Investment decisions in IT and aligning with financial goals can take time and effort. But with the right application portfolio management software for IT investments, businesses can not only avoid waste but also achieve 3x ROI.

However, the choice can be overwhelming with numerous software available, ranging from free apps to high-cost analysis tools. Some platforms offer a mix of features, such as portfolio management and investment management.

In this blog post, we will explore application portfolio management tools, shedding light on how you can simplify your IT application portfolio management. 

We'll discuss the diverse range of options available, helping you make an informed choice that aligns perfectly with your financial aspirations for your business.

What is application portfolio management software?

Application portfolio management software is a tool that organizations use to oversee and analyze their entire portfolio of software applications efficiently. It provides a comprehensive view of the performance, costs, and alignment of applications with business goals. It helps identify redundancies, reduce IT complexity, and ensure that the application landscape supports the company's strategic objectives.

Application portfolio management platforms involve the following:

  • Identify and eliminate redundant and unused applications
  • Consolidate similar applications into a single new application
  • Retire older and more expensive-to-maintain applications
  • Determine which data flows through which applications to optimize security controls.

Elements of an application portfolio management practice

Here are the key practices that companies must follow for implementing a robust application portfolio management:

  1. Create an inventory of IT assets

Many company employees or departments purchase their own SaaS tools without procurement or IT oversight, which leads to shadow IT becoming a significant issue. According to Cisco's research, 80% of the employees in a company use shadow IT.

The solution to this problem is to maintain a complete technology inventory. It must include all your IT assets, key features, and associated costs. This entails listing technical information, such as versions and platforms, and business information, such as departments that use them and the accountable people.

  1. Implement methods and resources to maintain and manage inventory

Relying solely on manual methods and spreadsheets to maintain and manage inventory, relying solely on manual methods and spreadsheets is inefficient and prone to errors.

That’s where application portfolio management tools can automate updates and management tasks. Using application portfolio management software, you can minimize manual interventions. 

Such software must integrate with the organization's broader information management systems for a more cohesive approach.

  1. Evaluate and optimize the technology portfolio

According to G2, companies generate around $34 billion in yearly licensing waste each year between the US and UK. To avoid this, companies must assess their application portfolio to address redundancy, capability gaps, misalignment with business priorities, and technical debt. 

As business landscapes continue to evolve, the analysis of the tech portfolio is an ongoing process. This analysis involves:

  • Recognizing specific areas of functional redundancy
  • Identifying where key capabilities lack sufficient technology support 
  • Aligning applications with strategic objectives.
  1. Ensure synchronization between technology and business roadmaps

Aligning your company's application portfolio with its strategic priorities and investments can greatly improve performance. 

This alignment establishes a clear link between capabilities and value, offers better visibility into necessary technology advancements, and instills greater confidence in all technology-related choices.

By doing so, companies foster business agility, which is a vital capability for any company seeking to transform its business and make better use of digital resources to consistently enhance performance and provide more value to customers and themselves.

  1. Align applications to business capabilities

Applications should be aligned with business capabilities to maximize the value of application portfolio management. You need to think beyond mere maintenance.

Application portfolio management should be leveraged to advance overarching business objectives. Engaging business leaders is crucial to identify priority goals and direct investments.

For instance, application portfolio management can facilitate cloud migration if it aligns with your missions. This integrated approach ensures sustained alignment and consistent achievement of technology and business goals.

The top 6 application portfolio management tools to streamline your IT investments 

Here is a list of six application portfolio management software with their features:

  1. Spendflo

Spendflo is an application portfolio management tool that simplifies your SaaS procurement and renewal. It helps businesses to negotiate, buy, and renew their SaaS tools. Spendflo helps you save time and money by automating and optimizing the process of requesting, approving, and onboarding all your IT software.

Moreover, this application management software offers the best buying, negotiation, renewal, and tracking service for your SaaS subscriptions, helping companies save up to 30% on their SaaS spend.

Spendflo's team of expert buyers confidently leverages benchmark data and insights from companies to negotiate the optimal price. The platform efficiently manages SaaS contracts and provides comprehensive reporting of leads to make the entire SaaS buying cycle faster, cheaper, and more efficient. 

Here are some key features of Spendflo as an application portfolio management tool:

  • Discovery, contract management, approval workflows, assisted buying and vendor intelligence: This helps organizations gain 360° context before making purchases. You can confidently discover the perfect software solution for your business needs with the latest updates on new SaaS tools and evaluate compatibility with existing tools.
  • Spend analytics and usage tracking: This provides insights into how effectively an organization is managing its spending and using its purchased applications. It identifies the signs of overspending, enabling finance teams to proactively save costs and focus on specific areas.
  • Sentiment hub: This enables you to discover user sentiment related to the SaaS tools being used, which assists you in gaining actionable insights.
  • Vendor risk assessment: This helps you evaluate the vendor’s security practices and protocols to ensure that they meet the organization’s standards and requirements.

Pros

  • Up to 30% savings on your SaaS stack
  • Offers contract renewal notifications
  • Reduced costs due to practical evaluation of SaaS products procured through efficient negotiation and fast turnaround
  • A complete dashboard that tracks transaction status, renewals, and negotiations.

Cons

  • Automatic uploads of signed documents to the platform are missing.

G2 rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars. Their highest-rated features include spend tracking and SaaS utilization tracking.

Pricing: Starting at $2500 per month for companies with an annual spend of $250K - $1 M

  1. ServiceNow (Application Portfolio Management)

ServiceNow is a cloud-based platform that helps organizations improve the efficiency of their operations by automating and managing digital workflows. One of the modules offered by ServiceNow is the application portfolio management platform, which is part of its IT Business Management suite.

