Application Inventory Management

Oct 1, 2019

How Application Inventory Management Unlocks Your App for Affordable Maintenance and Development

As your application grows in complexity, it’s critical to maintain a strong understanding of its back-end functionality.

A novel new way to visualize your application architecture and all of its surfaces and dependencies is Application Inventory Management (AIM). This powerful tool provides insight and clarity around program structure and data flow. A clear understanding of these details is important for prompt, smooth application maintenance, updates, and upgrades with minimal downtime.

Maintain Applications Efficiently

Among the benefits of AIM is the ability for an enterprise to interact smoothly and flexibly with their applications.

A significant portion of developers’ valuable time is spent mapping application structure and data flow. Especially when working with older legacy code, this piece of maintenance and support is by far the most time-consuming and challenging. However, developers must build such a map to make meaningful changes, remove obsolete functions and modules, address dependencies, and operate effectively on back-end application features.

Mapping and understanding application flow is a significant part of a programmer’s job. The way they perform it, by testing and following in-application method calls, is procedural and can be automated.

That’s precisely what AIM does; it automates these mapping and application flow understanding tasks and carries them out with machine speed and efficiency, generating intuitive and highly useful data and program flowcharts that developers can reference for their understanding. Enabled with this insight, programmers save time that can better be used designing new features, developing more scalable applications environments, building stronger security protocols, and maintaining back-end functionality.

This not only improves the efficiency of your developers but saves significantly on the costs of application maintenance.

Reduce Downtime

A common cause for prolonged application downtime is a misunderstanding or lack of understanding of application control or data flow. Your apps are especially susceptible to significant downtime during host environment migration, updates to foundational application elements, or just after release.

To properly address critical runtime errors, developers need to rapidly assess program flow and identify the source of the problem. Error reports often point to a different function than that which produced the faulty data initially. That’s why programmers need to refer to a data flow map to search for the source of faulty data, calls to missing functions or functions that rely on removed dependencies.

Taking the time to build a working data flow map compounds the danger of experiencing extended application downtime. When programmers are working under pressure or when critical errors occur when the original source code developers are unavailable, quickly building a working application flow map that addresses the error source is a huge challenge that is often the sole contributor to excessive application downtime.

AIM automatically maps this critical information quickly and insightfully, allowing developers with any amount of experience working with your applications to address fatal runtime errors rapidly and effectively. By using AIM, you’re giving your developers a powerful tool that will significantly reduce downtime.

This solution reduces planned downtime as well. The insight-driven efficiency enabled by AIM allows your developers to operate smoothly, installing updates and instantiating your applications quickly.

Address Security Vulnerabilities and Breaches

Removing vulnerabilities from your applications requires a complete understanding of data sourcing, storage, referencing and passing in every instance in each of your applications.

Vulnerabilities arise when calls for sensitive data are not vetted for caller authorization when unnecessary volumes of data are passed or visible, when encryption keys are exposed, or when back doors to sensitive data exist.

Another source of dangerous vulnerabilities is lingering obsolete functions and modules. Any piece of your application code that is no longer used may sustain access to sensitive data. When your security updates address only the application functions that are used by the current application version, obsolete code isn’t always addressed by security updates and their potential to expose a security vulnerability grows over time.

The difficulty of data security is the fact that one vulnerability anywhere is a threat to sensitive data everywhere in your application back-end.

An exhaustive map of data and program flow is the only way to secure application data flow with high confidence that no vulnerabilities exist. That’s why AIM is an effective tool to address application security. It identifies all data flow points, storage locations and methods, encryption protocols, and lingering obsolete code that is not used by the current version of your application. It’s an exhaustive approach to mapping application flow gives your developers a complete picture of security risks and vulnerabilities and an intuitive interface to address them efficiently. 

Detect and Remove Obsolescence

Obsolete code not only contributes to security vulnerabilities. It can consume computing resources wastefully and produce runtime errors.

AIM obsolescence analysis is a novel way to automatically identify unused functions, methods, and modules in your application.

By removing obsolete code, you can keep your applications running optimally and securely with AIM.

Real-Time Inventory Management

As businesses scale, the need for real-time application inventory management becomes increasingly critical. AIM provides a novel solution that empowers businesses, especially small businesses, to manage their application inventory with unprecedented efficiency.

Consider the parallels between traditional inventory management systems and AIM. Like tracking stock levels in a warehouse, businesses must understand their application “stock levels”, i.e., how many apps they have, what functions they perform, and how they interact with other systems. With AIM, this understanding isn’t a guess—it’s concrete knowledge that is updated in real-time.

Moreover, think of AIM as a mobile app that enables you to scan barcodes of your applications, metaphorically speaking. It provides real-time insight into each application’s “custom fields”, i.e., unique functions and dependencies. This level of detail is akin to using Zoho inventory management for your applications—a system renowned for its capabilities in handling intricate details of inventory tracking.

Imagine being able to control and monitor your application inventory as efficiently as Zoho CRM manages customer relations. You’ll be alerted to “stock alerts” in real time, enabling rapid responses to unexpected changes.

Moreover, the use of AIM is not limited to large corporations with abundant resources. Whether your company operates on free inventory management or paid plans, AIM can integrate smoothly and provide valuable benefits. It brings the same level of sophistication to application management that warehouse management software brings to physical inventory management.

Just as purchase orders are integral in conventional inventory systems, your company’s ability to map and understand the impact of changes in your applications, or ‘purchase orders’ of a sort, plays a crucial role in maintaining application efficiency. With AIM, you can make informed decisions, significantly reduce potential downtime and associated costs, and improve your inventory management solution.

Finally, consider the risk of holding obsolete stock, which can similarly exist in the digital realm of applications. AIM identifies obsolete “barcode labels” in your application, similar to finding outdated products in a warehouse through their barcode labels. It highlights obsolete code, making it possible to maintain your applications efficiently and securely.

Incorporating AIM in your application management strategy is like having an advanced inventory management system at your disposal. Just as scanning items and tracking sales and purchases is fundamental to physical inventory management, AIM makes understanding your application architecture and data flow an automatic process, helping you keep your business up-to-date in the digital age.

Make Informed Business Decisions

Sometimes, the biggest unknown in making business decisions around application changes is the impact, potential downtime, and costs of proposed changes. Empirical developer insight provides an approximate picture, at best, of the impact of a change proposal on your application.

AIM enables your business to perform a thorough impact analysis on your application architecture to get a complete picture of the impact of a change on your application. Not only does it generate an analysis quickly and on-demand, but it also provides pinpoint accuracy as to all of the related pieces of your application that will be affected by a change. A good team of developers will build and maintain a working application flow map for reference to maintain your application effectively. AIM automates this task and provides insight in a format that is useful for developers and non-developer contributors, freeing your developers up to keep your applications up, running, and evolving.


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