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IT Service Status
IT Service Status

Administrative Systems Application TIME Model

Each year, the Administrative Systems leadership evaluates the application portfolio based on a detailed analysis of systems and capabilities evaluated on Business Fitness, Technical Fitness, and the total cost to operate.

Business Fitness

Business Fitness assesses the application based on how well the application supports the business partner’s needs. Business Fitness indicators include:

  • Fit for current business processes
  • Information quality, timeliness, and privacy
  • Future potential

Technical Fitness

Technical Fitness assesses the application based on how well the technical stack supports the application. Technical Fitness indicators include:

  • Reliance on skills and subject matter experts
  • Maintainability
  • Architectural alignment
  • Vendor viability and support
  • Security
  • Production stability
  • Operating and maintenance costs

Cost to Operate

Cost to operate reflects the total cost of resources to implement, operate, and update the application, including licensing costs, consulting fees, hardware costs, and person hours.

TIME Model Overview

Results of this analysis are plotted into four quadrants to indicate the path forward for each application: Tolerate, Invest, Migrate, or Eliminate.

  • Tolerate — the application is in good technical shape but lacking in business support, so IT would tolerate it in the portfolio until such time as the business wanted to invest in improving its business fitness.
  • Invest — the application is in good shape, so you should invest in it when asked to add features or turn on some new functionality of a packaged application, while also keeping it technically healthy.
  • Migrate (or Modernize) — The application does just what the business wants, but IT is concerned with the age and brittleness of the underlying technology. If the business wants functional improvements, IT should try to address this technical debt simultaneously by migrating the technical stack or the packaged application to current, supported technology.
  • Eliminate (or Replace) — These applications may be in such bad shape it is not worth spending on them. If they are not needed, or the functionality is now available in a better application, they could be eliminated. If the functionality is still needed, they might need to be replaced.

Tolerate - Re-engineer

Applications in the “tolerate” category have medium-to-high technical fitness and low-to-medium business fitness. From a risk perspective, they are not the applications with the highest need of attention in the portfolio and are often left alone. They should, however, be monitored in case they cross the tipping point where they need to be rebuilt or replaced to meet business fitness.

Many applications will move into this category at some point, and the boundary for “good enough” shifts with every change in business context or technology.

Invest - Innovate, Evolve

Applications in the “invest” category have medium-to-high technical fitness and medium-to-high business fitness. To keep them in shape, Northwestern should invest in these applications and evolve them. Any newly-implemented application should align with the Invest quadrant. If not, it is an indicator that the wrong application was selected or the application was improperly installed.

Migrate - Modernize

Applications in the “migrate” category have low-to-medium technical fitness and medium-to-high business fitness. They are valuable business assets and need immediate attention in the form of technical remediation or migration programs to preserve business value and reduce risk.

The low-to-medium technical fitness can be caused by the use of old or unsupported technology, lack of skilled workers, high complexity, or high technical debt. Poorly architected applications or badly structured code can also cause an application to be classified in this category.

Eliminate - Replace, Consolidate

Applications in the “eliminate” category have low-to-medium technical fitness and low-to-medium business fitness. The goal is to decommission them, but business dependencies and dependencies with other systems need to be resolved first.

Enterprise Application Time Analysis Models

The Application Time Analysis models support the core set of capabilities Northwestern requires to execute and fulfill its mission as shown in the Northwestern Business Capabilities.  The most current TIME Models can be found in the Administrative Systems SharePoint.