April 19, 2013
Unified Application Management
The basics of Unified Application Management (UAM) include getting your digital arms and hands around all your applications whether on physical or virtual devices, primarily to result in more seamless access. UAM is also sometimes referred to as Unified Access Management, Unified Application Delivery or simply Unified Delivery. For purposes of this article I’m not going to split hairs or get into all the underlying Platform and Infrastructure used to run applications, just focus on getting them unified.
While UAM is generally applicable to any business, it is critically important to project based businesses that perform Architecture, Engineering & Construction roles as well as Owners and Representatives that manage facilities. Workers in the AEC or Facility Management industries are generally mobile unless perhaps they work in the corporate office with centralized tasks. Ensuring all of these desk and mobile workers have the applications and information they need to make decisions is essential.
One of my favorite low tech visualizations of UAM is tying strings to a bunch of ping pong balls, a clear advantage if it is important to be able to find all the balls and stop them from bouncing all over the floor. Now imagine the ping pong balls are all your software applications & information. Wouldn’t it be nice to get to them all from one location ?
You could argue there’s a level of UAM achieved by simply saving bookmarks/links to your applications. you may have experienced this using your own web browser or a simple, static intranet. But wouldn’t it be nice to do other things like sign on one time, reduce entering information multiple times, be able to learn more about all the information that has been captured and manage this centrally? Linking bookmarks won’t help you with much beyond remembering where to go so we have to take a bit more technical approach.
In technical terms, knowing information like IP addresses, server, application, and database locations, etc…gives you a “matrix” of connections you can now leverage for other purposes. Once these connections are in place, there are many benefits to be harnessed with a range of ease or difficulty to achieve. Some examples are launching applications and simplifying user access, or leveraging the connections in other applications altogether.
When implemented in line with the NIST Cloud Definition, you can gain some other benefits like broad access to applications from anywhere on any device and on demand self service functions that might have traditionally required IT administrators or been non existent. When coupled with a modular service oriented architecture (SOA), sometimes considered the father of cloud computing, you can leverage a solid UAM strategy even further with integration or business intelligence applications which all revolve around the same centrally managed, modular concepts.
To simply pass this off as an IT function may be tempting, but taking a little time to understand if your organization has a good strategy around UAM can lead to unlocking many of the other advantages of technology, server based computing and the cloud that most business leaders are seeking.