The task of organizing applications, sorting through code and crafting an enterprise architecture that fits a customer's vision is a complicated challenge for any technology vendor to pursue on its own.
Unsurprisingly, vendors operating in this space are looking for partnerships to sell products and create synergies, as customers evaluate their application portfolios and capabilities. A collaborative approach is what executives at CAST Software Inc. had in mind when the company launched a partner program in early 2016. CAST, a provider of software analysis and measurement, offers Highlight, a software as a service-based analysis tool for custom application portfolios. The product scans application code to assess the risk, complexity and cost of customers' portfolios, according to CAST.
The company's Highlight Partner Program aims to push Highlight into the enterprise architecture (EA), application portfolio management (APM) and project portfolio management markets. The partnering initiative reaches out to technology partners such as independent software vendors (ISVs) as well as service providers such as consulting and advisory firms. With offices in New York, and several major European cities, CAST intends to strike strategic partnerships with U.S. and global companies.
CAST officials said Highlight can play a role in very large application initiatives that involve a multitude of capabilities, supporting initiatives such as large-scale consolidation and digital transformation.
"We decided to establish the partner program to have Highlight be a very valuable complement to these other solutions," said Jeff Fraleigh, global head for CAST Highlight.
He added that the idea behind the Highlight Partner Program is to bring top-of-the-line products together, develop innovative offerings, and forge a go-to-market strategy with products that complement each other and broaden the scope of work that can be done during product engagements.
APM, EA partners
One company that has joined the Highlight Partner Program is BiZZdesign, a Dutch enterprise architecture and business process management software development vendor. BiZZdesign's application portfolio management software, called Enterprise Studio, is used in verticals like financial services, banking, insurance, government and retail.
Any customer or prospect taking a serious look at their application portfolios and capabilities as they relate to business transformation will benefit from the Highlight and BiZZdesign partnership, said Robert Staples, BiZZdesign's global channel director.
"We provide fact-based APM, which takes the guess work out of the picture for EA teams trying to justify costs and measure the viability of modernizing core applications. Once they install Highlight, the business data is sent to our APM solution, and the insights are all there," Staples said.
Alexandre WentzoCEO, Casewise
Staples said the companies offer free trials for both offerings, with a limited scope of work. In addition, as part of their partnership, each company will sell its own offerings and partner where it makes sense, he added.
BiZZdesign and CAST provide "a mission-critical solution as prospects and customers seek to rationalize, modernize or sunset their applications. We see demand for what Highlight and BiZZdesign provide for APM because this is where the business and IT align to understand where to make investments in application development that will drive business transformation," Staples said.
Another member of the Highlight Partner Program is Casewise, a company based in London that helps clients with enterprise architecture and business transformation projects.
Wentzo added that any IT rationalization or digital transformation initiative needs to start with documentation of the current state of relevant applications in addition to the roadmap for improvement.
"The end-to-end traceability from CAST Highlight and Casewise provides very valuable analysis of customers' application portfolios and clear insights for IT and business decision-makers to help them be successful," Wentzo said. "IT modernization would be a nightmare without visibility and analysis of your technology layer."
CAST's new partner initiative comes at a time when application failures are occurring all too frequently -- though usually not publically -- and organizations are struggling to prevent outages, said Melinda-Carol Ballou, program director for IDC's Application Life-Cycle Management research.
She points out that system failures caused by application code glitches such as the recent incident at Southwest Airlines Co., can halt business transactions and increase financial costs in calculable and incalculable ways. Similarly, loss of power in a Delta Airlines data center sparked a chain reaction of events, which, in a complex IT environment with numerous interdependencies, led to more than 2,000 flight cancelations.
A company's reputation and customer relationships can also be damaged. As a result, companies are looking for portfolio capabilities that enable a better understanding of how to architect and design their enterprise.
On the project portfolio management side, applications should be prioritized. Companies want to look at where there's more value, where there's greater risk, and where you can make better decisions about managing your applications, Ballou said. She added that the Highlight product is well positioned to help companies assess their application problems.
"To optimize application performance management and monitoring you want to have visibility into where the problems are, and Highlight's code analytics offers customers a better approach to designing their applications both to help prevent the downtime and to avert the danger of system failures," Ballou said.
She also said companies need to be able to create more flexible designs across different platforms such as mobile and the internet of things, which increase the level of complexity for deployment environments.
Additional reporting by John Moore
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