Platform consolidation is a broad topic covering several aspects, but has a focused primary objective – to reduce costs by reuse. The reduction in costs is usually through consolidating multiple applications or software technologies into one and thus saving license and maintenance costs, or replacing aging servers to fully utilize all operational servers to increase efficiency and savings without sacrificing much. Platform consolidation projects are purely technology initiatives that often have little or no business benefit apart from cost savings. It is not uncommon though, for organizations to view this as an opportunity to rope in improvements through revamping the affected business processes and addressing simple usability and operability issues thus deriving some business benefit from the exercise. I have also seen organizations take up such projects as part of a major business initiative, in cases where Platform Consolidation is harder to justify to the business as a project on its own.
For a successful Platform Consolidation, organizations need to factor in several points including the cost of training for end-users, development teams and maintenance personnel as well as contractual obligations. The most challenging part of a platform consolidation, and one that I have seen under-estimated most often is the integration challenge – which requires the skills to analyze commonalities and rationalize differences, make tactical vs strategic decisions, understand and reconcile the dependencies with affected but unmutable applications, ensure that the new platform is functionally, operationally and performance-wise capable of catering to the combined user-group, and navigate the path while ensuring business continuity.
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