Defence discovers 3000 apps: Video

Defence discovers 3000 apps: Video

Summary: In an interview discussing various aspects of Defence IT, department chief information officer Greg Farr said he'd discovered almost 3000 more applications on his servers than he had previously been aware of.

SHARE:

In an interview discussing various aspects of Defence IT, department chief information officer Greg Farr said he'd discovered almost 3000 more applications on his servers than he had previously been aware of.

Farr estimated that there were around 4000 applications running on Defence's 8000-plus servers, a threefold increase from his last count. Farr told ZDNet.com.au in an interview in 2008 that he'd uncovered 1300, although he'd expected more would surface.

"We've got a pretty good idea of our big applications — the ones that are used all the time, but there's an awful lot of small applications — some of them undoubtedly orphan — some of them very, very specialised and only used in a very small area of the organisation," Farr said.

"What we don't know is how many of those are still being used."

Farr also said that Defence was taking a look at all of its servers to check what applications were on them, who owned them, and what the owners were doing with them. He had previously said that having too many applications created serious problems when changing onto new systems, as suddenly half of them wouldn't work.

"The next stage will be a consolidation," he said. "The words I've been using to people both internally and externally [are] 'We need to consolidate, simplify and standardise'. And where we've got competing technologies we need to settle on one."

Farr also spoke on datacentre consolidation, saying his department was currently going through the process of a stock take of servers.

Topics: CXO, Government, Government AU

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

1 comment
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • This should not be a surprise

    The emergence of several easy to use end user development platforms (e.g. MSAccess VBA Scripting tools etc) together with the increasing availability of small cheap apps over the last 15-20 years has given risen to this.
    I've had this exact same experience working for a global company where we discovered a surprisingly similar number. I've also seen the same thing in the Health sector.
    Many of these emerge because the internal mechanics or politics in having some need fulfilled are so convoluted, frustrating or expensive that the end user simply ignores or bypasses them.
    In my experience 5-10% of these apps have become unknowingly ingrained in the organisational processes or hold significant corporate memory.
    Many of the rest of these apps will only be used a couple of times and often the functionality was already available in the existing apps but as effective training is no longer considered as a real benefit (always one of the first things cut from the budget) the end user is never aware of this.
    How to fix this?
    1. Properly and regularly train staff on the functions available in the "authorised" applications so best use is made of them.
    2. Streamline development or procurement processes so needs are assessed and met in a more timely manner
    3. Engage users regularly to ensure the "authorised" apps are still delivering what is needed
    4. Restrict deployment and installation of ad-hoc development platforms (like access, VB, macros, scripting tools etc) and installation of 3rd party executables to those the organisation actually employs to do this or authorises to do so.
    anonymous