Poor strategy leaves IT organisations unaware of debt issue


Poor strategy leaves IT organisations unaware of debt issue

Microscope contributor

New global research confirms IT organisations need a more robust application portfolio management strategy to curb IT debt and inform mainframe investments, writes Linda Endersby.

A hefty 46% of IT decision makers have admitted they do not know the value of their IT debt, defined as the cost of clearing the backlog of maintenance to bring the corporate applications portfolio up to date. 44% of confirmed they don't have, or don't know if they have, a structured process for measuring and managing their IT debt and 45% of those are not planning to implement one.

"Mainframe Transformation: the Elephant in the Room", is an independent global research study undertaken by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by Micro Focus, provider of enterprise application modernisation testing and management solutions.

590 CIOs and IT directors from around the globe estimated their IT debt at $10.9m (£6.8m) on average, with $8.5m attributed to mainframe applications, and guessed their IT debt would grow on average by 9% over the next five years. Gartner estimates that IT debt will break the trillion dollar mark globally in the next five years.

The Micro Focus research did show that 87% of respondents confirmed that they have a structured review process strategy for their application portfolio, initiated on average every four months. 

"The research results shows that IT organisations are tinkering under the bonnet with their application review and updates today rather than installing a new engine, creating a frightening balance sheet liability," said Stuart McGill, CTO at Micro Focus.

More than half (57%) admitted to having an unclear picture of the detail with one in 20 saying that their application portfolio was "a confusing mess" and nearly a fifth said it contained legacy applications that no one knew how to update and were afraid to touch.

Meanwhile between 15 and 20% confirmed that they have redundant applications running without the means to identify and retire them or thatc merger and acquisition activity had created an unclear picture of their applications and what should be retired.

"Over this decade, IT organisations will have to transform from project-obsessed organizations to asset-obsessed ones, particularly if they are to get maximum value from the average 27% of annual IT budgets that respondents confirmed were allocated to operating, sustaining and improving the integrity of mainframe applications and their assets," added McGill.

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