What is Application Lifecycle Management?

The business world is becoming increasingly dependent on software to deliver services and products. This dependence has led to a rapid increase in the number of applications being used by businesses.

However, this same trend has also created a growing need for application management. More applications mean more risks and more responsibilities for IT departments. In fact, it's estimated that 60 percent of the global workforce will be working on mobile devices by 2025, which means that app management will be an even greater challenge in years to come.

Definition of Application Lifecycle Management

Application Lifecycle Management, ALM in short, is the framework for keeping track of the lifecycles of software applications. Like everything, software applications have a lifespan. After procuring, they need integration and then put into use. During their time in use, malfunctions are likely to happen, sooner or later. Some of these malfunctions are rather easy to repair and they leave no marks, but some others might be a burden for the whole lifecycle of software, slowing it down or hindering its potential. In such cases, the software might be retired/decommissioned or some other strategy like rehosting or re-platforming might be conducted. Or, Application Lifecycle Management can be conducted during the development phase of the application before it shows in several marketplaces and is deployed.

Application Lifecycle Management accounts for all these changes during the lifespan of the software. This methodical approach tracks these advancements, changes, and updates of the software and creates visual data to facilitate the overall control of the software. This whole process makes it easier to make decisions regarding investing in an application or decommissioning/retiring it. Visibility in the IT landscape is the key factor to maintaining such an efficient flow.

All in all, Application Lifecycle Management is the overall process of monitoring software. This framework might have different components from case to case: people, tools, software, etc. It is also associated with Application Portfolio Management and some Application Portfolio Management software, APM in short, provides their customers with a built-in ALM tool. See more about APM here.

Why is Application Lifecycle Management Important?

Application Lifecycle Management has become an important task for enterprises to ensure that their applications are performing at peak levels. 
Businesses cannot manage what they cannot measure and track. Application lifecycle management enables the monitoring of performance, health and productivity status of applications in the inventory of enterprises. This allows businesses to make informed decisions about how best to optimize the performance of their assets in order to maximize ROI on investments made in software development projects.

The goal of application lifecycle management is to ensure that applications are built correctly and meet business requirements, maintain a high level of quality during their life cycle, and retire them when they are no longer needed.

What are the Common Stages in Application Lifecycle Management?

ALM provides an integrated lifecycle monitoring, so keeping track of different stages in the lifespan of software is revealed as a comprehensive roadmap, let’s say. There are several stages in Application Lifecycle Management that are generally preferred. They could be labelled as follows:

  • Development

Companies that do not develop the application but only use it after procuring do not have anything to do with this step. This step is dedicated to the actual coding and structuring of the application. Application governance, application development, software testing, deployment, and operations & maintenance could be counted as the basic steps while developing an application.

As for companies that buy the application, getting info about the development phases of the software could be beneficial, too. Even though they might not prefer adding these steps into their Application Lifecycle Management roadmaps, info on “how the software was born” would help companies get acquainted with investments they are about to make.

  • Procuring

The purchase phase of an application is the first step in the lifecycle of an application for a company. It’s the literal starting date of the lifecycle of an application.

  • Integration

After procuring, applications may need somewhat of integration, depending on their sizes. For some applications, this process might stretch and grow longer while for others (SaaS, for example) an instant integration could be realized: "plug-and-play applications", they are called. In any case, the integration phase is better considered as a stage for Application Lifecycle Management.

  • Updates/changes

Every update or change in an application’s operation is a new page. Mapping down these advancements makes it easier to monitor how the application performed, later on. This way, comparing different versions of an application is also possible.

  • Migration, re-platforming, rehosting etc.

Quite a big change in an application’s lifecycle, some companies might decide to change their IT infrastructure, resulting in the emergence of the need to migrate these applications. For some applications, this migration process is seamless. Feel free to learn about Cloud Migration more.

  • Malfunctions

Though not wanted, malfunctions are bound to happen. They are important for analyzing how important an application is for the business processes. It’s because mapping down when the company lacked an application might be a key pivot to analyze the real business value of an application. On the other hand, seeing an application is quite malfunction-prone while retrospectively examining it might give ideas about finding a solution for these chronic malfunctions.

  • Retirement

The last stage of the lifecycle of an application is retirement or decommissioning, in other words. This means that an application is no longer needed and it’s out of the Application Inventory of a company.

How to Do Application Lifecycle Management?

Application Lifecycle Management has more business potential if employed as “company culture”. That is, applying ALM for a single application might save the day, but does not really mean much in the long run. Instead, a whole comprehensive process should better be conducted and every piece of an application in the inventory of a company should be accounted for.

Here’s why ALM is mostly associated with Application Portfolio Management. APM provides complete control over applications, including their lifecycles. This way, lifecycles of applications are digitalized and easier to evaluate as they are compiled in a single source of data. This way, it’s more credible and always up-to-date.

In short, it might be better to employ ALM as a segment under Application Portfolio Management. Selecting the correct software could be the first step of what is to come in the future regarding their overall business quality to realize APM for a company. After that, an integrated and overarching APM software could do the rest.

Loggle, a brand of MDP Group, offers Application Portfolio Management software. With Loggle, you can build inventories of applications in your business, track your IT costs and easily manage your applications throughout their lifecycle.


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