Enterprise Applications Gaining Prominence
The process by which organizations adopt enterprise applications is truly an interesting one! In some cases, it’s a planned and deliberate process. The organization identifies a need, defines requirements, requests proposals from vendors and selects. In many other cases it’s a slower and more organic process. A small team adopts an enterprise application, learns it, uses it and customizes it. With time the user-base grows with new business processes introduced and implemented by that enterprise application. Many times, before management even realizes it, that enterprise application (or suite of applications) becomes a cornerstone and critical component of the company’s business operations. Stakeholders within the organization rely on these applications in order to perform mission critical processes that are at the core of the organization’s business.
The consequences of disruption may range anywhere from loss of productivity (your highly paid IT staff is sitting idle) to more painfully tangible consequences (orders not shipped on time, stock price declining etc.)
Case in Point: Atlassian Jira
A common example we see in the wild for such a scenario is the adoption of an enterprise application such as Atlassian Jira. What many times starts as an adoption (most likely of the open-source version) by a small development team for internal issue-tracking system, grows into a full-fledged product or project management tool and collaboration system with hundreds or even thousands of active users across all lines of business. That Jira instance would typically go through some customizations (in the workflows, data schema and even look & feel) and reflects the current enterprise cumulative knowledge and up-to-date business processes. And since the process just described is organic, gradual (and even grassroot in nature) it may take a while before upper management realizes the true importance and criticality of this seemingly innocuous enterprise application.
A Proactive Approach to Governance
Such strategic enterprise applications that are highly critical to daily operation and overall success of your business should be maintained with care, attention and more importantly – proactively.
The same governance processes that apply to other mission-critical processes should be applied to the usage and operations of the enterprise application. The deployment environment and overall computing resources available to this application should be closely monitored. KPIs should be defined and continuously observed, thresholds and alerts should be configured, HA/DR plans implemented, tested and periodically revised. All in order to proactively maintain the health of the system, preempt adversities and address any potential issues before they occur.
And here’s another interesting thought – as this enterprise application runs an important part of the organization’s daily operations and processes, inevitably, it accumulates a throve of valuable data about the quality and efficiency of these business processes! Tapping into this data can yield a motherlode of important analytics and valuable insight into the operation of the business and can help good decision makers, well… make the good decisions…