The ServiceNow application portfolio management module provides several key features to help organizations manage their application portfolio effectively. These features include:

  • Application portfolio management portal: This feature provides a consolidated interface where managers can access actionable, real-time insights to make informed decisions.
  • Application portfolio: This allows you to make data-driven decisions on investing, sustaining, or replacing your business applications.
  • Capability mapping: This feature ensures that your organization's technology investments and services align with your business value streams by employing capability-based planning.
  • Technology portfolio management: This feature enables managers to monitor the versions and life cycles of the technology that runs their critical business apps, helping them manage technology risk effectively.

Pros

  • Workflows are implemented in a backend process for tasks, approvals, and auto-populating required fields
  • No coding required to integrate the platform with third-party applications

Cons

  • Requires enhancements in the reporting and dashboard functionalities
  • Hard to predict license requirements accurately

G2 rating: 4.3/5

Pricing: Custom quote on request

  1. Zylo 

Zylo, a SaaS management tool, offers visibility into your organization's SaaS applications and uncovers shadow IT. 

Zylo's AI-powered discovery engine monitors SaaS spending, licenses, and usage, providing insights to manage and optimize your SaaS portfolio efficiently. 

Some of the key features of Zylo are:

  • Contract negotiation: It manages negotiations from end-to-end, handling all communication with the vendor to facilitating internal and external approvals.
  • Alerts and reports: It provides an accurate view of your SaaS inventory with rogue purchase alerts and reports on custom metrics.

Pros

  • Extensive data reporting features
  • Robust security measures and collaboration features
  • Seamless integration with platforms such as Microsoft, Salesforce, and Slack

Cons

  • No transparent pricing
  • Absence of a free trial option
  • Limited support and documentation resources

G2 rating: 4.8/5

Pricing: Custom quote on request

  1. LeanIX

LeanIX provides solutions for enterprise architecture management (EAM), SaaS management platform (SMP), and value stream management (VSM). These solutions help organizations improve their operations by providing visibility into their IT estate, enabling them to make better decisions faster.

  • EAM: It helps organizations in informed decision-making, change management, and aligning technology with business goals. EAM visualizes application landscapes, IT components, and business capabilities, enabling consistent oversight for effective application portfolio management.
  • SMP: IT helps organizations manage their SaaS applications by providing visibility into usage and spending. This enables organizations to reduce SaaS spending and increase purchase efficiencies.
  • VSM: LeanIX’s VSM solution fosters developer autonomy by uniting engineering teams through a central service catalog. A deep grasp of all services fosters reuse, minimizes duplication, and speeds up vulnerability responses. This streamlines DevOps, enabling resource allocation to prioritize ongoing innovation.

Pros

  • Enables you to split up the EAM repository into manageable sections 
  • Easy to crowdsource continuous and iterative improvement of the application portfolio 
  • Offers easily consumable dashboards and reports

Cons

  • Limited admin features
  • Data patch tool is not available

G2 rating

Pricing: Custom quote on request

  1. Flexera One 

Flexera One is an IT asset management solution designed for organizations with intricate hybrid environments. It offers visibility into IT assets spanning on-premises, SaaS, and the cloud, empowering data-driven decision-making. 

With Flexera One, businesses can manage complexity, minimize risks, cut costs, and optimize technology investments. 

Here are some key features of Flexera One:

  • Unified view: It offers visibility into software, SaaS, and cloud-product usage, facilitating efficient vendor negotiations and contract renewals.
  • Cost reduction: The platform helps reduce costs by identifying opportunities for optimization and rationalization across the technology estate.
  • Insights: You can access actionable insights spanning software, SaaS, and cloud assets in your IT estate. This empowers decision-making regarding end-of-life and end-of-support assets and opportunities for rationalization.

Pros:

  • User-friendly self-service interface for easy navigation and a more streamlined user experience
  • Improved asset discovery capabilities for better visibility and control over cloud resources

Cons:

  • Increased resource consumption in private cloud environments, lacking resource allocation and efficiency
  • Custom actions may result in slower deployment speed compared to underlying commands

G2 rating: 3.7/5

Pricing: Custom quote on request

  1. Ardoq 

Ardoq is a data-powered solution for the enterprise architecture of any organization. The software assists entities in strategizing, implementing, and forecasting the consequences of alterations within their workforce, projects, strategies, workflows, software, hardware, and competencies.

Some of its key features include the following:

  • Ardoq helps to deliver business outcomes with architecture that evolves with your organization.
  • It predicts the impact of change across their people, projects, strategies, processes, applications, infrastructure, and capabilities.
  • Ardoq dashboards aid interactive visualizations, and diagrams allow users to focus on understanding interdependencies between technology and people and spend less time documenting.

Pros

  • Powerful data crunching tools
  • Offers lots of ways to display data
  • Can auto-import databases

Cons

  • Only suitable for enterprises
  • No transparent pricing

G2 rating: 4.8/5

Pricing: Ardoq offers a base plan and add-ons. Custom quote on request

Application portfolio management tools: Beacon for your IT investments

In the realm of IT investments, selecting the right path can be overwhelming due to the abundance of options. Choosing the appropriate software solution can help companies gain valuable insights, optimize their application portfolio management processes, and achieve long-term financial stability.

Spendflo enables businesses to reduce application portfolio management costs by up to 30%. With our team of expert buyers and intuitive platform, you can confidently manage procurement, renewals, and upgrades without any hassle!

Guru Nicketan
Content Strategist
Karthikeyan Manivannan
Design

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