Over the years, Prof. Dutia has developed a set of python applications to support learning, teaching and administration processed in the Biomedical Teaching Organisation (BMTO). These applications don't follow the accessibility guidelines or GDPR. They are solely supported by Prof Dutia who is retired in late 2018. While Prof Dutia expects to continue as an Emeritus professor in January 2019 and wishes to continue to provide support to these applications, BMTO has a need to fulfil its legal requirements, remove a single point of failure and identify a sustainable support model for each application.
This project reviewed the current technologies, infrastructure and support for each application:
- to assess the application against expect standards and legal requirements of accessibility and GDPR
- to identify a sustainable/centrally supported long term home for the application
- to propose options to migrate the application from its current home to the preferred long term home.
It is expected that each application would have a distinct long term home and migration path. Some applications are expected to be straightforward to migrate and take advantage of existing services, e.g. SharePoint workflows. However, it is also expected that some applications may need to be re-written using technologies that are centrally supported. The migration of each application will be prioritised following this project and new projects will be set to carry out the migration work.
After the 12 applications were evaluated a further application, the BMS Honours Project Portal, which was developed by another team over a decade ago, was included in the evaluation and prioritisation at the request of the Project Sponsor.
Objectives & Deliverables
Applications Options Analysis
Summarise what business function each application performs.
|D2.O1||Document the options analysis and recommended approach for each application.||M||Options Analysis|
|D3.O1||Produce an estimate to deliver the recommended approach for each application.||M||Estimate|
Analysis of Resource Usage:
Staff Usage Estimate: 15 days
Staff Usage Actual: 11 days
An options analysis was performed on a number of critical and non-critical applications that support Biomedical Sciences teaching and learning. The options analysis considered the business function, value and risks to the School. Each application was considered against a framework that included data collection, application profiling, application value analysis, identification of opportunities and defining an implementation plan. From this analysis, a number of themes were identified in terms of rationalisation opportunities. These included; decommissioning; the use of alternative applications; consolidation; integration to centralised delivery and retention within the School.
An implementation plan has been created. It collates the set of actions, clustered on a time-scale basis, that is required to achieve the Schools outcome. The plan informs the School with immediate, short-term and long-term opportunities to improve the application portfolio. These opportunities are prioritised based on the ease, cost and risk mitigation of implementation, savings and inter-dependencies. Short term opportunities included 'quick wins` which are primarily decommissioning and using alternatives. For the longer term this includes technical remediation opportunities e.g. rewrite and replacements.
Availability of budget and resources to implement recommendations. The School is currently assessing the cost and level of involvement required before executing the application rationalisation initiative to ensure desired benefits are realised.
Key Learning Points
Having performed this application rationalisation evaluation, it is clear that there are multiple versions of similar applications and services running in different locations across the University.
Applications which are developed at a perceived initial 'low cost' may have a higher risk for compliance with legislation and ongoing sustainability.
Of the 12 applications originally identified, 7 should be able to be delivered through an alternate supported solution or retired. The remaining applications will be moved into supported infrastructure through a series of prioritised projects.
Run an application migration programme. Application rationalisation as an ongoing process. It is a continuous improvement programme that requires regular re-evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the portfolio and its alignment with organisational objectives. The benefits include risk mitigation, the reduction in total cost of ownership by retiring redundant applications and consolidating multiple versions of similar applications and services.
The Project Sponsor has considered the prioritisation of the applications identified for remediation and centralisation. This will will require funding and the availability of technical resources to complete. The four priority applications are:
- BMS (UG) Honours Project Portal
- HHW & HHW2
The BMS Honours Project Portal is required first, with a delivery date by early 2020 to enable it to be used for the Honours project allocations in the 2020 cohort. It is expected that BMS will fund this work. The approach will be to run a project(s) to evaluate alternative options and make a recommendation, which a subsequent project would implement.
The expectation for the HHW, HHW2 and zMSc applications is that they will be re-developed by the Applications Development team to enable them to be fully supported by Production Management in future. All 3 applications would be undertaken as one project, since the skills needed are the same, and there would be a reduction in overall effort by taking this approach.
The remaining application will be migrated following the above prioritised projects.