Application Management

Application Management (AM) is the lifecycle process for software applications, covering how an application operates, its maintenance, version control, and upgrades from cradle to grave. Application management services are an enterprise-wide endeavor providing governance designed to ensure applications run at peak performance and as efficiently as possible, from the end-user experience of integration with enterprise back-office functions such as database, ERP, and SaaS cloud functions such as CRM. In this manner, AM acts as a service operation function that manages and supports applications and key stakeholders who provide operational proficiency or technical expertise through the lifecycle. Some AM processes include Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and Application Performance Management (APM).

Some key stakeholders in AM are:

  • Application Manager/Application Analyst: Owns the AM process and thus manages the overall application lifecycle. Typically, there would be one Application Analyst or a team of Application Analysts for each major application. Also responsible for performing skills gap analysis and acquiring needed skills or staff.
  • Business Unit Owners: Business-level staff members who view applications and AM in terms of bottom-line benefits, increased productivity, impact on revenue, and improved competitive stance.
  • Developers/DevOps/DevSecOps: This group of IT professionals is charged with the design, development, deployment, integration, security, and maintenance of applications.
  • Application users: Users provide feedback on productivity and performance, and key concerns for users include privacy, and security of the applications.

Application management is a key factor in a business’s ability to innovate. By ensuring that business functions are being properly addressed by modern applications, business process solutions can be brought to market more efficiently, quickly, and at a lower total cost. When applications are efficiently managed, more IT resources are available to focus on new business challenges and competitive issues.

Traditionally, AM was part of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) processes, specifically as part of the ITIL Process Map as outlined in the process overview of ITIL Application Management.

Once the build-vs-buy decision for a given application is made, AM stakeholders collaborate with technical teams including DevSecOps to ensure the requisite skills to design, test, manage, and improve the application’s services are on hand or acquired and constantly refined to meet changing environment and needs. Note that the exact functions of an application management system are constantly evolving, just as application development methodologies have evolved from waterfall to agile to cloud-native.