In a presentation for MEGA’s Exchange Conference, Francis Bell, Head of Architecture Methods and Platforms at Nordea outlined the bank’s journey of application management.
The bank’s challenge was to reduce the complexity that had evolved in its application management. This involved needing to reduce the number of registered applications in order to reduce complexity, assess the capabilities of new applications, and bring down the overall cost of running applications and application development across the bank.
The use of enterprise architecture was required to assess the IT assets and applications in relation to users' role in the application, and in doing so, to change its AM in terms of unstructured to structured.
Nordea took the approach of carrying out an inventory of its applications to rationalise application management services. This approach has enabled the bank's IT team to organise its application management processes in a way that reduces the number of registered applications and makes it easier to understand and roll-out new applications to users, and the role in the application.
This has facilitated the overall objective of reducing complexity and bringing down the overall cost and effort of running applications. The primary driver of the project was to reduce the cost required for maintaining the application data, maintaining applications generally, and updating the documentation of each application in a viable fashion. There was also the need to be able to carry out best practices for application management services and decommissioning in a metrics-based manner that can be used by the IT team and across the whole organisation.
Being able to manage core IT assets was fundamental to being able to implement fully-fledged application management. To achieve this, application consolidation has been carried out so as to reduce the effort that is required for day-to-day management, and to increase the data accuracy on managing applications.
This part of the process has been carried out in two stages:
1) Consolidate the application information model on an application. This was about AM in terms of what data is needed to be captured on an application. Who is asking us to capture that data, what does it mean? How often should it be updated, and who should update it ? Is is just the job of the app manager? These questions were not answered before this journey. Great to have the tools to capture this information.
2) Consolidate the number of applications into data that could be fully understood and consumed, and decisions could be based on it.
Bringing the application portfolio into HOPEX IT Portfolio Management enabled the Nordea team to see that in some cases they were trying to manage up to 160 data points on single applications. This was clearly an unsustainable level of work and effort on each application.
This exercise enabled Nordea to see the bigger picture with application performance management. It also made it possible to truly understand its application portfolio and manage it more efficiently by consolidating the application information and labeling it in such a way that it can be more easily used.
The data from different initiatives such as data security and GDPR were labeled differently but had the same purpose, making it repetitive and resource-heavy. This meant each application was high maintenance to manage and required repetitive manual work to carry out the simplest administration tasks.
The information was consolidated which enabled a data model to be built around each application. From this, rule books were established to enable a deeper understanding of each application. This management of the information model has enabled application managers to clearly see fundamental details - such as who was asking for information, understanding what it meant, who was meant to update it, and how often the process should take place.
The result is a well-structured information model for each application. There was also a need to make the information reusable, and able to be maintained on a day-to-day basis by stakeholders.
This shared repository of all applications includes:
When application architects move on to other initiatives and projects, continuous delivery requires that the data can still be updated. The app manager is therefore empowered to be able to update the information in the centralised HOPEX repository.
An internal website generated from HOPEX is used to communicate the information to relevant stakeholders across the organisation. Using the consistent common information model that has been established, the website communicates what has been documented on each application.
This enables applications to be re-used in the knowledge that the data can be trusted for other initiatives such as transformation, business architecture, regulatory compliance, and internal controls.
The benefits of the project for Nordea can be classified into four main areas:
1. Data maintenance and data analysis: Reducing the number of applications into a consolidated list makes application assessments for compliance (i.e. GDPR, Information Security) much easier and less time and resource consuming for Application Owners and Providers.
2. Decommissioning: A consolidated list of applications allows applications to be assessed as tightly integrated groups and therefore decommissioned as a group if necessary.
3. Dependency mapping: The consolidated list of applications also makes dependency mapping more feasible, in order to support impact analysis when planning for change, new applications and incident management analysis.
4. Application Portfolio Management: Nordea now have a structured list of technology that enables them to assess applications at a comparable level. This facilitates next step activities to identify redundancy, promote reuse, and roadmap transitions accordingly.
Nordea is a full-service universal bank with a total operating income of EUR 8.5 billion, total assets of EUR 554.8 billion in 2019 and around 30,000 employees.
The Finnish-based bank serves its customers through presence in 19 countries, including our four Nordic home markets – Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Nordea is one of the top 10 financial services companies in Europe based on market capitalisation.