2016 Rising Star Awards
Application Rationalization Lead, General Services Administration
- By Mark Rockwell
- Nov 11, 2016
Kathryn Palmer leads the General Services Administration’s application rationalization project, which is a fancy way of saying she hunts down apps that aren’t pulling their weight. It is a structured methodology for analyzing a portfolio of applications. But when she started with the acquisition portfolio, there were three lists of applications, none of which were authoritative.
Palmer began by surveying users and systems administrators for their business and technical input, then she graphed the different phases of each application’s life cycle according to whether to tolerate, invest, migrate or eliminate an app.
Then she led deep dives into each app with the business and technical owners to determine the capabilities the application supports, how widely it is used, associated costs and other details. Based on that information, she and her team developed recommendations for senior agency leaders.
Her efforts resulted in 33 applications being tagged for elimination and an estimated $9 million in cost avoidance from fiscal 2015 to 2017. The estimated return on investment was a whopping 1,320 percent.
In addition, Palmer identified four-year strategic roadmaps to indicate whether each application would be tolerated, invested in, migrated or eliminated over that period. The roadmaps help agency executives make data-driven investment decisions.
Her managers say she maintained a positive attitude even when political, technical or business challenges arose. The project never fell behind schedule and was successful throughout the two years. Beyond the cost savings, they say her work has resulted in centralized data, better resource utilization, increased security and improved communication between apps’ business and technical owners.
Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.
Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.
Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.
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