ServiceNow Strategy

Application Development Without the Sprawl: 5 Ways To Control Your Enterprise Architecture

application development

If you’re a Platform Owner, enterprise architect (or really anyone responsible for your IT infrastructure), chances are you’re dealing with various types of application development, data, and cloud sprawl throughout your company.

In addition, organizations that have embraced the cloud are now struggling to manage cloud sprawl with cloud services being delivered by multiple internal and external providers. Businesses that are new to the cloud are simultaneously coping with cloud migration and sprawling server and network environments.

Even beyond the cloud, virtually all businesses have some degree of application sprawl, from overlapping enterprise applications to the rapid proliferation of mobile apps. These organizations are experiencing data sprawl, seemingly a close cousin to application sprawl but where data is distributed across different databases, platforms, and clouds. It’s not unusual for companies to unintentionally keep multiple copies of the same data.

Enterprise architects (EAs) are combating sprawl through IT transformation projects that seek to rationalize applications and data sources, control and standardize development across functional silos, and make technology choices that support future growth.

Control Tip One: Use existing data without creating new, redundant data sources or spreadsheets

Data sprawl is insidious. New applications often come with new data sources and repositories. And when application functionality overlaps, data may be inadvertently duplicated. Repeat this process multiple times across multiple functions and you get data sprawl, which makes it extremely difficult to know if your business is making decisions based on the latest and most accurate information.

EAs are adopting multiple strategies to manage data sprawl. First, they are looking at new ways to improve visibility into data throughout their company. Second, they are consolidating data and eliminating out-of-date or redundant data sources. Third, they are requiring developers to implement an API strategy, allowing them to use data in existing data stores.

Control Tip Two: Allow business units to help themselves without resorting to third-party cloud services

As technology becomes increasingly important to business operations, many departments across the enterprise ask more from IT. Often, they demand more than IT can safely deliver and ultimately decide to go it alone as shadow IT. Shadow IT often works great—until something breaks and the department lacks the expertise to fix it.

Replacing shadow IT with delegated development

A growing number of EAs are experimenting with delegated development, in which some departments develop their own applications in a manner that allows them autonomy while working on a common platform. The Now Platform supports various forms of delegated development in the forms of no-code, low-code, and full-featured professional development environments. Generally speaking, the no-code and low-code options, which include predefined functional libraries and drag-and-drop interface building, are best suited for departmental development efforts.

Safety first

While the Now Platform offers a great deal of flexibility, it also offers substantial control. It is designed to prevent no-code and low-code users from breaking existing applications or integrations as they learn. It also gives IT complete visibility into all applications under development and the option to approve new apps before they are released into production. Generally speaking, the no-code and low-code options, which include predefined functional libraries and drag-and-drop interface building, are best suited for departmental development efforts.

Learn the Rest

Get the remaining ways to control your enterprise sprawl (including utilizing cross-function apps, replacing legacy tools, and producing a productive environment) by downloading ServiceNow’s free guide here.


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