Application Lifecycle Management

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1 Application Lifecycle Management

2 Application Lifecycle Management It is important to ensure that the way applications are delivered meets the needs of the customer as defined in any SLAs. Much of the thrust of service improvements in recent years has centred on ITIL and the theme of process effectiveness. This has led to a much needed focus on core disciplines such as change and incident management, with a commensurate improvement in the standards of delivery. As in any discipline, however, there comes a point when continuing to focus on the same thing will yield diminishing returns and the core ITIL disciplines are now mature enough to allow focus to be moved elsewhere. ITILv3 and ITIL 2011 introduce new challenges in such areas as transition planning and designing for service, and this white paper discusses an aspect which is common to these frameworks - Application Lifecycle Management. Scope Application Lifecycle Management, or ALM for short, is the overall approach taken to the development, delivery and maintenance of applications from a service delivery perspective. It is important to ensure that the way applications are delivered meets the needs of the customer as defined in any SLAs and which will be backed up by the service teams inheriting them. However, not all companies allow their service teams effective access to the development lifecycle whereas addressing a service root cause at the business analysis stage can yield significant problem, usability and incident management benefits when the system eventually goes live. APPLICATION LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT A FRUITION PARTNERS WHITEPAPER 2

3 The illustration below shows the conventional demarcation between application development and service management in the classical systems lifecycle. Figure 1 An illustration of ALM based on the ITIL, ISO and CobiT frameworks Requirements Optimise Design Operate Build Deploy Service Management Phases Application Development Phases This lifecycle is described by all the major frameworks such as ITIL, CobiT and ISO and works well for conventional development methodologies where releases can be controlled using waterfall techniques. However, these frameworks do not fully satisfy two needs of the systems lifecycle performance and rapid deployment. Application performance management, or APM, is an approach that addresses how a system behaves in real world situations taking into account the perspectives of user experience, latency, cloud delivery and load balancing. APM is not a process defined by the major frameworks but something that can be deployed across any of them in the diagram above, to satisfy the optimise phase. APPLICATION LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT A FRUITION PARTNERS WHITEPAPER 3

4 Whether the tools to analyse installed systems work at the infrastructure or individual application level depends entirely on what problem they need to address for example, by regularly triggering a website transaction and comparing the results to the design specification to flag any discrepancy that may arise before a customer complaint is received. This needs both the SM and AD teams to work in tandem. Best practice in application management means having clearly understood processes. Another trend in the IT world is that of DevOps. Unlike ITIL or the ISO frameworks, DevOps originated in the USA as an outcome from the need to deploy new applications more rapidly than a conventional waterfall methodology would allow. In essence, it allows the systems developer to control every aspect of the software lifecycle, including release and support, which is contrary to how ITIL is designed. The logic of this can be seen in the world of small Apps, say for mobile phones where speed of deployment is essential or for rapid updates to real time systems. Whilst it may appear to undo 20 years of best practice, in reality DevOps works because the incremental releases are small in relation to the infrastructure on which they run and can easily be removed in the case of difficulty. This is not the same as letting developers launch a major new CRM system on the main company server and so as a practice it sits alongside, rather than replacing, conventional release management. It will inevitably challenge the way that current processes work if timescales are a concern and so should trigger the development of more release automation and testing in the major SM toolsets which is no bad thing. Best Practice doesn t just happen Best practice in application management means having clearly understood processes which ensure that: applications are developed against business and user needs effective test, user acceptance and release processes are in place appropriate emphasis is given to governance and security considerations APPLICATION LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT A FRUITION PARTNERS WHITEPAPER 4

5 the organisation is not financially or legally exposed by an application release released applications are efficiently managed by ITIL-based service management methods or by a well controlled DevOps framework end user experience is constantly analysed by on-going real time performance monitoring Poor response will ensure you lose customers, frustrate users and give market share to your competitors because applications that do not fulfil user requirements, are not well specified and take too long to deploy are uncompetitive. a rapid return on investment and market share is gained by efficient application lifecycle management within the organisation According to a recent survey which looked at 200 top European on line organisations, poor application response can cost each company in excess of 500,000 pa. Poor response will ensure you lose customers, frustrate users and give market share to your competitors because applications that do not fulfil user requirements, are not well specified and take too long to deploy are uncompetitive. Case Study A major financial institution had initiated a service improvement programme which tasked its service management teams with improving delivery to best practice. However, as well as targeting specific changes in the normal operations cycle, it also looked at ALM and found that it was only 72% compliant with ITIL standards and also returned 60% of level 4, rather than the desired 100%, against the CobiT maturity framework. This meant that further improvements in delivery standards were unlikely to be realised until the systems lifecycle was overhauled. The company brought in a new AM partner certified to CMMI level 5 (equivalent to CobiT level 5) in order to ensure alignment of development activity with service objectives. APPLICATION LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT A FRUITION PARTNERS WHITEPAPER 5

6 Call to Action Addressing ALM is a way of ensuring service management success by reducing the number of security, operability and usability issues passing through the development lifecycle unchecked. It requires a very different approach to the normal service improvement programme since the agenda crosses departmental boundaries, although the benefits are organisationwide. It is thought that given the emphasis given in ITIL to service transition, ALM is one of the key mechanisms available to deliver the next stage of quantifiable service improvements. For More Information: Contact Fruition Partners at or You can also browse some related resources on our website: ESM Showcase Case Studies Webinars APPLICATION LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT A FRUITION PARTNERS WHITEPAPER 6

7 APPLICATION LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT A FRUITION PARTNERS WHITEPAPER 7

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