centers, what it was paying for and what it was actually using. It also wanted to take a holistic view of the portfolio and implement an EA practice to build a capability model, build its portfolio and perform a rationalization analysis.

The company was aware of some duplication in its system, which included legacy systems built up over decades. In addition to setting up an EA practice, goals were driving out costs and optimizing its application portfolio for a possible cloud migration.

To pursue its goals, the company enlisted the services of a large consulting company. After about a year and USD 1M spent, it was no closer to its goal.

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Integrated way of working delivers success

The utility company was eager to see results after a year of no progress. It asked SoftwareOne if it could help it achieve its goals of better insight into its IT environment, optimization, cost savings and laying the foundation for an EA practice. SoftwareOne proposed a two-phase approach.

Phase one was inventorying all the applications and building the business capability model. Another part of phase one was doing the initial set of recommendations and analysis. This involved analyzing all the applications and evaluating how they were being used and if they were necessary. It also involved finding duplicate applications that could be decommissioned without negative impact. This phase also involved ranking the applications in terms of how easy they could be retired and what the return would be for doing so. SoftwareOne also validated its recommendations with the business.

Phase two was the start of the business conversations. These included strategic decisions about which capabilities to go after. During this phase, the owners of certain capabilities and applications were consulted.

The idea was to identify easy wins, more involved or complex cases and to do the optimization or decommissioning without disrupting the business. The focus was on cataloguing and optimizing applications first. Only towards the end of the optimization process, did the savings capture work commence. And then came the implementation of ServiceNow APM, the tool and the sustaining processes. From planning to ServiceNow implementation, the project took about three years in total.

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Among the business benefits delivered:

  • Software license cost avoidance: Through implementation of Application Portfolio Management identifying unnecessary applications.
  • Increased visibility of IT landscape: Including improved insights into application costs.
  • Reduced maintenance costs: Eliminating unnecessary applications and hardware reduced resources needed for maintenance.
  • Optimized IT environment to enable EA practice: A full cataloguing and understanding of applications gave needed insights for analysis.
  • Implemented ServiceNow: ServiceNow APM and APM Processes for sustainment.

Utility company realizes savings and is energized for growth

By working directly in an integrated team with the utility company, SoftwareOne developed a strong rapport with stakeholders in the company and a hands-on understanding of the business. The team’s agility helped it realize USD 2M in the first year from easy wins, decommissioning unnecessary apps.

Those savings came primarily from software maintenance and licensing, though there were other, harder to quantify savings as well. This could include infrastructure savings from shutting down a server made redundant when the application running on it was decommissioned.

The optimization didn’t just occur with internal systems. SoftwareOne also helped identify customer-facing applications that could be spun down. These included customer billing and credit, customer contract management, project support services and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, among others. Many of these represent multi-year decommissioning efforts that rank high in difficulty. The goal was not to simply cut applications, but to consolidate and integrate applications so customers had a faster, better experience.

The utility achieved its goal of a rationalized application portfolio that it could incorporate in an EA practice to help drive better decisions in the process. It eliminated waste, cutting unneeded applications it previously had, representing savings of more than 17%. The company also benefited from the knowledge transfer that came from working closely with the SoftwareOne team integrated over the years of the project. The implementation of ServiceNow APM and APM Processes will help ensure the company maintains application portfolio best practices to go forward efficiently.

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