Announcements Enterprise Applications Home Page Feature

Enterprise Applications (EA): Application Inventory Project

Submitted by Susan Johns

Enterprise Applications (EA) is excited to announce that we have completed an initial upload of application information into WashU IT’s Content Management System (CMS), providing a source of record for EA managed applications. Additionally, the team has captured other university applications to help provide a more complete view of university application assets.

CMS Background:

Some time ago, WashU IT identified a need to develop/maintain a database for tracking server and application inventories. The Shared Infrastructure team developed an in-house solution, the Configuration Management System (or CMS), and was the first to build out a robust database of server inventories. This includes servers that are both on site as well as those that are virtual. 

Including Application Data:

In 2021, it became increasingly important for Enterprise Applications (EA) to build out a similarly robust inventory of applications to facilitate the tracking of incident, change, lifecycle, and integration management. It became particularly important after two significant outages last summer. 

The initial phase involved identifying all applications EA manages and pairing them with their supporting servers.  All server information was compiled by collaborating with key members of the various subdomain-aligned IT teams.  The initial application inventory in CMS totaled ~260, but after months of research and data collection, that number has topped 700 and has now been expanded to include applications managed by groups outside of EA.  

Future State:

The future vision for this project is, ultimately, to transition this data into CMDB, the Configuration Management Database housed within ServiceNow. This will allow WashU IT, among other things, to tie incident and change request tickets to servers and applications in a single system of record. 

However, although the team has a short-term CMS solution for our application inventory, the move to CMDB is currently on the backlog.  In the meantime, work continues on refining business processes to ensure the CMS data remains “fresh”, is accessible for metrics through Sharepoint dashboards, which can act as a cloud backup of data.

Next Steps:

Driven by Sue Johns, EA is currently incorporating Application Inventory Management activities into our operating model, ensuring a path to add, update and maintain key information on any application in use at the University.  Soon, the team will be sending out training documentation and other communications on how to request these changes. In the meantime, please reach out to Sue Johns with any questions.